Cardiff and the South

Bob Warters
Sun, 2 May 2010

WEST WALES

A golfing heritage

Perched on the most westerly tip of the country is St Davids', the smallest cathedral city in Britain. It is also home to one of a trio of West Wales golf clubs that must be among the world’s most enchanting nine-hole courses.

St Davids’ City course is actually at White Sands Bay, two miles from the cathedral. The other two courses are at Newport, just along the coast, and Priskilly Forest near Haverfordwest. Newport has been described as ‘like playing on velvet’, while Priskilly Forest is a picturesque, undulating parkland course surrounded by rhododendrons. To enjoy Priskilly to the full, stay on course at its Georgian country house.

All three give a taste of the delightful golf you can play in beautiful West Wales. It all goes back a long way, for it is claimed that Welsh golf was born on the Pembrokeshire coast.

Although the first location at which golf was actually played in Wales is under dispute, it is officially recognised that the first club was formed amid the sand dunes beside the medieval walled town of Tenby in 1888. It may be an old course, but it’s still in vigorous health. Many a golfer has been rendered breathless by the opening 466-yard par-four into a prevailing wind, as well as by the course’s sheer loveliness.

Tenby now has an impressive neighbouring course at Trefloyne. The old county towns of Carmarthen and Haverfordwest have fine courses too. Elsewhere, there are many other excellent holiday tests - the mixed terrain of the Milford Haven club, for example, or the popular Glynhir course in the attractive Loughor Valley, or the ‘links in the sky’ at Pennard on the Gower Peninsula.

At Burry Port there’s Asburnham, a classic Welsh links course. It’s a difficult course loved by many of the game’s top professionals; Sam Torrance gained his first title here.

Quite new on the scene is Machynys Peninsula on the airy Millennium Coastal Park near Llanelli, in a dramatic setting overlooking Carmarthen Bay. This superb links-style championship course, the first to bear the hallmark of Nicklaus Design in Wales, is over 7,000 yards long.

With its links breaks, pace on the greens, tight fairways and four lakes - plus Atlantic winds! - it’s a challenging par-72. It has already become apparent that talent not technology is the quality needed to tame this world-class newcomer.

Further reading relevant to this article...

Wales: A golfer's guide Part 2

 

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