Whenever and wherever you tee it up at golf courses in Wales you will find breathtaking landscapes, outstanding courses and a genuinely, warm welcome across this great country – especially when the locals are basking in the glory of a Six Nations Grand Slam.
This is golf as it is meant to be – unstuffy, unhurried and oozing character, quality and charm.
Golf courses in Wales
The lowdown: While the front-nine is extremely pleasant, it is the final nine holes at the James Braid-designed Porthmadog that are remarkable and worth the green fee alone. Indeed, the entire landscape transforms into a spectacular rugged links as you reach the 10th tee, with stunning views over the Cardigan Bay coastline and Snowdonia National Park.
Look out for: The par-4 14th, where you are tasked with having to thread your drive between two mounds dubbed the ‘Himalayas’.
For more information call 01766 514124 or visit the Porthmadog website.
The lowdown: Originally a 9-hole layout designed by Tom Morris, James Braid was drafted in to extend the course to 18 holes in 1909. As with a few other Welsh courses, Pwllheli is a tale of two different styles of golf: links and parkland, with views over Cardigan Bay.
Places of interest: Mwnt Beach is a small yet enchanting place to relax when away from the fairways. Watch out for the seals in the bay, and make sure you take a look around the small church which was built in the 14th century.
For more information call 01758 701 644 or visit the Pwllheli website.
The lowdown: Herbert Fowler, Harry Colt and James Braid have all touched Aberdovey at some point in the 20th century. The resulting links course is widely considered one of the very best in Wales.
Look out for: The short par-4 16th is a classic risk-and-reward hole; at 288 yards off the back tees, players face a decision: go for the green and flirt with the railway track down the left with the hope of an eagle putt, or lay back with an iron and hope to get up-and-down for a birdie.
For more information call 01654 767 493 or visit the Aberdovey website.
The lowdown: Pennard simply needs to be played to be believed. It’s often referred to as ‘The Links in the Sky’, and even that maybe under-selling this quite sensational venue. Located on the Gower Peninsula, Pennard stands at 200ft above sea level, allowing breathtaking views to be taken in from all angles of the course.
Look out for: You’ll need to bring your A game if you are to leave unscathed – but, regardless of how you play, once you finish on the 18th you’ll be desperate for more given the course’s thrilling nature.
For more information call 01792 233 451 or visit the Pennard website.
The lowdown: Away from the coast, Wrexham is considered to be one of North Wales’ finest courses. James Braid was the original designer, and although lots of work has been taken out over the years to extend the course, the small quirks of Braid’s work are still present.
Places of interest: Pontcysyllte Aqueduct is quite simply a must-visit. Standing at 126ft tall, it’s not for the faint-hearted, but spectacular views of the River Dee and surrounding areas are guaranteed.
For more information call 01978 351476 or visit the Wrexham website.
The lowdown: Cottrell Park, located just seven miles from Cardiff, boasts two 18-hole courses: the Mackintosh and the Button Gwinnett – both constructed to USGA specifications. Although Wales is known for its links golf, Cottrell Park offers an exceptional parkland test with modern accommodation on site.
Places of interest: For the keen sports fan, a stadium tour at the Millennium (Principality) Stadium should be high on the list, or, for the avid historian, head to St Fagans National Museum of History.
For more information call 01446 781781 or visit the Cotterell Park website.
The lowdown: Having been established in 1888, Tenby claims to be the birthplace of Welsh golf. Originally a nine- holer, James Braid was brought in to extend the course to 18 holes in 1907.
Places of interest: This harbour town is bursting with character. The obvious place to head to is the Castle Beach
For more information call 01834 844447 or visit the Tenby website.
The lowdown: Bull Bay is the most northerly golf course in Wales. What you’re met with is an incredibly fun track, characterised by blind tee shots and wicked elevated approaches.
Places of interest: The Isle of Anglesey Coastal Path is a long- distance route that provides stunning coastal views.
For more information call 01407 830960 or visit the Bull Bay website.
The lowdown: The undisputed heavyweight of Welsh golf, Royal Porthcawl is a true masterpiece. Over the years, it has hosted several big events, including the Senior Open.
Look out for: It’s very difficult to put into words what makes Royal Porthcawl so awe- inspiring – you simply have to play it to find out.
For more information call 01656 773702 or visit the Royal Porthcawl website.
The Vale Resort
The lowdown: The Wales National has played host to Challenge Tour and EuroPro Tour tournaments, and it’s easy to see why. Playing in excess of 7,400 yards from the back tees, it’s no surprise to see the course has been built to USGA standards.
Look out for: The adjacent Lake Course provides an incredibly fun test.
For more information call 01443 667800 or visit The Vale Resort website.
The lowdown: The upcoming host venue of the 2020 Curtis Cup, Conwy is a must-play if you’re in the area. Jack Morris, the nephew of Old Tom Morris, originally designed Conwy in 1869.
Places of interest: Head to the enchanting tourist town of Llandudno for an ice cream or fish and chips.
For more information call 01492 593400 or visit the Conwy website.
The lowdown: The Celtic Manor Resort is famous for the Twenty Ten course – the site of the 2010 Ryder Cup, where Graeme McDowell sealed victory for Colin Montgomerie’s side over the USA with that putt on the 17th. But, whatever you do, don’t forget about the other two courses – the Roman Road and the Montgomerie.
Look out for: All three of the 18-hole layouts are championship courses, so you’re guaranteed an unparalleled experience on the fairways.
For more information call 01633 410263 or visit the Celtic Manor website.
The lowdown: Although nearby Nefyn receives the bulk of attention on the Llyn Peninsula in North Wales, Abersoch flies completely under the radar. It should be one of the top priorities to visit if you find yourself in this part of the country.
Look out for: Designed by Harry Vardon, this 18-hole course is often considered a links – the majority of the track plays alongside the sandy beach overlooking the Irish Sea – but five holes on the back- nine play more parkland in nature, giving Abersoch an eclectic air.
For more information call 01758 712622 or visit the Abersoch website.
Pyle & Kenfig
The lowdown: Commonly known as P&K, Pyle & Kenfig has long lived in the shadow of the nearby Royal Porthcawl, but don’t let that put you off: P&K is a true links experience with plenty of charm.
Look out for: The opening nine are fairly mellow, so ensure that you make the most of it by holing the birdie putts when they come your way as you mentally prepare for what lies ahead. When the wind is stiff, the back-nine can be a memorable experience as the typically firm fairways slalom between magnificent towering dunes.
For more information call 01656 783093 or visit the Pyle & Kenfig website.