5 of the Best Golf Courses to Play In North Wales
Guest Post from Becky Gee who is a freelance golf writer and travel blogger. This article first appeared on her blog www.girloncourse.com
In the rush to play the world-class links in Scotland and Ireland, golfers all too often by-pass the treasure trove of golfing goodies that Wales has to offer. Nonetheless, anyone who ventures to this beautiful nation will be greeted by some of the finest links courses in the British Isles. Add in a characteristically warm welcome, beautiful scenery, and some of Europe's finest surviving medieval castles, and it’s hard to believe that more golfers aren’t packing their clubs to make to most of this prime golfing location. Here are five of the best courses to play on a golf trip to North Wales:
Royal St David’s
Standing atop Harlech Castle, looking down over the rugged links at Royal St David’s, it’s hard not to be struck by the remarkable beauty of the course below. Sitting in the shadow of the medieval fortress, with the Ocean beyond, and Snowdonia Mountain range in the distance, the club is bestowed one of the most magnificent settings in golf.
Tipping out at just under 6,500 yards, you may be deceived into thinking that this is one of the easier Welsh links courses. Don’t be. Members describe the illustrious links as the hardest par-69 in the world, and we’d be woe betide to disagree. The elements are a constant threat, and with punishing rough, cleverly-positioned bunkers and several brutal par- 4’s, this is links golf at its most challenging.
The course builds gradually, coming to a climax over the final six holes, which played through rugged dunes, and with blind shots, hidden bunkers, and unexpected bounces galore, are among the finest closing holes you’re ever likely to play.
Nefyn and District
The term hidden gem may be wielded far too often nowadays, but no other term more closely describes the unbelievable offering at Nefyn and District Golf Club.
The North Wales clifftop links is not going to be voted the world’s most accessible golf club anytime soon, but those who make the journey will be treated to one of the most spectacular courses in Britain.
This isn’t championship golf, indeed the eight holes on the headland more closely resemble something found at your local crazy golf course, but the views from what has been coined ‘the links in the sky,’ will take your breath away.
Golfers should be sure to take a break at the fifteenth to enjoy a quick pint at the Ty Coch Inn, a quaint beachside pub only accessible by foot, that has been voted among the top ten beach bars in the world.
Be sure to bring a camera, oh, and plenty of golf balls.
With the Conwy Mountains providing the backdrop to this friendly seaside gem, and glorious views across the estuary to Llandudno and the Isle of Anglesey beyond, few courses are blessed with such a beautiful setting.
Conwy is the only Open Championship qualifying venue in Wales, the historic links is in superb condition, and with its plethora of pot bunkers and gorse-strewn back nine, makes for a stern test, particularly when the wind is blowing, as it so often is. The elements are a constant threat, and stretching a lengthy 6,910 yards from the back pegs, it's little surprise that the SS is three more than the par of 72.
While the thick rough and numerous bunkers pose a challenging test over the opening holes, it is the back nine that will truly penalise the wayward golfer, particularly over the gorse-lined final three holes, which have often proved deadly to a good scorecard.
Situated on the North Side of the Dyfi Estuary, Aberdovey is rightly regarded as one of the finest links courses in Wales. As exposed a golf course as your ever likely to find, the holes weave their way through the imposing dunes, with the railway tracks coming into play on several holes, including the 18th, which is considered among the toughest finishing holes in the country.
Long associated with Bernhard Darwin, the forefather of golf writing, who was among the earliest advocates of the charming links, the course has been shaped by some of the game’s finest architects, including James Braid and Harry Colt.
Set within the spectacular Snowdonia National Park, the links boasts a great selection of par-3’s, including the treacherous 12th, which affords fantastic views over Cardigan Bay.
North Wales Golf Club
Just across the estuary from Conwy is the rugged North Wales Golf Club, a traditional links course enjoying similarly spectacular views of the Snowdonia Mountain range. The course features many of the usual quirks synonymous with links golf, with an old railway line coming into play on a variety of holes, wild rough, and towering dunes.
North Wales is perhaps best known for its greens, which are known to roll remarkably true, and usually at a lightening quick pace.
Even better, the course is regarded as one of the driest courses in the country, making it a great selection all-year round.
About the author
Becky Gee is a freelance golf writer and travel blogger. When not on the course, she can be found writing about her recent golfing adventures and latest musings on the female game at www.girloncourse.com