Let's get straight to The Point
The rarified enclaves of Cornwall’s spectacular north coast in and around Rock and Padstow have witnessed an explosion in visitors in recent years. And now, in the shape of The Point at Polzeath, golfers have a stylish new dimension to consider when it comes to finding a room with a view, as Richard Simmons reports
By Richard Simmons
Focal Point: the stunning view over the 9th green to Polzeath, Pentire Rocks and the Atlantic
Barely two minutes into our conversation and one thing is already perfectly clear: Jeremy Davies is not a man to do things by halves. And the entertaining story of the City financier who one day decides to buy a golf club reminds me of Russell Crowe’s character in the movie A Good Year, for the opportunistic whim that turns into a labour of love and – ultimately – a totally new way of life.
“Yeah, I can certainly see the parallel,” agrees Davies. “And believe me, many’s the occasion I’ve sat here wishing I had bought a vineyard and not a dilapidated golf club! I used to think I worked hard in London but the last five years have been a revelation to me in terms of what needs to be done to create and run a facility such as this. I never envisaged it would be this tough – it’s 24/7.”
"...the last five years have been a revelation to me in terms of what needs to be done to create and run a facility such as this. I never envisaged it would be this tough – it’s 24/7."
Davies and Norwegian-born wife, Eva, were ‘looking for a new project, a distraction’ when they first encountered the 230-acre development at Roserrow. The course itself – typical of so many thrown together quickly and cheaply on what had previously been farmland – was in need of total renovation but it was the unique situation of the property, enjoying a prime perch on the upper slopes of a wooded valley, with glorious views to the Atlantic and the surfing haven of Polzeath, that lit the fuse.
“It was five years in March that we bought Roserrow out of administration,” says Davies. “The golf course was underwhelming, to say the least. It looked like a hay field and at a stretch I’d say there were 55 members – the place was crying out for some love. Today we are in the order of 350 members and the condition of the course – with the on-going supervision of architect Tim Lobb – has been transformed under the eye of our head greenkeeper Tom Collings, who originally learned his trade across the water at Trevose and who has been utterly loyal to the club – he deserves all the plaudits.”
The ever-improving quality and the challenge that awaits on this snaking par-72 layout – just shy of 6,300 yards from the tips – is testament not only to Collings’ considerable abilities but the vision and the ambition that drives the day-to-day activity at this most welcoming of golf clubs. The greens are rated among the best in the county while an ongoing strategy of fairway shaping and the sculpting of bunkers and tees reflects a genuine sense of pride in what is gradually being achieved here. The Point at Polzeath is never going to rival the celebrity links of St Enodoc or Trevose for that sense of epic grandeur, but what it does offer is a change of pace and environment in the shape of a manicured parkland experience with glorious views to Pentire Rocks and beyond.
“When Eva and I first set eyes on this place we stood here and just marvelled at the possibilities,” continues Davies. “It was a done deal. Sure, we knew the golf course required a lot of work and we were willing to invest the resources to bring it up to the standard worthy of its location, but the selling point for Eva and I was the potential for adding accommodation. Looking at it from a pure investment angle, the one thing that is actually lacking in the vicinity of Rock, for all its glamour and celebrity, is accommodation for families and golf groups – and we saw the potential to do something about it.”
A quick scan of the website reveals a number of flexible options for those looking for stay-and-play lodging. The reservations team at The Point manage a number of private homes on the property, offering accommodation for families and groups of up to 12 guests. But it’s the latest phase of development here that impresses most, the unveiling of seven contemporary Eco-apartments last summer elevating The Point to the status of boutique resort.
Conceived and constructed with the innovative vision of local (and award-winning) architects Laurence Associates, the low-rise crescentshaped structure blends almost seamlessly into its surroundings, while Eva’s Scandinavian eye for detail has taken care of all internal fixtures and fittings. Style, function and efficiency – as you would expect – runs riot.
This is the The Point calling! With panoramic views across the golf course to Polzeath, each of the luxuriously appointed Eco-apartments provide a comfortable home-from-home – the perfect base from which to explore the area around Rock, Padstow and Cornwall’s spectacular coastline
“Financially it’s been pretty much one-way traffic,” says Davies, reflecting on the investment he and his family have made in The Point, the focal point of their lives over the last five years. “We have transformed the golf course, renovated the interior of the clubhouse, built and opened the access road into Rock, upgraded the leisure club, completed a 4-bay covered driving range and project-managed the building of the apartments... I’m the first to remind everyone we’re a long way from finished but when I look at what we have achieved, yeah, it makes us all very proud.”
More than anything, The Point at Polzeath is a lifestyle, a place for golfers and their families to enjoy leisure time together and relax in an atmosphere of casual sophistication. Whether you choose to visit for a round of golf and lunch or settle in for a few nights’ R&R you will be welcomed as one of the family – and it’s in this department, a nod to the importance of service, that Davies and his team focus much of their energy. In this regard alone The Point is ahead of the curve.
“My own sense of the golf business is that there has been something of a resurgence in the game over the last few years,” continues Davies. “We’re seeing the evidence as more youngsters are playing, we see young families rocking up and unloading golf clubs, which has to be encouraging. And we embrace that 100% – I like nothing better than to see families having a great time, kids running around and the parents soaking up the atmosphere. It’s what this place is about.”
All the signs would suggest things are headed in a positive direction. A shrewd tie-in with the West Region PGA will see the leading pro’s in the region compete in the ‘Race to the Point’, a four-tournament series leading to a Grand Final that will certainly put the club on the radar; on a lighter note, the annual St Austell Ales-sponsored Beer Festival is shaping up to be another success with 12 live bands and various golf events scheduled over two days.
When you set out your stall in the leisure market the first rule of business is to recognise exactly who pays the bills – and to then do your damndest to keep them all happy. Forward-thinking golf clubs measure success in terms of service, innovation and flexibility; stand still and you only go backwards – a fact of life clearly not lost on the team at The Point. Pay them a visit – and let us know what you think.
The Point at Polzeath, St Minver, Cornwall, PL27 6QT
Tel: 01208 863000