The Glamorganshire Golf Club Feature Review
Review by Golfshake's Liam Moore
I suppose it’s quite fitting to play the format of Stableford at the very place it was invented (Wallasey Golf Club utilised it first in competition). Glamorganshire Golf Club proudly boast that an early member of the club, Dr Stableford, conceived one of the most recognised scoring systems in the world. Stableford wanted to create a system which didn’t deter golfers to abandon their round after the first few opening holes and thus, Stableford was created and first trialled on 30th September 1898 at Glamorganshire Golf Club. Moreover, to add to the rich history of the venue, the Barbarians visited the club every Easter Sunday from 1901 to 1996, taking a well-deserved break from their annual Easter Weekend tour of Wales.
The course is based in south east Wales and is open to the public. Moreover, the club are attempting to raise the profile of the sport as they offer membership to a younger market for as little as only £28 a month. For the high season (27th March 2021 – 30th October 2021) green fees are £45 in the week and £50 on the weekend. While this can be viewed as costly, during the off-season, regardless of what day you play, a round will set you back £20. The Glamorganshire were the first golf club to open within this district of Wales, dating back to October 1890.
With mature woodland, wide and narrow features and plenty of water hazards, The Glamorganshire demands your attention from the outset and offers a challenge from any of the three available tees. The reds total to 5573 yards and plays par at 72, the yellows are 5938 yards long and plays par at 70 and, if you’re feeling confident about the mighty challenge that lays ahead, the blue and furthest tees range in at 6148 yards and plays at par 70. Within seconds of leaving the pro shop and following the path towards the clubhouse, you are taken back by the beauty that this golf course presents.
You would be excused for thinking that such a beautiful golf course had no chance of being situated on the cusp of Cardiff, with rundown docks facilities picturing a grim vicinity. The golf course itself is just off a main road and, as you venture into the cark park, the magnificence that lies behind the pro shop leaves no hint of what is on the other side.
The moment you pay your dues in the pro shop you are immediately welcomed into a golfing escapism. The day got off to the best start, with the member of staff working in the shop providing excellent humour and invaluable insight about the test that was imminent. As part of a society, we were issued a free beverage and a bacon roll before our tee time. The food was marvellous and the member of staff serving us was polite and inquisitive about how we felt the round would go.
Once you leave the clubhouse, the 18th green lies adjacent to the exit. The course setup invites you to peer over the waist-high fence and watch as players teeing from the par-3 18th hit their shots into the final green of the day. Watching these balls fly into the green filled me with excitement. If the greens looked as good as this the whole way round, then surely we were in for an excellent few hours. Fortunately for us, the weather was incredible, and shorts and a t-shirt were the theme for the day.
The Golf Course
As you wrap up your final preparations on the putting green, it’s time to take to the first tee. Unusually, the first tee is slightly out of the way – which added to the uniqueness of this golf course. To gain access to the starting point, the 18th tee must be clear as you’ll need to walk across the hole to get to the first. We played from the yellow tees and the first hole measured at 392 yards and plays as a par-4. Upon reflection, you have more room than what appears when you’re stood on the tee. However, as we all know, first tee nerves are a very real thing. If you can locate the fairway, you should have a good chance at finding the green but beware of those crafty bunkers, they have been strategically placed to leave an uncomfortable distance into the green.
The entirety of the front nine provided a difficult yet rewarding challenge. If you found your landing zone, you’d have an excellent chance of progressing to the green. Miss them, however, and you’re almost certain to be laying up and getting back into play. Three par-5s are present on the front nine, providing excellent scoring opportunities from the off. A similar theme, as previously mentioned, was the deliberate placement of bunkers. With one, two or maybe even three protecting most greens, thoughtful thinking is needed as you battle your way through.
The back nine, while it only contains one par-5, is where the kid in you comes out to play. With a whopping four par-3s for the final half, that’s four chances at an ace! Moreover, how the shorter holes are presented will inject confidence on the tee but, as always, those sneaky bunkers are ready to swallow any balls that deviate from their line. Although there isn’t an outright signature hole, without a doubt the 16th would be the most picturesque. A long par-4 at 414 yards, once you take a slight turn to the left, you’ll be in awe of the vast view of the Bristol Channel. You may even momentarily forget what you’re there for – to play golf.
Finally, the 18th hole provides an excellent finale to what is a cracking course. Measuring at 184 yards, good contact is needed if you hope to make the green in one. With bigger bunkers protecting both sides of the putting surface, this is one hole that you are going to want to be accurate with to finish in the best manner possible.
Granted, the weather was phenomenal and made a nice change from the misery of rain that has fallen across the country over the last several weeks. However, even if the weather had other ideas, Glamorganshire Golf Club is nothing short of a golfing paradise. Excellent bunker placement, tremendous upkeep and interesting tee locations offer a wide variety of shot selections. Yes, some holes were set up to encourage a draw or a fade, but if you lack confidence with shaping the ball, the fairway can still be found.
Fortunately for me, I had a very good round which, undoubtedly, added to the excitement of the day. However, speaking to those who didn’t fare so well, they still hold the golf course in high regard and the entire society of 20 people agreed that this is definitely a course that we need to return to. After a drink or two in the expansive outside seating area, we headed inside for a two-course meal. Both courses were excellent and although hot food didn’t quite assist with the warm weather, the food was of good quality and little waiting time for the courses to be served. Moreover, the clubhouse comes with all the sports channels – where we were lucky enough to catch some of the action from the European Tour.
Glamorganshire Golf Club gave me one of the best golfing experiences I have ever had. The staff were friendly and encouraging, the golf course was splendid and the facilities for both pre and post-round were nothing short of excellent. Granted, we had the weather on our side but even under gloomier circumstances, due to the upkeep, the course would still remain in brilliant condition. I cannot reflect back on a single poorly designed hole, but the speed of the greens surprised us all, undeniably the fastest greens we have played on for quite some time. The green fees are expensive at £50 for a weekend tee time which makes the course difficult to recommend as a frequent day out. However, as an annual or even quarterly treat, this course is an absolute must.
I know that I will definitely return again as the course is too good not to play once more. A member of my group actually said to me on the 17th tee that he would love to go round again immediately, with the knowledge that he obtained through the afternoon, and he is right. It becomes apparent what areas to avoid when flag hunting and what sides are the best misses. As a whole, Glamorganshire Golf Club offers not just a fantastic golfing day out but incredible facilities that encourage you to not just pack up and go, but to mingle with members and other visitors who have also had a wonderful afternoon.
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|Glamorganshire Golf Club
from 16 reviews