A guide to golf in Mid-Wales
The North has Royal St David and the South is home to Royal Porthcawl, but in-between there are a host of hidden gems and traditional layouts in Mid-Wales. While its courses may lack the reputation and regal seal of approval that the others possess, there is a stunning variety of links courses and majestic in-land tracks to be discovered. Go off the beaten path and explore this underrated golfing heartland.
Just across the border from England is Welshpool Golf Club, whose golf course is unexpectedly spectacular. Situated on the hills, this James Braid-design weaves and undulates throughout a dramatic landscape, providing panoramic views across the region. The 18-holes may not be lengthy, but it is a fine and unspoiled challenge for players of all abilities, and features some standout holes, mostly notably the breath-taking 18th that possesses some of the most startling elevation changes of any hole in the United Kingdom.
Aberystwyth Golf Club
With its hilltop position ensuring for excellent drainage throughout the year, excellent conditioning can be guaranteed with the modest green-fee – ensuring for an enjoyable experience that is value for money. Fine place to begin your foray into Mid-Wales.
Just one hour away from Welshpool, you will come across the majestic Llandrindod Wells Golf Club. Largely untouched since it was opened for play a century ago, walk in the footsteps of legends at a course that many feel is one of the best kept secrets in Welsh golf. Six-time Open Champion, Harry Vardon designed the courses and played in a Grand Opening exhibition match with his great rivals; James Braid and John Henry Taylor.
The sense of unspoilt history is tangible at Llandrindod, while a pleasant variety of holes ensures for a hugely satisfying golfing experience. If there ever was a true ‘hidden’ gem, this is certainly it.
After enjoying the delights of inland Welsh golf, it is time for some traditional links to spice things up. Borth and Ynyslas Golf Club boldly claims to be the oldest in Wales, and while that is certainly contentious, their course unquestionably feels like a permanent part of the landscape. Situated just north of the market town of Aberystwyth, this old-fashioned links course was enhanced by the great Harry Colt in the mid-1940s, and his changes have ensured that it remains an ever-lasting challenge.
Cardigan Golf Club
A recognised championship venue by the Golf Union of Wales, the course sits alongside Cardigan Bay and features all of the qualities that you could hope for in a traditional links. With affordable green fees, Borth and Ynyslas – like many of the courses in Mid-Wales – represents superb value for money.
Aberystwyth Golf Club – itself – is a genuine highlight of golf in Wales. Unquestionably one of the most spectacular courses in the UK in terms of views, this Harry Vardon design has become hugely popular with visitors from all across the country. With stunning views across Cardigan Bay, it would be easy to be distracted from the actual golf, but the quality of the course ensures that doesn’t happen.
It has been altered and extended throughout the years to reflect the changing demands of modern equipment and standards, but it has retained the principles instilled by Vardon. A warm-welcome can be also be expected, with Aberystwyth representing yet another jewel in the crown of golf in Wales.
38 miles south is the spectacular Cardigan Golf Club. Just north of Pembrokeshire National Park, this hilltop courses boasts stunning views and a challenge to players of all standards. It is becoming a recurring theme with these courses in Mid-Wales, but Cardigan has so much to offer. Rolling fairways and quick greens blend in with the natural beauty and elements to ensure for a satisfying round for all visitors to the area. It is among the finest in the region.
When not playing golf, there is a lot to discover and be enjoyed in Mid-Wales. For the adventurous, the Sky Trip Experience at Llangorse consists of a series of 14 connected zip lines between trees up to 22 metres above the ground, while the Silver Mountain Experience in Aberystwyth features guided tours looking back on the lives of mining communities, with the Black-Chasm section combining fantasy/horror elements.
There are also numerous walks and cycle trails to be explored throughout the area, with mountain biking and water sports also being an attraction for more active visitors. Nature lovers will embrace the reserves that can be found in the region – including ospreys and owls – with a variety of castles and museums also providing a historical context to your visit. There is something for everyone.
Mid-Wales may not have the reputation or obvious allure of the North and South, but when you delve into its secrets, you discover that is somewhere that simply has to be visited.
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