Pennard - South Wales - Wales

Pennard Golf Club,
2 Southgate Road,
Southgate,
Swansea,
SA3 2BT,
Wales


  • +44 (0) 1792 233131

  • Huw Morgan

  • James Braid, Ken Cotton

  • Sean Pearson


Visit Golfbreaks.com for a golf holiday at Pennard

Although Pennard Golf Club is located only a few miles southwest of Swansea, it’s set on the rugged Gower Peninsula, amongst one of the most dramatic landscapes in Britain. Its cliff-top site provides an ideal vantage point – from the heights, the views across to the beautiful sandy beaches of Three Cliff and Oxwich Bays are simply arresting.

Pennard is one of the oldest golf courses in Wales. Reputedly, golf has been played here since 1896, although the Pennard Golf Club was not founded until 1908. It’s often called “the links in the sky”, because the holes play across links-like ground, full of dunes, humps and hollows but the land is 200 feet above sea level.

The great James Braid originally designed Pennard, and, some years later, he returned with Ken Cotton to implement certain revisions. For many years, the unusual Pennard course was relatively anonymous until the great American architect, Tom Doak, declared in The Confidential Guide To Golf Courses, that Pennard is “One of my all-time favourites, but I hesitate to recommed it for gereral consumption; it's awfully quirky. The site, on a promontory of undulating ground between the sea and the 'Pill' (a deep stream valley), is one of the most spectacular I’ve ever seen.” Since Doak’s comments, the course has enjoyed a renaissance.

The ruins of a 12th century Norman Castle stand guard over the course, which measures a modest 6,329 yards from the back tees. It’s by no means a championship test, but there are 18 wonderful holes and Pennard has hosted a number of important amateur events. This is where the inspirational Curtis Cup player, Vicky Thomas, honed her game.

When the strong winds funnel up the Bristol Channel, Pennard will pose a stern challenge to the very best golfers. Don’t let your concentration be affected by the cattle, which graze on the links. Additionally, expect a few blind shots and don’t expect too many flat lies – Pennard is seriously hilly, with more ups and downs than most links courses.

One of the most engaging aspects of Pennard is that there are no average holes. Each and every one has character and there are at least nine great holes. The four par 4s from the 6th to the turn are simply tremendous. The short par four 7th, aptly called "Castle", will remain etched in the mind for a long time – from the elevated tee, the drive must bravely cross a deep chasm to find a distant undulating fairway. The ruins of PennardClick to find out why Steve is horizontal at Pennard Castle watch in silence. A semi-blind approach shot is to a sunken green, which is protected by dunes – fantastic stuff!

High up in the dunes once again, the tee shot from the 493-yard 16th, called "Great Tor", is also nerve-jangling. A solid drive to the rippled fairway below will leave a short, but blind, second shot across a ridge. The approach shot must find the green, perched on the cliff-top, which slopes wickedly from back to front. Don’t leave a downhill putt, or you may find yourself pitching back on to the green.

Pennard is a delightful old-fashioned affair and without doubt, this is one of the very best links courses in Britain & Ireland. No trip to South Wales would be complete without tasting the sheer delight of Pennard.

Tom Doak was appointed as Pennard’s consulting architect at the end of 2015 and his Scottish-based associate Clyde Johnson is working with Ecobunker on the installation of artificial revetted bunkers on the course. Doak will advise on the placement and shaping of the sand traps during the rebuilding programme.

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Reviews for Pennard

Av. Reviewers Score:
Description: Pennard Golf Club is a delightful old-fashioned affair and without doubt, this is one of the very best links courses in the British Isles. Rating: 5.1176470588235 out of 6

We played on a glorious sunny if breezy day. Pennard is a very tough and dramatic course, featuring some long carries. it requires you to bring your A game . The course offers lovely views, and is a real links, that is some long rough, blind shots, and you will want to have played before to know where to hit it. Boasts some great holes, the 10th an awesome dog leg par 5, and great variety with quirky short par 4s.

July 06, 2017


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Mmm a very difficult review to write ! Played on a sunny breezy day. Absolutely loved the course and the experience, just great fun and to a certain extent eccentric. From a purists perspective, it is a good course – there are too many slight negatives to be a great course, such as 1/. No really “great” holes. There were some that were “great” off the tee, but lacked in some way thereafter eg 7th. Others had world class approaches but off blind tee shots eg 9, 14 and 17. 2/. 7 dogleg right to left holes against 1 slight left to right moving hole. 3/. The par 5 10th is not a good hole. With the severe slope from the tee and the fairway running out of room at 260, it is a 5 iron off the tee, and everyone is left with the same length shot for their second shot. In summary though, there is far more to love and enjoy (the views (6th fairway, 7th green and approach to 16 (wow), the quirkiness, variety of par 3s, the friendly welcome, proper links turf

May 29, 2017


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Pennard is one of those fantastic links golf courses that has a little bit of everything.

Its remote and rugged location on the Gower Peninsula mixes strategy and quirkiness to good effect and boasts a handful of truly excellent holes. The high cliff-top setting also provides some of the best views you're likely to see from a golf course.

The par three holes at Pennard are particularly strong with the fifth and 11th both contenders for the best hole on the course. The former is played downhill to a delightful green, bunkered on both sides, with multiple pin locations that change the dynamic of the hole whilst the latter is played over a wide, barren expanse to an angled green with a solitary bunker cut into the hill just short of the green. The slope of the land and placement of the green allows a ball to be fed in from the left for those not brave enough to fire straight at the heart of the green. Holes two and 15 are also sound short holes, the 15th has a wonderfully long green with three subtle levels.

The first and third are both solid enough two-shotters but it is the four holes that complete the front nine which catch the eye the most. Each has varying degrees of right-to-left shape to them and being on the correct side of the fairways is important to obtain the best line into the flag. The fairways at Pennard generally, but on these holes in particular, are littered with swales and hollows creating a feeling of magical golf. The 14th hole on the back-nine is another that matches this quartet for quality and strategy.

Pennard, however, isn't without fault and some of the holes border on unplayable at times when the fairways are baked dry and hard thanks to the undulating fairways.

The 12th is an unusually short par four with a large gathering bunker just short of the green and this is probably the weakest hole on the course.

Dubbed the 'links in the sky' because of its elevated position Pennard is a true links course worthy of a visit and one you are sure to have great fun playing. Just don't expect to find your ball exactly where you think it should be because of the fabulous rising and falling fairways!

Ed is the founder of Golf Empire – click the link to read his full review.

May 19, 2017


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I played Pennard in the clubs Open on 10th September with a friend on what was a sunny Saturday. We had driven all the way done form London & arrived about 15mins before our tee time ( cutting it a bit close!) The friendly welcome from all the members in the club house & the starter on Pennard Golf Course - Photo by reviewerthe first tee was 1 class. Lovely people & a great start to any round. As for the course. Well Pennard literally gets better every hole. Some of the views, partially on the back 9 are stunning.

The links fairways are in fine condition as our the greens. Amazing views abound of the coast & the castle. I’ve seldom played a course with such a great variety of holes. Each one had great personality. I am a member at Blackmoor golf club in Hampshire & will be recommending Pennard to anyone heading down to Wales in the future.

The greeting after the round was equally good. The members here should be very proud of the quality of their course but equally as proud of a club which obviously has a great feeling of community.

September 12, 2016


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Our group has traveled all over The British Isles but hadn't made our way to Wales. We took in what we tried to depict as the best of Wales Links in a week. Pennard was what I'd call our salute to Tom Doak as he recently penned an article in Links Mag for his "Unloved" of which Pennard was featured. Pennard starts out strong and really just keeps getting stronger. Many write about the back nine at Tralee as maybe the best 9....Well Pennard other than the first Par 5 is equal to the back 9 of Tralee for the entire course. You might be taken aback by the roaming cows and the fenced greens but that's just more charm. This course presents spectacular holes on vista laiden land and also much dune circumvention of a grand scale. The real deal though is that you can play 3 rounds here for the cost of one at most of SW Ireland. Wales with Pennard as one of your absolute musts is an itinerary which must be planned.
October 08, 2015


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The first thing I noticed about Pennard were the cows! They were on the practice ground and all over the 1st fairway. I don’t think I’ve played in a cow pasture before and this gives you the impression that the course won’t be up to much. How wrong you would be!Despite having good views of many fairways and greens from the clubhouse, playing for the first time you don’t know where the routing will take you and so you look forward to the journey ahead. Pennard’s charm lies in the way the stunning scenery and great golf holes are slowly revealed and often in ways you didn’t expect.The first 5 holes, whilst being enjoyable tests in their own right, are played over undulating ground with no sign of the gems to come. Finally whilst walking from your tee shot on the par 4 6th, a deep hidden valley comes into view. This is a popular tourist spot but, unlike other stunning cliff top courses like Nefyn, there are no safety issues here as the course is several hundred metres away from the holidaymakers and also quite a distance higher too! (the club’s strapline is ‘The links in the sky’).The next two par 4 holes play on links-like fairways around the ruins of an old church and castle. The 7th has an ‘infinity-like’ green where an over hit shot seems to disappear off the edge of the world (in fact it’s just a drop into deep bracken but the illusion is effective). The routing returns close to the clubhouse after 9 and the back 9 loop also returns to similar views of the hidden valley and then, just when you thought it could get any better, an even more stunning view unfolds of the seas and the Gower sands for the par 5’s on 16 and 17.Despite the numerous cows on the course, they didn’t detract from the experience and whilst the conditioning of the course was a little rough at the edges, the greens were true and well-presented.All in all a very enjoyable and good value course which I thoroughly recommend. RdD
July 14, 2015


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Our group played Pennard twice in july 2014. I didn’t have a clue what to expect as i couldn’t really put my finger on what ‘the links in the sky’ was supposed to mean. Now I do know and I relish the experiences we’ve had. The staff were warm and welcoming and playing the first couple of holes, it immediately comes clear what a nice little quirky linkscourse Pennard is. There’s cattle and sheep all over the place but it only adds to the experience. I dare you to knock your approach stiff when there’s a gigantic bull lurking over your shoulder! The fairways were rough and patchy but somehow it really matches the raw, pure linksgolf that Pennard is all about. On top of that, I heard they’ve recently put in much work to improve the conditions. The greens on the other hand were top-notch. The back nine is just spectacular. To review every hole would be too long a story, but thinking back every single hole was a standout hole. The 10th is a fantastic risk reward par 5, the 14th is a magnificent par 4, especially from the raised back tee which gives you the most beautiful panorama over the bay, and the back to back par 5’s 16 and 17 are fantastic holes that really make Pennard stick with you. Pennard is a short course for modern standards, but you will need every club in your bag and a lot of long irons and 3woods will be required from the tee. You’ll need to imagine every shot before hitting it, and preferably be able to work the ball high, low, left and right.When we finished and had tied for all square after a finishing silly 3 putt- bogey by yours truely, we asked the caddiemaster if we perhaps could go on for a sudden death play off, partly because we both had such a great time playing the course. The caddiemaster insisted we played another 9 holes which ofcourse we accepted gladly, before we had to hurry to arrive in a local pub right on time for Hollands’ quarter final of the World Cup Football. Combine all of the above with a steal of a greenfee: I could play this course every week for the rest of my life and never grow tired of it. Yes it’s quirky, and some landing area’s make you frown at first, but real good shots never ended up badly. Is it worth 6 balls? No, but Pennard puts an ear- to- ear smile on your face and that’s worth a lot. Maarten (MO)
February 03, 2015


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Response
huw morgan
February 10, 2015
Hi Maarten, Thank you for your kind comments, we are really pleased you enjoyed your golf at Pennard. We are currently preparing the course for the coming season and would be delighted to see you again this year. Regards Huw Morgan Club Manager.
I’ve had the good fortune to play some fabulous links golf courses including, Royal County Down, Royal Portrush, Royal Birkdale and Royal Porthcawl. Now I’m not saying that Pennard is in the same league as these which are world class links courses. But it is seriously good. I played Pennard on 14th November 2014, 13 C and sunny with a gentle 1 to 2 club wind. Its a real gem old fasioned links course, rippling fairways with some staggeringly jaw dropping views. As I walked along the first, I glanced back and feast my eyes on the gorgeous holes I’d yet to experience. There isn’t a bad hole in there, all are interesting. It is a very undulating quirky course and like most old links the main defence is the wind. Some delightful deeply tiered bunkering which must be admired even when you’re in one. It’s a class links which isn’t that long but some of the best holes I’ve played aren’t. There are just too many quality holes to list them all. The greens were in excellent condition for the time of year. The fairways as previously mentioned in other reviews are a bit scruffy, there appears to be some turf problems. But this honestly doesn’t distract from a really excellent course.
November 17, 2014


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Huw Morgan
November 17, 2014
Thank you for the comments. I have just taken over as course & Club manager and we have just started a major renovation programme on the fairways and bunkers. I am sure the next time you return you will see an improvement to any areas that were an issue. Huw Morgan Club Manager
DB
November 19, 2014
an excellant review (to match the course) - spot on !
Had the pleasure of playing Pennard in March of this year. I have to say it was an enjoyable surprise. The architecture there is as superb as the landscape is dramatic. It’s a bit of a challenge to look through the turf issues they have which I truly hope they straighten out some day. The club made it sound like it was only now an issue due to the tough winter however, many of my friends have played and all have experienced the course with turf issues. In any case, tons of variety and one strong hole after another. The closing stretch is a pretty severe test of golf and for me a hole like 17 is questionable, not sure how playable it is for the average players or even their average members but view from the tee is simply breathtaking. My favorite holes were: the par 4 7th hole running past the castle ruins. The par 4 8th with its highly undulated fairway and raised green. The excellent par 3 11th hole even though the green is on such an aggressive left to right slant and finally the shortish par 5 16th which boasts an amazing view of the coast line.
September 28, 2014


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Played Pennard Mon 9th June.Stunning!The best course we played in South Wales. The course layout is superb, the views are some of the best anywhere and you get looked after like royalty.This is a must visit venue
June 20, 2014


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