Being surrounded on every side by 3 powerhouses of golf in Scotland, Ireland and England, Wales is often overlooked as a golfing destination, a travesty, considering the truly world-class golf that is on offer there. Wales has played host to a number of international tournaments, including the Ryder Cup in 2010 at Celtic Manor and the Senior Open Championship, which has been at Royal Porthcawl twice in the last 4 years.
Wales, with miles of charming coastline and acres of untouched countryside, is full of hidden gems that make for some epic golf, a real rising star in the golfing world.
The crown jewel of Welsh golf, Royal Porthcawl is not only the best course in Wales but one of the best in the world. Whilst not a true links course, Royal Porthcawl is right on the coast of South Wales and boasts breathtaking views across the Bristol Channel and the Atlantic beyond. Do not let the absence of sand dunes fool you, this epic track is tough, one has to navigate the plentiful gorse and excellent bunkering, all in the face of the winds coming off the Atlantic.
|Designed by:||Charles Gibson, Ramsay Hunter, J. Simpson|
Royal St David's is located in the midst of the gorgeous Snowdonia National Park in northwest Wales, with the dominant Harlech Castle keeping eternal watch over the links, it is an inspiring place. Local golfers claim that St David's is the toughest par 69 course in the world, with its exposure to the elements and holes routed in varying directions, it is hard to disagree with them. Don’t let the challenge dissuade you from experiencing this Welsh must-play.
|Designed by:||Harold Finch Hatton, William Henry More|
Aberdovey is a links course in the truest sense of the word, nestled among towering dunes overlooking Cardigan Bay. Expect undulating turf, firm fairways and lightning quick greens, for Aberdovey, has all of these twinned with a magnificent backdrop. The course demands creativity and smart club selection, in keeping with its Irish equivalents across the sea, the changeable winds will be a factor that makes no two holes the same.
|Designed by:||Harry Colt, James Braid, Herbert Fowler|
The moniker 'The Links in the Sky' comes from the unique setting of Pennard, as it sits atop the cliffs some 200 ft above the sea. This magnificent setting makes for some of the most dramatic views of any golf course in Britain. As with many of the truly great golf courses, none of the holes would be considered boring, the use of elevated tees on several holes make for thrilling tee shots.
|Designed by:||James Braid|
As historic golf courses in Wales go, few are older or more well-liked than Ashburnham, since its inception in 1894 is has remained at the forefront of Welsh golf. The classic links course has the quirk of beginning with a par 3, from then on working out and back in typical links style. For those who tend to slice from left to right, Ashburnham can prove difficult to navigate, but it well worth a visit.
|Location:||Burry Port, Carmarthenshire|
|Designed by:||J.H. Taylor, James Braid, Ken Cotton|
The Twenty Ten Course at Celtic Manor is the first course to be purpose-built to host a Ryder Cup event. It is widely regarded as a huge success, resulting in one of the most thrilling ends to a Ryder Cup in recent memory, despite heavy rain. The success of this modern great has helped to propel Wales into the spotlight of elite level golf. The course itself is a joy to play, with multiple water hazards to test your accuracy off the tee.
|Designed by:||Ross McMurray, Bob Jones, Robert Trent Jones Jnr.|
Shooting out from Wales into the Irish Sea, Nefyn is positioned in such a way that it is impossible not to be thrilled by the dramatic landscape. Surrounded by water on three sides, the views from atop the cliffs at Nefyn nothing short of awesome. Comparable to Old Head at Kinsale across the water in Ireland, the course is as spectacular as the views. Three loops of 9 holes make up the course, the Front and then the Old or the New. If you only have time to play 18, go for the Old to experience the exhilaration of cliff-side golf.
|Designed by:||James Braid, J.H. Taylor|
Occupying the same stretch of glorious coastline as the best course in Wales, Royal Porthcawl, means expectations are sky high for Pyle & Kenfig, the course rises to that challenge. 'P & K', as the locals call refer to it, has a wonderful variety of views, including that of the Gower Peninsula and the Welsh Mountains. The track is a true links, rare in Wales, and rolls across the natural hillocks and valleys beautifully.
|Designed by:||Harry Colt|
Located on Wales northern coast, Conwy is an excellent seaside track. Set to host the Curtis Cup in 2020, the course is not without challenge, largely due to the coastal winds. Should you be lucky enough to catch a day with low winds, Conwy could be enjoyed by golfers of all levels. In keeping with links character, many holes are nestled in the rolling sand dunes and make for exciting play.
|Location:||Conwy, North Wales|
|Designed by:||Jack Morris|
The Wales National is superbly conditioned, thanks in part to its USGA specification greens, with its collection of water hazards and acres of sand trouble is never too far away. Measuring 7,400+ yards from the back tees it is challenging, yes, but the Wales National is a wonderful treat that every golfer will enjoy.
|Location:||Vale of Glamorgan, South Wales|
|Designed by:||Peter Johnson|
A refreshingly unique course, Southerndown presents as much of challenge to classify it as it does with the opening hole. The track is set atop a huge limestone outcrop, some 70 metres above sea level, and is covered with that heathland flora we know is the enemy of stray golf balls. The quirks don’t end there, sand has been blown up off the shore onto the turf, meaning some of the fairways play like a links course. This wonderful, natural combination of features make Southerndown a must-play in Wales.
|Designed by:||Willie Fernie|