RESEARCH TOUR OF WALES, UK
Missing baggage, the pink pants & Northern Wales!
We arrived into Manchester airport from New York to find Heather's suitcase was missing. After 5-days and numerous phone calls, Thomas Cook Airlines eventually found the suitcase in lost property with Delta Airlines in JFK airport - quite amazing since we have never flown Delta! Heather was left without her luggage for a week, and remote towns in Wales are not the greatest place to restock a wardrobe.
We hired a car and headed to Nigel & Sue's home outside Manchester to hang out for 24 hours. It was great to catch up with them. We first met them several years earlier in the carpark preparing to play Royal St Georges, and have been friends since. They are great company and we try and get together somewhere in the world each year. This time they joined us for a few days in Wales.
At The Travelling Golfer, it's just work, work, work... and on this occasion our job was to research the golf, accommodation, sightseeing, food, wine etc for potential golf trips. We had met with the Wales Tourism people in 2014, and they were keen to get us moving. So we deputised Nigel & Sue as researchers, and off we went playing golf at Conwy, Royal St David's, Nefyn and Aberdovey.
Sightseeing included the walled city and Castle at Conwy, and the quaint Portmerion. Heather had found us a rather remote, but delightful cottage in the countryside, and with Nigel and Sue's help we sampled some of the local pubs and restaurants.
And of course we scoured the country for golf clothes. It took 4 days for the missing suitcase to arrive, but in the meantime we found the pink pants!
Conwy Golf Club is a links course in Northern Wales, not far from the English Border. The course has unique setting- surrounded by mountains, sea, and the delightful village. It's a very pretty spot, and a delight to play.
Combined with a visit to the walled town, and castle at Conwy it makes a pretty good day.
The highlight was Sue's birdie on the par 3 15th.
Royal St David's Golf Club ( also known as Harlech after the town ) is one of the better known courses in Wales, and sits on the coast by the railway line. The dark Harlech castle overlooks the entire landscape. It's a very relaxed place to play golf and has some delightful holes, particularly the more links like holes set in the dunes in the back nine. It's easy to commute from here to Aberdovey Golf Club by train, and both clubs have Dormy houses.
Nefyn & Districts Golf Club is something very special. It has been compared to Old Head at Kinsale in Ireland, but is much nuttier!
This is one of those courses that everyone should play at least once in their lifetimes. The front nine starts with some very dramatic clifftop holes, but the back nine goes out onto a narrow peninsula 200 feet above the sea, and the golf gets a little wacky!
Remember those silly golfing calendars- think Nefyn!
Throw in the general public wandering through the course, and a pub on the beach which is almost a mandatory stopover, and you have a unique and very appealing golfing destination.
Nefyn & Districts Golf Club is a Travelling Golfer 'must play'.
And this day will go down in history as the day that the pink pants were unveiled. "That was all they had in the Pro Shop and my suitcase still had not arrived" Heather
Aberdovey Golf Club was made famous by the doyen of golf writers- Bernard Darwin. He waxed lyrical on the charms of the links by the sea at Aberdovey.
Aberdovey is a little like Royal St David's in that the course is between mountains and sea, and contains some flatter land and some genuine linksland. It's a beautiful place to play golf for sure.
Aberdovey is reasonably remote, and off the beaten track, and has a relaxed atmosphere. The railway line that runs alongside the course connects to Royal St David's GC, and both clubs have decent dormy houses.
As we drove south the weather came in, and our drive took longer than expected. We rescheduled our game at Tenby, and headed to our bungalow home for the next few days, not far from Porthcawl. In southern Wales we were looking forward to catch up with the Haw family, golf at Pennard, Tenby, Pyle & Kenfig & the mighty Royal Porthcawl. We checked out the walled city of Tenby, local gardens and The Mumbles!
Pennard Golf Club in South Wales is known as 'the links in the sky'. This amazing course is set in rolling dunes high on a headland. The golf is challenging/ stimulating with no two holes alike, and the views are 'to die for'.
To make a good day better we had arranged to meet up with the Haw family for a fun day on the links. Richard & Laura, Eileen & Doc joined us. Everyone agreed that Pennard should be rated a Travelling Golfer 'must play' course.
When we set out for the walled city of Tenby we allowed an hour or so for lunch before heading to golf. But seriously folks this place is gorgeous, and you could spend quite some time exploring the city.
Then we headed for the old course at Tenby Golf Club for a dose of old world golf. The first 4 holes were claustrophobic. I couldn't find my tees on any of the holes without a 5 minute reconnaissance..
Blind shots, extremely tight, bells & mounds- but it was great fun!
And then when the course opened up there were some fantastic beach vistas, and all with the walled city of Tenby as a backdrop. And top class links holes..
Tenby is a Travelling Golfer 'must play'.
Pyle & Kenfig almost abuts Royal Porthcawl, and is a course with a split personality. Most of the course is essentially a nice parkland course originally set out by Harry Coly, but holes 11-15 on the back nine were a later addition in the sand dunes which add a bit of pizzazz to the course. These 5 holes are very linksy with blind shots, and terrain that is much more interesting...
Royal Porthcawl in the south of Wales is a very special championship links course. It compares favourably with the best of the Open Rota courses, and one day may well host an Open Championship. It is that good!
The club was very welcoming, the course was in magnificent condition, and the wind was howling...
Royal Porthcawl is a Travelling Golfer 'must play'
And so ended our time in Wales. We had played 8 courses and gave 4 our highest ratings- Travelling Golfer 'must plays'. The scenery was at times spectacular, and we learned where to stay, what to see etc. As we drove north to our accommodation in the Lakes district, we stopped off to see the famous Llangollen Aqueduct, before again heading north.
The Travelling Golfer can tailor golf trips to Wales for your group. For suggested itineraries visit Great Golf Destination: Wales
For further information on tours to Wales please enquire here: