Whenever you tee it up on the best courses in Wales you have the distinct feeling that this is golf as it should be.
You will find breathtaking landscapes, and outstanding championship tracks as well as great-value hidden gems and a genuine, warm welcome at all the courses across this great country.
This is golf as it is meant to be played – unstuffy, unhurried and oozing character, quality and charm.
Celtic Manor (Newport)
The lowdown: The Twenty Ten course hosted the Ryder Cup but that’s not the only reason to make the visit to this vast hotel, resort and conference centre. The Montgomerie and Roman Road courses hit the standard in their own right, while the complex also hosts a state-of-the-art academy.
Places of interest: The National Roman Legion Museum in Caerleon celebrates the fortress that guarded the region for more than 200 years, while Tredegar House is considered among the best 17th-century Charles II mansions in Britain.
Call 01633 410 263 or visit the Celtic Manor website for more details.
The lowdown: You can look across the water to Snowdonia from the exceptional 3rd hole at this Harry Vardon- designed mix of links and parkland holes. There’s only one par 5 on a course that’s just 5,847 yards but Abersoch is a good deal more demanding than the yardage suggests.
Places of interest: The brilliantly named Hells Mouth Beach is popular with families and surfers and you may even catch a sight of a dolphin if you’re there at the right time.
Call 01758 712 622 or visit the Abersoch website for more details.
Radyr (South Glamorgan)
The lowdown: One of only four Harry Colt courses in South Wales, Radyr is described as one of the great designer’s “little jewels”. Overlooking Cardiff and the Bristol Channel, the parkland layout gently undulates and is well known for having excellent greens.
Places of interest: Barely half a mile away from the town is the Glamorgan Canal Nature Reserve. St Fagans National Museum of History is one of Europe’s leading open- air museums.
Call 029 2084 2408 or visit the Radyr website for more details.
The lowdown: Peter Alliss named Clyne, laid out by Harry Colt, as one of his 200 best courses in the British Isles and it is easy to see why. Looking out across the Gower Peninsula, its visual charms are obvious. But the moorland course also prides itself on its all-year-round grass tees and greens.
Places of interest: The views from the course are something to behold, but they are matched by the waterfall at the Aberdulais Tinworks.
Call 01792 929 290 or visit the Clyne website for more details.
The Vale (Vale of Glamorgan)
The lowdown: Make sure you are on song with the driver when you play the Wales National at The Vale Resort. At 7,433 yards, it’s something of a monster amid the South Wales woodland. The Lake course offers a different but no less enjoyable challenge.
Places of interest: Nearby Llantrisant is home to the Royal Mint Experience – where you can watch UK currency being made and go behind the scenes to discover how a coin goes from ‘blank to bank’.
Call 01443 667 800 or visit the Vale website for more details.
The lowdown: The ‘Links in the Sky’ is 200 feet above sea level and, with its setting close to the famous Three Cliffs Bay, is rightly known as a classic rugged links. A memorable course in every way, those tight, running fairways and fast greens should be at the top of your list when planning a trip to Wales.
Places of interest: The Gower Heritage Centre is based around an operational 12th-century watermill, while nearby Langland Bay beach is a popular haunt for tourists and those wanting to find some serious surf.
Call 01792 233 121 or visit the Pennard website for more details.
Garnant Park (Carmarthenshire)
The lowdown: It’s easy to forget that three putt when you’ve got the Black Mountains of the Brecon Beacons as your backdrop. That’s what you’ll see at Garnant Park, set in 120 acres on the western edge of the Brecon Beacons National Park. Truly one of Wales’ best kept golfing secrets, it is renowned for exceptional greens.
Places of interest: From the Tin Shed Experience, to Llansteffan Castle, the Millennium Coast and the Four Waterfalls Walk, there is all manner of attractions to feast on in Carmarthenshire away from the golf course.
Call 01269 824 121 or visit the Gernant website for more details.
Creigiau (South Glamorgan)
The lowdown: Get out into the heart of this parkland and Garth Mountain, along with the Vale of Glamorgan, is waiting to greet you. Creigiau is exceptionally presented, an easy walk, and framed by a variety of wildlife and water features. The 16th has the potential to be a card- wrecker thanks to water lurking along both sides of the green.
Places of interest: Castell Coch – otherwise known as the Red Castle – looks like it could have been the setting for Dracula
but the Victorian monument is a reminder of the Gothic revival and is an incredible sight.
Call 029 2089 0263 or visit the Creigiau website for more details.
The lowdown: The only true links course on the island, Anglesey is set among the dunes of Rhosneigr and was created out of those and the heathland. Snowdonia and the Llyn Peninsula form the impressive backdrop. There are no winter greens here, just interesting and challenging golf.
Places of interest: The Menai Suspension Bridge was the first modern suspension bridge in the world, while the Anglesey Coastal Path stretches for 125 miles along some of the largest collections of ancient sites in Great Britain.
Call 01407 811 127 or visit the Anglesey website for more details.
The lowdown: The Vale of Clwyd, and the Clwydian Hills, provides the backdrop for this North Wales parkland. The course sweeps the coast on one side and the rolling uplands on the other and the journey is worth it alone for the par-3 9th. Although not the longest of courses, it’s by no means easy.
Places of interest: The Llangollen Railway runs through the Dee Valley to Corwen and the entire length of the line is a site of Special Scientific Interest. If trains aren’t your thing, then check out the wonders of the ocean at the Rhyl SeaQuarium.
Call 01745 816 669 or Denbigh website for more details
The lowdown: Set within the wonderful Snowdonia National Park, the coastal setting provides a proper links test that bewitched the legendary golf writer Bernard Darwin. Herbert Fowler, James Braid and Harry Colt all applied their design talents to this inspiring test and the wonder starts from the very first hole.
Places of interest: Aside from the course, Aberdovey is renowned for sailing and watersports and there’s plenty of opportunity to get into the surf. Known as the Jewel in Cardigan Bay, use the resort to explore Snowdonia.
Call 01654 0r visit the Aberdovey website for more details.
The lowdown: Thought of as one of the finest parkland courses in South Wales, Gower only opened its doors in 1995 but Donald Steel used the landscape well. Set in rolling countryside on the Gower Peninsula, the club have a reputation for great hospitality and outstanding customer care. Beware of holes 8 to 11 – this woodland sequence has ruined many a scorecard.
Places of interest: Get out and about on the Peninsula itself and you will witness beautiful countryside and spectacular beaches. Take a trip into Swansea and, aside from the delights of the city, visit the birthplace of Dylan Thomas.
Call 01792 872 480 or visit the Gower website for more details.
Cottrell Park (Vale of Glamorgan)
The lowdown: Welsh Golf Club of the Year in 2015, Cottrell Park’s two courses – The Mackintosh and the Button Gwinnett
– are both based in sumptuous Vale of Glamorgan parkland and boast USGA specification greens. The latter is particularly exciting for players who enjoy a well- designed water hazard. There are 13 lakes spread over 18 holes.
Places of interest: Cardiff city centre has all manner of delights while, in St Nicholas, where Cottrell Park is based, the magnificent Edwardian Dyffryn Gardens cover 55 acres of gardens, ponds, lawns and arboretums.
Call 01446 781 781 or visit the Cottrell Park website for more details.
The lowdown: Pwllheli is like two sides of a coin. Heads – originally designed by Old Tom Morris – is a 9-hole links, while tails represents the added parkland holes that were crafted in the early 20th century by James Braid. Found on the south coast of Cardigan Bay, one of the more intriguing things about Pwllheli is the fact that there are no par 5s.
Places of interest: The Llyn Coastal Path, which runs through Pwllheli, takes in some of the most stunning Welsh coastline, including the sandy beaches at Nefyn, Morfa Nefyn and Porthdinllaen.
Call 01758 701644 or visit the Pwllheli website for more details.