Golf in West Wales

There are many reasons why you should make your next golfing trip to west Wales. From fabulous links to picturesque parkland courses, there is something here for everyone to enjoy. The area certainly has a special place in the heart of two of Scotland’s favourite golfing sons. In the space of seven years, Bernard Gallacher and Sam Torrance both recorded their first professional victories at the same course, Ashburnham. Situated five miles west of the rugby mecca of Llanelli, Ashburnham is rightly regarded as one of the best links courses in the whole of Britain and should be the first name on the list when you’re planning a visit. But there are plenty of other reasons to travel here with your clubs. The area is blessed with numerous excellent courses, one of which is a must-play at Tenby, where the first properly constituted club in the whole of Wales was founded in 1888. Here is a brief guide to what you can expect from golf in west Wales. Ashburnham Ashburnham is a very special links course that has a special place in the hearts of a number of golfers, and some of those happen to be some of the best players who have ever played the game! Indeed, former Ryder Cup captain and worldwide winning Tour pro Bernard Gallacher won his very first professional event at Ashburnham when he won the Schweppes PGA Championship in 1969. And another former Ryder Cup captain Sam Torrance also got his professional career off the ground when he won his first event at Ashburnham by lifting the Martini International in 1976. www.ashburnhamgolfclub.co.uk

Carmarthen

This delightful tract of lush parkland sits four miles up the Gwili Valley from Carmarthen town, one of West Wales’ most inviting little towns for various reasons. The club was formed in 1907 but the course was then situated nearer the centre of the town. In 1928 JH Taylor designed a new course at Rhydymarchog and it has been serving local goflers to great effect ever since. It is a reasonably short course but that does not suggest in any way that it is easily playable, a fact you will be inclined to agree with more when you walk off the first green. www.carmarthengolfclub.co.uk

Dawn Til Dusk GC

This club is usually referred to as Rosemarket Golf Club but its proper title is actually Dawn Til Dusk Golf Club. It may be a nine-hole course but when played twice has all the attributes of superb 18-hole course and the par of 73 should indicate just that. Besides its length, the challenge is made somewhat greater by the inclusion of several sand traps and strategically placed water hazards, each of which provide extra food for thought. Those who have dropped by and fancy a few holes but haven’t got any clubs will be pleased to learn that clubs are available for hire.

Derllys Court Golf Club

The course presents breathtaking views of rolling hills and valleys. It is best described as an undulating parkland set-up. The back and front halves provide an interesting contrast. The greens on the front nine are undulating as opposed to the relatively flat greens of the back nine water hazards and bunkers come into play providing an interesting challenge. The par of 70 and the SSS of 68 offers the opportunity for golfers who seek the satisfaction of the long as well as the short game. A warm welcome awaits the golfer in the well-appointed clubhouse, where individuals or groups can choose from a selection of food & drink throughout the day. If you are heading west on a golf trip or tour then is well worth a stop. www.derllyscourtgolfclub.com

Garnant Park

Garnant Park is a hillside championship course that is nearly a whopping 7, 000-yards from its back tees, so big hitters can really open the shoulders when required. The course was constructed in 1995 to the tune of £900, 000 and opened a year later, making it one of Wales’ newest courses. It is a course that is full of character, even more so when you learn that the holes are named after local mineral workings like Wernos, Gelli Ceidrim and Wheal Morgan. The course was, in fact, constructed on land that used to be part of the Garnant Opencast Coal Mine.

Glyn Abbey GC

If you like a course that is literally buzzing with wildlife then Glyn Abbey is just for you. The course is situated in the eye-catching Gwendraeth Valley, not too far from Pembrey Coastal park and various other tourism hotspots. Also, when the course was being constructed in the early 1990s over 30, 000 trees were planted, so expect a wooded setting! The course is of championship standard and was built to USGA specifications. The fairways are generous in terms of their width which makes the challenge all the more exciting as you are allowed to open the shoulders and ‘let rip’ on occasion www.glynabbey.co.uk

Glynhir

Glynhir was founded back in 1908 and is situated in Llandybie with views down to Pen-y-Banc Farm from several vantage points. It is a well-groomed 18-hole parkland offering with a variety of interesting holes that are hard enough to test the best yet still provide the beginner with an eventual round that is not too disheartening. The front nine can be quite tough as there are back-to-back par fives running from the fourth. That run sees the only par fives on the card and there are no less than five par threes to look forward to, the best of all being the 6th over water. www.glynhirgolfclub.co.uk

Haverfordwest GC

Haverfordwest Golf Club offers a challenge to players of all levels and affords spectacular scenery as it is set near Pembrokeshire National Park is West Wales, with views over to the Preseli Hills and beyond. It is a parkland course that is noted for its superb greens and well-manicured fairways. The clubhouse was erected in 1994 and has been welcoming plenty of visitors ever since. That looks set to continue, according to the club, when the Ryder Cup comes to Wales in 2010. www.haverfordwestgolfclub.co.uk

Llandovery College Golf Course

As part of Llandovery College – it is situated next to the Sports Pavilion – this par-3 course is mainly used by the students but it is also open to the general public. You don’t need a handicap to play either, so it is the perfect place to go if you want to play golf for the first time or are a relative newcomer to the game. The parkland course measures just over 2,000 yards, so you definitely won’t get the chance to use every club in the bag. There are some interesting holes, though, and this is definitely the type of course to head for if you want to play relatively cheaply without being put under any pressure.

Machynys Peninsula

A modern links championship golf course, Machynys Peninsula has been designed to challenge the best players in championship conditions – and yet still be enjoyable for the higher handicapper, by utilising up to five tees per hole. The shaping of the £3.5m course layout has included the creation of 25 acres of new lakes – salt and fresh water – 12 miles of irrigation pipes and six miles of drainage pipes, to ensure the course is in top condition all year round. www.machynys.com

Mayfield Golf & Driving Range

Near Haverfordwest, this is the ideal place to visit if you are seeking to perfect your game. For, in addition to a splendid nine-hole golf course, there is also a 15-bay driving range. The course itself is set in trees and comprises of a mixture of par-3s and par-4s. With the range at hand you can prepare properly for your round and, if you aren’t happy about something out on the course, then you know where to go to try and iron out the problem. If it’s something serious then lessons are also available. Societies are welcome here though any such groups are advised to book in advance.

Milford Haven GC

Milford Haven is an internationally renowned sea town and was one of the UK’s busiest ports for fishing produce. The club was formed in 1913 and opened as an enjoyable nine-hole offering but now it is a fully-fledged 18-hole test of skills, wit and patience, a test that is enjoyable by hundreds of visitors every year. The clubhouse features an upstairs bar where you can sit back and relax, sip your chosen vintage from the well-stocked bar and enjoy the splendid views across the course while deciding on what to choose form the extensive menu. www.mhgc.co.uk

Newport Links

Newport Links is situated in Pembrokeshires’ Coastal National Park. Sitting proudly on the coast it is two minutes’ drive from the town of Newport, nestled under Carningli (mountain of Angels) on the Nevern estuary. Newport attracts all kinds of people, from walkers, bird watchers to golfers and fishermen. With its well published arts and crafts shops and extremely friendly Welsh Pubs, we believe Newport has everything you want from your holiday. To stay with us does not mean you have to play golf, we pride ourselves on our friendly staff who will endeavour to hop arrange the perfect break for you. Having recently undergone a £3million development the club offers accommodation of 12 fabulous twin bedrooms and three luxury suites. www.newportlinks.co.uk

Priskilly Forest GC

Founded in 1992, Priskilly is renowned for its warm welcome and challenging 9 Hole Golf Course  set in picturesque  Parkland and centrally situated  to explore Pembrokeshire or play at other local  courses. On your way to Ireland? Priskilly is just 10 minutes away from the Port of Fishguard and visitors and beginners are always welcome The Golf Club is approached through a scenic drive, and is set in mature parkland surrounded by rhododendrons, oaks and sycamore – a natural habitat where wild flowers and birds prevail. Greens and fairways are immaculately kept, and boast panoramic views stretching from Strumble Head coastline across to the Preseli Hills, proving a challenge to the experienced golfer and beginner alike with the 9th hole being one of the best closing Par 5 holes in the county. Your non-golfing partner can enjoy a Woodland Walk,  take tea and relax in the gardens or enjoy a refreshing drink, freshly ground coffee or home cooked fare in ‘Y Cabin’ Bar/Bistro or browse in the golf shop. www.priskilly-forest.co.uk

Saron GC

Situated in Carmarthenshire, this is a family-owned pay-and-play course set in 50 acres. It opened in 1992 and is a nine-holer which has 18 tees, making that second round a little more enjoyable. Whether you play during the week or at the weekend, you’ll certainly enjoy excellent value for money here and, as you’d expect from a family-run facility, you’ll be made to feel welcome from the second you arrive until you say your goodbyes. Societies are welcome and, as an added incentive to visit here, the club can fix up your accommodation.

South Pembrokeshire GC

South Pembrokeshire is a maturing parkland course that is situated above the town of Pembroke Dock, on the opposite side of the waterway from Milford Haven. The course was originally another of Wales’ inviting little nine-holers that were nothing but a pleasure to play, but it has since evolved into a more modern 18-hole test without losing the charm and character that made it so popular in the first place. The homeward stretch is probably the course’s best aspect, as the 14th and 15th holes are certainly card wreckers should you misplace the odd shot. www.southpembsgolf.co.uk

St Davids City

St David’s City is one of three distinctive nine-hole gems that exist along the twenty-mile stretch of the North Pembrokeshire coast. It is the oldest of the trio and this year celebrated its centenary. There are very few golf clubs in the UK that bear the name ‘City’ but rumours have that the club didn’t want to be confused with the more famous St David’s in Harlech, formed nine years previously, so decided on a different name. Rightfully so, the club remains distinctive in its own right and has been a haven for holiday golfers for many years. www.stdavidsgolf.co.uk

Tenby GC

Tenby was formed in 1888 and is the oldest established course in Wales. Regular host to many prestigious events including the Welsh Amateur Championship, along with Celtic Manor and Royal Porthcawl, is one of Wales’ most famous courses. With its lovely natural features, and the gentle rolling design and subtle intricacies have definitely stood the test of time. With superb sea view across Carmarthen Bay, and fast true greens, Tenby provides the perfect place for all year round golf. Visitors and societies are very welcome. http://www.welshgolfcourses.com

Trefloyne Golf Club

Trefloyne Golf Club opened in 1996 to great acclaim and is located only one mile or so from Tenby Golf Club, the oldest club in Wales. It is an 18-hole parkland course that is fit enough to test the more experienced players while offering an enjoyable round for novices. Trefloyne was actually constructed in 1992 but didn’t open for another four years, giving the course ample time to mature into the enjoyable challenge it is today. The 13th is a great hole in that it features out-of-bounds on the left as you negotiate your way to the small, plateau green. http://www.welshgolfcourses.com