Golf in North Wales Destination Guide
When you’re thinking of a golfing getaway, the delights of the Costa del Sol or the fairways of the Algarve spring to mind.
However, closer to home there’s a golfing haven waiting for golfers of all abilities.
North Wales is said to be the best value for money for golfers in Europe with over 60 courses spanning along 125 miles of beautiful coast line with some inland beauties thrown in too.
In 2014 Wales hosts the British Senior Open for the very first time with Royal Porthcawl the venue in July. Before we head to North Wales, we suggest you head to the gem that is Royal Porthcawl.
Back in 1891 a group of businessmen involved in the shipping industry decided to build a golf course in Porthcawl. Little did they know that a century later Royal Porthcawl would be one of the finest links golf courses in the world hosting tournaments to the best golfers on the planet.
The shoreline setting is certainly one to be seen and the flatness of the course means the sea can be viewed from every hole on the course along with views south to Somerset and Exmoor and northwest across the Swansea Bay to the Gower Peninsula.
The testing wind on this flat links will push golfers to the limit but it’s a test worth trying if you’re in the area.
World Class Links
Drive North and West from Porthcawl and there are other top links courses that should be on your list should you have a golfing tour in Wales.
Within the top-50 golf courses in the U.K and Ireland sits North Wales’ Royal St David’s. The host of national and international events this traditional links is up there with the finest championship links around and one of the most affordable, adding the area’s reputation of value for money.
Harlech Castle dominates the views of the course which are breathtakingly scenic. The course itself is fast and true with typical undulating fairways and dates back to the 1890’s when it was established. The Ladies European Tour and the European Seniors Tour have hosted tournaments here and it’s worth a trip just to see the honours board as some of the biggest names in the game have all played around here.
Described as a ‘hidden gem’ Aberdovey Golf Club has what visitors call a welcoming feel to it. Add that to another championship links in the area and you have a magical mixture. A host of international events as well, Aberdovey is well up there with its better known brothers in this links golf paradise.
Steeped in history, it’s a true test for any links golf fan. Visitors can also stay on site in the Dormy Bungalow which overlooks the 18th green. Rated as a four star accommodation by Visit Wales the rooms can accommodate up to eight persons along with the facilities to rival any top hotel.
Conwy Golf Club should also be on your list as a ‘must play’ when you’re in the area. Playable all year round, Conwy has hosted the prestigious European Amateur Team Championship in 2009, the S4C Wales Ladies Championship of Europe in 2010 and hosted its third European Senior tour event in August 2012.
Conwy has links to this year’s Open Championship venue Royal Liverpool. Back in 1875 members of Hoylake created a 12-hole course in Conwy. Twenty years later it became an 18-hole venue which to this day is used as an Open qualifier.
Like the other courses that I’ve mentioned, more magnificent views can be found walking the fairways of Conwy. Every hole is different and the greens are some of the best you’ll find on a links course.
Last but certainly not least is Nefyn & District Golf Club which brings together everything you want when staying and playing. Great value for money along with an excellent course with superb views, you will probably want to play Nefyn more than once which is good as they have the holes to accommodate you.
A unique 26-hole layout is on offer over the Old and the New courses. It’s on the Old course where you’ll find the world famous ‘point’, eight holes on a narrow peninsula with fairways and tees perched above secluded coves and tiny inlets on one side and sandy beaches on the other.
Continuing down the scenic route, the New course offers spectacular views of the Snowdonia mountain range. On your last tee shot of the day, the entire course can been seen as the panoramic views need to be taken in and seen to be believed.
The James Braid Trail
If you’re stuck on which courses to play or you just can’t decide then why don’t you leave it to the experts and follow the lie of the land.
Golf course architect James Braid did just this. He’s renowned for using natural obstacles to test the ardent golfer and rewards accurate play. He believed that at least two methods should be available to play a hole; a simple one and a difficult one. Not just an architect, Braid was also Open Champion on five occasions, so links golf was in his blood. He designed ten courses in North Wales, a couple that I’ve already mentioned but if you need inspiration when choosing your courses, let James help.
- Aberdovey - Already mentioned.
- Holyhead - 18 hole heathland on the scenic Isle of Anglesey.
- Llandudno – 18 hole parkland links.
- Nefyn & District Golf Club – Already mentioned.
- Old Colwyn - 9 hole mature meadowland course with views of the Welsh hills.
- Porthmadog - 18 hole heathland and natural links amongst the sand dunes of Tremadog Bay.
- Pwllheli - 18 holes gentle mature parkland and links.
- Rhyl – 9 holes (18 tees) seaside links
- St Deiniol (Bangor) - 18 holes undulating over Bangor Mountain and spectacular views of the Snowdonia Mountains.
- Wrexham – 18 hole inland near Chester.
Away from the golf
If you can drag yourself away from the fairways or indeed you just need a rest day then there’s plenty to keep you occupied in North Wales. Accessible by foot or train The Snowdonia National Park is home to Yr Wyddfa or Snowdon, the biggest mountain in England and Wales, Snowdon at 3,560ft.
There’s so much to do for all the family within Snowdonia with activities, including water sports all year round. Add that to the miles of coastline, spectacular cliffs and beaches and you’ll be spoilt for choice. Keep an eye out on the website for different events throughout the year and the different choices of accommodation on offer.
North Wales is known to offer something for everyone’s taste. From castles to stately homes, from beautiful mountain railways to gold mines and lively family parks to relaxing museums, the choice really is up to what you fancy doing on the day. The North Wales Tourism authority has a list of everything you can choose from.
Isle of Anglesey
The Isle of Anglesey Ynys Mon as the locals call it sits in the North West corner and is separated by the tiny Menai Straight. Two bridges; the Menai Suspension Bridge and the Britannia Bridge connect the Isle to the mainland and much of the coastline has been declared an ‘Area of Outstanding Beauty’. The outdoor attractions are ample and you simply must take a trip to Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch for that all important holiday pic.
The Isle is a great way to get away from it all and if relaxing is just your thing then you can easily stay away from the outdoor activities and just have yourself a good rest.
Other notable attractions include Caernarfon Castle and Conwy Quay. The Castle is a World Heritage Site and was created by King Edward back in 1263. Set on the banks of the River Seiont the huge castle is certainly one to be seen. The ground will amaze you as you walk around looking at history that is centuries old.
The Conwy Quay is a delightful place to visit and stay as you have a number of options around the marina. Conwy itself has a notable castle and is home to the smallest house in Great Britain measuring only 3.05m high by 1.8m wide.
All in all North Wales is a wonderful getaway for golfers and the family too. So if you’re thinking of more of a British holiday this year then look no further.
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