Harry Colt designed only four courses in the Principality but has left a mark in South Wales – and this is his first entry in this list. Radyr is a 1902 parkland renowned for its excellent putting surfaces and which offers views of the capital and Bristol Channel. It has has been described as ‘One of Colt’s Little Jewels’ and enjoys an idyllic setting in rural parkland. Radyr has hosted many national and county events.
Located in a tranquil setting on the outskirts of Cardiff yet just four minutes from J32 of the M4, it is nestled in acres of rural heathland. Its gentle undulations are a delight to the eye, but which offer the sternest challenge given its 6,000 yards play to a tight par of 69.
Radyr is historic too – Wales’ first ever professional tournament took place here at the start of the 20th century. The 1st is a gentle introduction, but trees and rough either side of the narrow fairway will punish any off-line tee shots.
The view across the City and Severn Estuary from the tee make an immediate impression. The 4th signals the start of a run of three par 4s over 410 yards. It plays downhill but into the prevailing wind.
The fairway is narrow for the short drive and fairway bunkers threaten the long drive. The second shot to a generous green has to carry a stream that runs across the fairway.
Then you face the opposite challenge; a classic uphill par 4 with a drive out through a chute to a narrow fairway bounded by OB and bunkers. The long second has to be accurately judged to be on the right level on the two-tier green that is well guarded by bunkers.
At the 7th, new bunkers across the front of the green have transformed this par 3 and placed a premium on correct club selection. Anything too long results in a tricky recovery or putt down the sloping green.
The longest par 3 is just 175 yards, at the 10th, but as it is played uphill into the prevailing wind it is a stiff test. You must carry a deep swale with a very steep bank of deep rough. The well-bunkered green again demands control of line and length.
The best short hole is the 12th. It might be relatively short but it has a banana-shaped green and if you miss it on the left you face an intimidating chip down to a very narrow green. Bail out right and you are in rough with a pitch up a very steep bank often with a difficult stance. A delight to the eye that can be a nightmare to play.
You might pick up a shot on the next though, a par 5 played into the wind. Like the 8th it offers a birdie opportunity but OB close to, and short of, the green tends to force players left. Two large trees frame the tee shot but stand in the way of the player going for the green if the tee shot is off line.
The 18th plays downhill and downwind and at less than 380 yards looks a birdie chance. But you need to be accurate off the tee and fairway – the green might look flat but it is deceptive.