While circumstances beyond its control have lead to historical changes to this North Wales championship links, Conwy's 6,901 yards have proved an awesome challenge in the winds of the Caernarvonshire coastline.
By common assent, its chequered history does not detract from the quality of this challenging links whose current layout is the result of the final alterations by Frank Pennink.
Conwy Golf Club has played host to a number of major tournaments, including the Martini in 1970, when Peter Thomson and Doug Sewell tied on 268, a score attributable to the dry windless conditions which prevailed that week. The Ladies' British Open Amateur Championship was won at Conwy by Belle Robertson in 1983 and the Home Internationals were staged here in 1990.
Conwy is fairly flat but still has sufficient variety to avoid the charge of monotonous which has been laid at the door of lesser links. Its seaside character is apparent from the start, the second a par three nestling in the dunes, the 3rd curving along the shoreline, followed by holes running parallel to each other to the turn. Going out, there are four par fours measuring more than 400 yards, three of which are more than 450 yards long.
The 10th returns to the Clubhouse, one of three par fives in the next five holes, and the presence of the bay and the mountains and the Great Orme above Llandudno ensures the golfer can enjoy the surroundings whilst being tested to the full.
Douglas Adams prints of the rugged Welsh coastline adorn many clubhouse walls. That coastline is the classic links course of Conwy.
It mixes challenge with charm to produce an exhilarating links golfing experience. It stands head and shoulders above anything else on this stretch of coastline and it is very easy to see why it’s such a popular repeat venue for many golfers.
Easily accessible from major North-West cities such as Manchester and Liverpool I suspect many inland golf club members will head here for high quality golf 12 months of the year.
At Conwy, officially founded in 1890 but with play dating back to 1869, you can expect all the thrills and spills associated with links golf including uneven stances and unpredictable bounces but here there is an undeniable fairness to it all. Everything is laid out in front of you, nothing is hidden; you get what you deserve. And that is probably why this respected links has hosted so many notable championships for professionals and elite amateurs. The course is as honest as the day is long.
There doesn’t come anything close to a poor hole at Conwy. Sure, there are holes that are relatively weaker than the others but the real strength of the course lies in its strength in depth, its consistency. Holes such as the sixth and 17th are a couple of holes that didn’t set my personal pulse racing but they are far from inferior.
Overall Conwy is quite a flat course, there are very few major changes in elevation, but there are enough undulations on the fairways and around the greens to maintain a high level of interest and keep you on your toes. Conwy doesn’t have the quirk-factor that some links enthusiast seek rather the joy of this course is its persistent and consistent challenge.
Ed is the founder of Golf Empire – click the link to read his full review.
I am lucky enough to play Conwy quite frequently and after a "super Sunday" felt it was time to plug it to the masses !
Superb location, and a course that plays very differently when the wind shifts. Great views, very playable (apart from 16 & 17 which - unless you are dead straight - jump up to bite you especially when you are on a good card !) and enjoyable. Well worth a visit if you havent already played here. Too many good holes to pick out one and it depends on the wind direction as to which are best.
It's interesting to see the range of reviews for Conwy, most of which I think err too much in either direction. We played as a Society on a lovely sunny day and all enjoyed it, not just the links lovers. The turf was firm and free running, plenty of good holes and punitive bunkers (I had my only ever swish-swish red mist episode in one particularly well placed one - as Bernard Darwin's said of the pot bunkers at St Andrews; “just enough room for an angry man and his niblick”.) and some nice views. A friendly place to play golf, that as with much of Wales golf would be better known and more expensive elsewhere; recommended.