Golf in Wales is a breath of fresh air! Enjoy playing against a backdrop of sea and mountain, hill and vale at any of the 200 golf courses and there's friendly accommodation to match.
There are well over 50 courses in the south. A short distance across the Severn Bridge and only 12 miles from Bristol is the four-star Marriott St Pierre Hotel & Country Club and this resort is an introduction to one of many courses that are within easy reach of the M4. St Pierre admirably brings together ancient architecture and modern amenities. Due to significant investment over recent years St Pierre’s two golf courses, the Old and the Mathern, have been improved and remodelled, but their heritage remains and are both an enjoyable challenge to golfers of all abilities.
A few miles west in the Sirhowy Valley and only 25 minutes from Cardiff City and half an hour from the Brecon Beacons is Bryn Meadows Golf, Hotel & Spa. This mini resort with 42 bedrooms offers a very warm welcome and a relaxed atmosphere. The rolling parkland course, designed using the landscape’s natural contours, is not too punishing, although watch out for water on a few holes.
If you don’t want to venture too far from the city, Cardiff Golf Club, a mature parkland course with a variety of trees that will punish wayward tee shots, provides a pleasurable experience and Llanishen is situated on a hillside in north Cardiff with panoramic views of the city, the Bristol Channel and Somerset coastline.
West Wales is full of vibrancy with splendid bays and beaches, yet not all the courses are links-style as you may expect.
Along the Gower Peninsula you’ll find Gower Golf Club itself, and despite being relatively new, this Donald Steel-designed parkland layout has gone on to amass a great deal of respect and comfortable accommodation is available in two barn conversions adjacent to the clubhouse.
Langland Bay near Mumbles in Swansea is a popular coastal holiday resort, especially for surfers, and the club here features a charming layout across well-maintained meadowland with a variety of elevation and compact greens that are guarded from every angle.
Three memorable but very different links experiences can be found at the Nicklaus-designed Machynys; Pennard, known as the ‘links in the sky’ and Ashburnham which has long been regarded as one of the best links courses in Britain.
Carmarthen, a town that dates back to 75AD, features a JH Taylor-designed parkland course and a clubhouse that boasts 360-degree views across miles of Welsh countryside. Carmarthen also claims to serve the best Sunday lunch in town.
Tenby Golf Club regularly hosts championship events and its James Braid-designed links course with tight fairways and fast-running greens combine to provide an endlessly varied challenge. The course is located within walking distance of the old harbour town of Tenby where there is a good choice of b&bs and hotels.
Another parkland track that’s worth a visit is Trefloyne golf course in Tenby. Boasting spectacular views, it is suitable for beginners through to experienced golfers and on-site accommodation is available in one of five individually designed bedrooms located in the Manor House.
Mid Wales is a vast area, from the border with England in the east, to Cardigan Bay on the west coast. The landscape makes this area ideal for a variety of golf courses and not dissimilar to the rest of Wales, golfers can also enjoy some superb scenery.
High above the shores of Cardigan Bay and the Teifi Estuary is Cardigan Golf Club where there is a variety of holes with influences of links, heathland and parkland.
Penrhos Golf & Country Club, near the coastal town of Aberystwyth, is a good choice for a short break as there are plenty of non-golfing facilities too. The neat parkland course nestles in 150 acres of countryside in the Wyre Valley and accommodation is available in the hotel, or alternatively, families may prefer a luxury mobile home.
Heading up the coast, Borth and Ynyslas Golf Club, established in 1885, vies for the accolade of oldest course in Wales and Aberdovey Golf Club is a living testament to the unique characteristics of links golf. Adjacent to Aberdovey’s the large and modern clubhouse is a dormy bungalow with accommodation for up to 8 people.
For generations Royal St David’s has remained a favourite although the wind can play havoc as nearly every other hole plays in a different direction and then, if you travel inland you’ll discover Llanymynech, the home club of Ian Woosnam and the only golf club in Europe where golf is played in two countries – 15 holes in Wales and 3 in England.
North Wales is an all-round region with something to suit everyone. There are 50 golf clubs including several highly respected links courses. Conwy Golf Club, founded in 1890, is one of the most famous; set in the shadow of Conwy Mountain overlooking the estuary towards Llandudno’s Great Orme and the Isle of Anglesey, Wales’s largest island. Conwy has already played host to a number of major tournaments and this month will welcome the Ladies European Tour for the Wales Open. This traditional links with splendid views is fairly flat, but with deep bunkers, gorse and strong par 4s thrown into the mix; it is a severe test of golf.
Situated across the estuary from Conwy in the seaside resort of Llandudno you’ll find North Wales and Maesdu. North Wales is another traditional links that runs out along the rail line then back along the shore, while Maedu offers a mix of links and parkland with tricky undulating greens.
A short drive to the west is a parkland gem, Caernarfon Golf Club, sitting between the Mountains of Eryri and the Menai Straits where you’ll need good course management to score well.
Further west you’ll discover a memorable golf experience at the 26-hole Nefyn and District Golf Club. Playing along the clifftops, there is a view of the sea from every tee and the Ty Coch Inn, just below the 16th fairway, welcomes golfers in need of refreshment before they tackle the remaining holes.
Bull Bay Golf Club on the Isle of Anglesey is the most northerly course in Wales and Ryder Cup Wales 2010 chairman John Jermine is just one of several players who rate it as one of the finest in the country. This links is the only course in Wales designed by Herbert Fowler and it was influenced by his work at Walton Heath. With views of the mountains of Snowdonia and over the Irish Sea to the Isle of Man and the Lake District, and a mass of scented flowers when in full bloom, you’re assured of a memorable round of golf.
WHERE TO STAY
Package holidays in Wales are available from the following:
Golf in Style Wales W: www.golf-in-style-wales.co.uk T: 0800 0832983
The Wales Golf Holiday Company www.walesgolfholidays.com T: 0800 0832983
Wales Golf Vacations www.walesgolfvacations.com T: 0845 2220340
Wales Top Golf www.walestopgolf.com T: 01633 774796
WHERE TO PLAY
Check individual golf club websites for green fee prices
For further information on golf in Wales visit: www.golfasitshouldbe.com
Free holiday guides are available from www.visitwales.com