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Nefyn & District best wales courses

NCG Top 100s Chairman: ‘There is a warmth and a soul to Welsh clubs’

Speaking on The NCG Golf Podcast about the new Welsh rankings, NCG Top 100s Chairman Dan Murphy showed his love for the nation’s golf offerings.

 

NCG Top 100s Chairman Dan Murphy believes that Welsh clubs have a special feeling to them, a “warmth” that makes you feel welcomed.

Talking on the The NCG Golf Podcast about the updated Wales list on the NCG Top 100s website, he also said that “there is so amazing value” when it comes to courses on the list.

The NCG Top 100s feature lists from around the United Kingdom, along with courses and resorts based in both the UK and Europe.

The new Welsh list has a range of courses on it, from links to moorland offerings, and Dan Murphy believes they have something special to offer.

“I think there is a warmth to Welsh courses, not a literal warmth, it is as cold as anywhere else on the seaside!” he said.

“There is a warmth and a soul to Welsh clubs which is pretty special. Many of them have that ‘lived in’ feel to them, they’re authentic, they’re comfortable in their own skin.

“Like a lot of the outposts of Great Britain, people appreciate when you go and visit and that is quite nice.”

Not only does Wales offer a warmth with its golf courses, but there are also some courses around the country which can be played for just small change.

“A lot of them offer fantastic value compared to courses of a similar standard elsewhere in the country,” Murphy added.

“You look down the list and there is some amazing value. So many of those courses… If you were looking at planning a trip this summer with any kind of a budget, there really aren’t very many that you wouldn’t be able to go and see. You can put a trip together for a few hundred pounds and play some wonderful golf for a week so that is special.”

best wales courses Machynys Peninsula
Machynys Peninsula, one of the newest courses in Wales, earns a place high on the NCG Top 100s: Wales list

NCG Top 100s Chairman: ‘I would start in South Wales’ for the best Welsh courses

Much of the Welsh golfing landscape happens to be around the coastline of the country, whether that is to the north, south or west of the nation’s outline.

Like Ireland, if you want to play the best courses in Wales, then you have to travel a fair distance. There are “a couple of areas that you can build your trip around” according to Murphy.

However, that is not all on the coastline, as Wales is also home to some incredible moorland golf courses, in the shadows of hills and mountains.

When it does come to the perfect golf trip, then the NCG Top 100s Chairman would put his case forward for a trip to South Wales, starting with Tenby, and featuring the likes of Ashburnham, Clyne, Machynys Peninsula and Pennard.

“After three or four holes, you are likely to fall in love with Tenby! Tenby is the furthest point [west] so the way my brain works, you get to the end and work your way back,” Murphy explained about his ideal trip.

“If we get our geography right, and we come back towards Swansea around the Gower Peninsula, there’s so much fun to be had!

“You can move your way back and you get involved with places like Ashburnham and I would definitely recommend taking a trip inland to Clyne, which is one of the great moorland courses in this part of the world that people don’t often go to.

“Machynys Peninsula is the pick of the modern Welsh courses, I think that has matured really nicely and it is definitely worth a visit. Then you have Pennard on the Gower Peninsula, the ‘Links in the Sky’ which is also very, very special.

“Then as you go beyond Swansea, you reach the likes of Pyle & Kenfig, Southerndown and of course, Royal Porthcawl. If you want to play the absolute best, I would start in South Wales. I have missed out a few courses there but if you wanted to play the best of the best then you can do them all on that southwest coast of Wales.”

The NCG Golf Podcast then delved into some of those courses, talking about three of their favourites. Machynys Peninsula is one of the newest golf courses in the country, and it quickly became a favourite of the panel. Meanwhile, Pennard and Royal Porthcawl have always been favourites.

“Opened in early 2000s and it is Wales’ answer to Dundonald or Kingsbarns – it is that kind of thing. It is a big course, there is lots of water and really nice views, but it is well laid out, well presented and it does it very, very well. It is a nice, pretention-free take on traditional golf and it has gotten better and better as the years have gone on. We think it is the best new course as well.

“Pennard is one of these courses that breaks the rules. It is a clifftop course, about 200 feet above the beach but it doesn’t play like that. It plays like a links course and normally you have to be right down at sea level to get that sandy soil, but Pennard is the real deal. It seems to have been hoisted up into the air, but it is golf where in every direction you turn, something different and something fun happens.

“You can see the sea from almost every point [at Porthcawl] and the whole golf course slopes up from the coast. If you imagine a football stand, the whole of the course tilts down looking over the sea which is incredibly unusual. People love it because of those sea views and the land moves in some really unusual ways so you get some unbelievably fast chips and putts if you are above the hole.

“It is the only Royal in South Wales, so it has pedigree, it has reputation, it has hosted the Walker Cup, it has history and it also has a Dormy House. If you ever get the chance to go to Porthcawl and stay in the Dormy House, it is very special!”

Now listen to The NCG Golf Podcast

NCG Top 100s Chairman Dan Murphy joins Steve Carroll and Tom Irwin to talk about the best courses in Wales and which are the must plays. You can listen to the full episode here.

Now have your say

How many times you have played golf in Wales? What would you say are the best golf courses in Wales? Let me know your thoughts by leaving a comment on X.

Matt Coles

Matt Coles

Mention a European country, and Matt will tell you which resorts make the National Club Golfer Top 100s: European Resorts list. He might even throw in who designed the golf course and how many rooms the hotel has got at each one…

Matt got into the game of golf from a young age, following his old man to the local golf club. He fell for the sport, and now can’t seem to go a day without thinking about how to improve his game (Thanks Dad!). Matt has been a member of Howley Hall GC in Leeds since 2020, and is just about managing to maintain a single-figure handicap. He likes to remind people that he once broke 75, but won’t tell people that it was on a shortened course during the winter.

He moved to Leeds after graduating from the University of Central Lancashire with a First Class Honours degree in Sports Journalism. Matt joined NCG after almost five years travelling the world with the Professional Squash Association, working on events in all four corners of the globe.

Matt currently plays a Cobra King LTDx driver and RadSpeed 3-wood. TaylorMade monopolise the rest of his bag, with a SIM UDI, M5 irons and both Milled Grind and HI-TOE wedges, along with a Monza Redline putter. He uses a Vice Pro Plus golf ball, because he’s a bit different…

Away from golf, Matt is a Manchester United fan, and a keen runner, having ran the Rob Burrow Leeds Marathon (his first and possibly last), in May 2023.

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