Wales is a treasure trove of wonderful seaside links golf courses and is one best kept secrets in links golf. There are more than a dozen fantastic links courses in Wales and this quaint country is full of wonder. It’s the perfect choice for an “off the beaten path” style of trip with fewer crowds and the friendliest people on the planet. You’ll be happy you chose a golf trip to Wales!
Aberdovey Golf Club is set perfectly within the Snowdonia National Park at the mouth of the Dovey Estuary. The course is between the Cambrian Mountain range and the crashing shore. True legends say that the founder of this magnificent course was Colonel Ruck. A whole lot has changed since then and this course has been worked on by many famous architects such as: Herbert Fowler, Harry Colt and James Braid. Despite how old Aberdovey is, the length is surprisingly pretty long, it plays 6,700 from the new “Darwin” back tees.
It’s no championship course but it has hosted many amateur championship matches over the years. This course was home to Ian Woosnam and is where he honed his skills. It is not the hardest course in the isles but when the wind is howling only the skilled will score low. 25 MPH wind is a mild day at Aberdovey and makes for a fun and unforgettable round. Aberdovey is ranked #1 in Northern Wales and 3rd in all of Wales so it’s a must play course when visiting the southern part of the British Isles.
Ashburnham Golf Club
Ashburnham is one of the finest links in Wales and was founded in 1894. It is located close to the Burry Estuary and has fine views over the Carmarthen Bay. Ashburnham originally started as a 9-hole course and was extended to 18 in 1902 when people realized that 9 holes did not allow enough time to finish the 5th of whisky.
Ashburnham measures from 6,630 from the back tees and is a classic out and back links course with the exception of a few holes. Alterations were done by 3 architects over the years including J.H. Taylor in 1914, Fred G Hawtree in 1923, and Ken Cotten who was a member at Ashburnham.
Ashburnham starts with a downhill par 3 with trouble and OB back right. Unfortunately for the right handed slicers there are a handful of holes where right is terrible trouble. Holes 1 and 2 then 17 and 18 have an almost inland parkland feel to them then the rest of the holes are true links holes. Holes number 3 runs parallel to the coast providing amazing views.
Ashburnham comes in at number 6 in Wales. Make sure to have a drink in the clubhouse after your round and let the locals tell you a few stories. But a word of advice, do not try to out drink them.
Conwy Golf Club
Golf started in Conwy around 1869. The 6,901 yards creates a difficult challenge especially when the Caernarvonshire coastline winds pick up. The original designer is Jack Morris, nephew of Old Tom Morris.
Two World Wars have had a huge effect on the course over the years with parts of the peninsula being destroyed. The course was almost lost after the First World War. Stabilization was only achieved against sand-blow by the planting of huge areas of marram grass on what is now the 7th, 8th, and 9th holes.
The course has hosted a number of Championships including the Martini in 1970, The Ladies British Open Amatuer Championship in 1981, and the 41st Curtis Cup in 2021. It was also the first Welsh golf club to host the Open Championship Local Qualifying ahead of the 2006 Open at Royal Liverpool.
Conwy Golf Club is ranked #5 in all of Wales. With 3 par fours over 450 this course is sure to give you a true links test. Avoid the bunkers and pray that the wind is fair that day and maybe you can conquer Conwy yourself.
Nefyn & District Golf Club
A golfing experience like no other is what you’re going to get here at Nefyn & District. This 27-hole breath of fresh air is perfectly situated on the spectacular northern coastline of the LIyn Peninsula. This 27-hole layout includes an 18-hole championship course, which not only offers breathtaking views and scenery, but also offers a consistent set of challenges which requires a golfer's full attention. In addition to the championship course you can choose to play the 9-hole “point” part of the course that stretches out into the Irish Sea. This is literally golf on the edge of the world.
Nefyn and District Golf Club was founded in 1907 as a 9-hole course and was later extended to 18-holes in 1912. In 1933 another 9 was added by J.H. Taylor. This course now consists of 3 nines known as the “front”, “old” and the “new”. Most will play the Old Course which is the front and the old combination. The Old Course is the ‘points’ spectacular cliff edge holes that are at times quirky but jaw dropping and need to be experienced.
This is one of the only courses where you can see the sea at all times, you can also see the Wicklow Mountains across the Irish Sea on a clear day. You can not forget the back nine which stretches out along the point peninsula, providing amazing views across the cliffs and the bay. This course is top 5 in north Wales and once you see pictures you have no choice but to visit.
Pennard Golf Club
Pennard Golf Club is one of the oldest golf courses in Wales. It is located only a few miles southwest of Swansea, set on the gower Peninsula. It’s cliff-top site gives amazing views looking down on the sandy beaches of Three Cliff and Oxwich Bay. This course is often called “the links in the sky” because the links course is 200 feet above sea level. This course is played across links-like ground, full of dunes, humps, hollows and will rarely give you a flat lie. Golf has been played here since 1896, although the Pennard Golf Club was not founded until 1908.
Pennard has hosted a number of important amateur events. This is where the inspirational Curtis Cup player Vicky Thomas honed her game. The Ruins of a 12th century Norman Castle stand guard over the course. This course is by no means a championship test but it has 18 magnificent holes that if played on a windy day can challenge the best of golfers. Pennard is a delight and cannot be left out when visiting Britain on your golf trip. Pennard is ranked 2nd in Wales on the top100golfcourses website and 71st in all of the British Isles.
Pyle and Kenfig Golf Club
Pyle and Kenfig Golf Club is located in Bridgend, Wales. She is neighbors to the famous Royal Porthcawl. You may think Pyle and Kenfig would be overlooked here next to Porthcawl, however, many comparisons have been made, and these two are not as far apart as you would imagine.
Pyle and Kenfig is also commonly known as P&K, and is one of Wale’s few true links courses. She sits next to the Welsh Mountains giving amazing views of the mountains, the Rest Bay and the Bristol Channel as well. P&K was originally designed by Harry Colt and then Philip Mackenzie Ross shortly after World War 2. 9 holes were taken during WW2 and used for the military. After the war, Philip Mackenzie was tasked with adding 9 holes back to the course and he found some wild linksland closer to the sea for this adventure. Colt’s front 9 was a solid 9 but Philips back nine through the dunes is what made P&K what it is today.
P&K, for a links course, is unusually 2 loops of nine. Philips back 9 is a tough test and requires heavy accuracy off the tee box. If you can keep it in play with the driver then you will have a chance.
The club has hosted many championships ranging from the Amateur Championship in 2002 to the Girls Home Internationals in 2003. This course comes in at #10 in Wales.
Royal Porthcawl Golf Club
Royal Porthcawl Golf Club is located off the beaten track, east of Swansea and west of Cardiff. The club was founded in 1891, and Charles Gibson, Royal North Devon’s professional, laid out a 9-hole course on Lock’s common. In 1895, a piece of land adjacent to the course became available and an 18-hole layout was created by Ramsey Hunter. Porthcawl was granted its royal title in 1909 by Kind Edward VII.
The first four holes and the last six holes represent classic links golf, but the holes in the middle rise up onto higher ground, offering fantastic views across the Bristol Channel. The tips at Royal Porthcawl measures at 7,065 yards, but positioning is just as important as distance on this course. Gary Wolstenholme would tell you all about when he played Tiger Woods in the 1995 Walker Cup here at Porthcawl and despite being out-driven by Tiger every hole he had better positioning off the tee and secured a famous victory against him on the last hole. This course has hosted multiple events including the Walker Cup, the Ametuer Chamiopnship, the Curtis Cup, the Senior Open Championship and the British Ladies Open Championship. This Course comes in at #1 in Wales and is a delight to play.
Royal St. David's GC
The glorious setting for the Royal St. David’s links at Harlech is nothing short of beautiful. The forbidding medieval Harlech castle provides a majestic backdrop while the towering sand dunes guard the front of the links. Fronting the dunes, is the sweeping bay of Tremadog and to the north are views across to the peak of Snowdon.
Golf began at Harlech in 1894 through the efforts of two gentlemen golfers, the Honourable Harold Finch-Hatton and William Henry More. After one catching the other playing a game throwing a boomerang on the land below Harlech Castle, the other told him the story of golf and from there they laid out an 18-hole course that is known as the St. David’s Golf Club. Fourteen years later in 1908, the club was confirmed it’s Royal standing by the Prince of Wales.
Royal St. Davids is ranked at #4 in Wales and that is very high praise. The course plays at a par of 69 at 6,500-yards from the back tees but even from the member’s tees, the locals say it’s the toughest par-69 course in the world and we couldn’t agree more.
The first great hole is the par-4 fourth hole that plays from 467-yards as a dogleg right. With the wind, this is the first of several long par-4s that feel like par-5s. The back-9 is what makes this course so good - every hole is a good one! We love the 10th as a long par-4 that plays at 458-yards into the predominant wind. This hole is a brute!
Twelve is a gorgeous par four that plays from an elevated tee with a fantastic view of the castle and it plays to a fairway that is moving to the right. Thirteen is another big par-4 that plays 456-yards into the wind. Fourteen is a wonderful long par-3 that plays at 221-yards and again, into the wind which takes iron out of most amateurs hands. Fifteen is another brutal par-4 into the wind and at 439-yards requires two big pokes. Sixteen is a short par-3 from an elevated tee and is the only spot on the course where the sea is in view. Seventeen is a big par-4 from the back tees at 431-yards to a dogleg right fairway with out of bounds right. Eighteen is a 201-yard par-3 that is well bunkered and a real test.
We love the mix of long and short par-4s here and the bunkers have been restored to how bunkers looked in the early 1900’s. It’s a brilliant course with a very friendly staff and membership.
Southerndown Golf Club
Southerndown is an elevated course sitting 70 metres above sea level. Its views are unmatched and the fresh air up top makes for a well worth trip to Southerndown.
Southerndown is wedged between the magical city of Newcastle and the neighboring courses Royal Porthcawl and Pyle & Kenfig. She sits high above the Ogmore River Valley and provides views across the Bristol Channel.
Willie Fernie originally laid down the course in 1905, but the hands of many great architects have touched Southerndown over the years including: Herbert Fowler, Willie Park Junior, and more recently Donald Steel. Over time sand has blown up from the shores giving Sotherndown a links style turf. One thing is for sure; the course is completely natural, with no trees or man made water hazards. Just bracken, gorse, and bunkers ready to trap you at every tee box. And don’t forget the main hazards… the wind and sheep. This course comes in at #3 for southern Wales and is a fantastic option when visiting.
Tenby Golf Club
Tenby holds the throne as the oldest golf course in Wales. It was first brought about as a 9-hole course in 1888, it was later in 1907 when James Braid lengthened it to 18 holes. This course is set on the beautiful Pembrokeshire coast and placed across from one of the most fascinating islands called Caldey Island. Caldey Island and its famous monastery have experienced more than 1000 years of Cistercian prayer. After a quick ferry from Tenby over to the island you can experience its glory and be welcomed by the various orders of monks.
Tenby is one of those hidden gems in the British Isles but also one of the finest and most natural links courses you can find yourself playing on. There is nothing modern about Tenby. Many shots are blind and the course is scattered by cruel pot bunkers and rugged dunes. To add to this amazing pleasure of a course is its very friendly and accommodating membership. Moreover, this picturesque town sits perched above a lovely harbor with multi-colored boats bobbing in its waters. Bars, shops, and restaurants are all scattered wonderfully on a peninsula waiting on your arrival. As the #1 course in west Wales, it should definitely be on your list when golfing in this part of the UK.