Southerndown | NCG Top 100s: Wales

Southerndown is in a great region for golf, found within just a few miles of both Royal Porthcawl and Pyle & Kenfig, in southern Wales.  
Originally founded in 1905, the likes of Willie Fernie, Herbert Fowler, Willie Park, Harry Colt and Donald Steel have all been influential in the design of the golf course, with Fernie being the man to design the original layout.  
Visit the Southerndown website here.  

A Brief History of Southerndown

The club – under the original name of the Ogmore Down Golfing Society – officially opened in 1905, and after that, some of the greats of golf course architecture were brought in to design and construct the course.  
1883 Open Champion Willie Fernie was the man to design the course a year later, with Herbert Fowler turning up over the next couple of years to make some alterations. More changes were made by Willie Park, Harry Colt, and Donald Steel over the next few decades, to make Southerndown into the course it is today.  
The course is unique, as nature crafted an unusual ‘limestone-heath’ base on which this downland course sits. The massive limestone outcrop, which rises over 70 metres from the sea and gives such superb views, accounts for the course’s superb drainage. The overlying soil supports acid-loving heathland vegetation such as heather, bracken and gorse and the westerly winds have deposited centuries of sand to give the first eight holes a springy, links-style character. 

Southerndown Review | NCG Top 100s: Wales

The course is a tough Par 70, playing more than 6,650 yards from the black tees, but there are also white and yellow tees (the latter as a Par 71), to make a game of golf at Southerndown enjoyable for players of all abilities.  
Southerndown has an infamous opening shot of the day, one that is surely one of the toughest starts in British golf. The 1st is an unforgiving hole played uphill and when there's a strong wind – either into or across in either direction – you'd settle for a bogey there and then. It's not as exacting as this throughout, but the wind is often a factor and so is the gorse, which is just about the only thing the grazing sheep don't seem that keen to nibble on. 
Other highlights on the front nine include the blind tee shot on the 2nd - where you must play the tee shot left of the marker post as the land slopes from left to right - and the 7th, a demanding par three played downhill to the green that slopes from back to front and is well guarded at the front and right. The next is a slight dogleg left to right where you can lay up short of the large fairway bunkers or take on the carry if the wind is with you. Played uphill, the land slopes right to left. The green is well guarded, and slopes right to left and from the back. 
“Don’t miss playing here if you get as far as Porthcawl” - Tom Doak in The Confidential Guide to Golf Course: Volume 1 – Great Britain and Ireland 
The nine closes with a short par 4 setting up a birdie chance if you avoid the bunkers guarding the fairway and green. The green slopes sharply from back to front. The second half opens with a downhill par three that can play much shorter than the yardage and is followed two holes later but consistently one of the most difficult holes on the course. 
The 12th's tee shot is intimidating, with gorse left and right and the prevailing wind blowing across the dogleg. The green is large and club selection can vary by up to four clubs depending on the pin position. An easier hole follows it, a short par 5, generally played downwind before 15 is the first of three of the last four holes generally played into the prevailing wind. The 18th is the 'signature', played downhill to the split-level fairway. Trouble left and right, while the green is one of the largest on the course but is well guarded. The relatively flat green sits right in front of the clubhouse. 

FAQs about Southerndown

Where is Southerndown located?  
Southerndown is located in southern Wales, slightly inland from the coastline. Bridgend is just five miles to the north, while the M4, which connects London with Cardiff, is a mile further north of Bridgend. Southerndown sits around halfway between Swansea and Cardiff, the nation’s two biggest cities. Pyle & Kenfig and Royal Porthcawl are within a few miles to the northwest. 
Bridgend also hosts the nearest train station, with trains running to many destinations, including Manchester Piccadilly and London Paddington, along with Swansea, Carmarthen, Cardiff and Cheltenham. There are also trains running to Cardiff Airport, which is less than 20 miles to the east and offers a wide range of flights as the largest and busiest airport in the country. Bristol Airport, one of the busier in terms of passengers in the United Kingdom, is just over 65 miles away.  

What golf facilities does Southerndown offer?
Along with the golf course, Southerndown also has some solid practice facilities. There are two practice greens, one for putting and one for chipping, with the latter also featuring a practice bunker. Two hitting nets also offer players the opportunity to find their rhythm before a round.  

What are the green fees at Southerndown?
The price of a green fee at Southerndown changes throughout the year, depending on the season. It is also different depending on whether it is a weekday or weekend. 
For more information on current green fees at Southerndown, visit their website here
Visit the Southerndown website here