Aberdovey is a true links with 9 holes out and 9 holes back and strongly influenced by the wind. On the day we played, the wind was southerly averaging over 25mph, ‘mild’conditions according the bar manager. We found these conditions anything but mild, a flattering front nine was followed by a brutal test on the way back.
I loved the history of these revered links and the warm welcome received to what must be one of the remotest golf courses in the GB & Ireland Top 100. As with nearby Royal St David’s, you have to walk across a railway line after parking your car to get to the clubhouse. This railway runs alongside the course which sits between some huge sand dunes and the Irish Sea. The only disappointment is that the sea is only visible from the 12th green, so large are the dunes.
After a strong start, highlighted by the short 3rd with a blind shot over a massive dune into a great bowl of a green, and the uphill 4th with the most inviting drive of the round, the courses flattens out and with a following wind, good scoring is possible.
But after you turn for home, things were very different into what seemed at times like a gale. You had to aim left at the 10th over gorse and uneven ground, before turning right with your second shot to a distant green not obvious from the tee. You turn back with the wind at 11 with a dogleg right, and then comes the signature hole at 12, a par thee to a raised green but with no bunkers and a lovely view.
The next three holes are a long slog into the wind and include two par 5s, before we encountered the delightful 16th, a banana shaped 280 yard par 4 with OOB and the railway line down the left. Two strong par 4s provide a tough finish.
And so how good is Aberdovey? I can understand how it divides opinions, but, in my view, it is an incredible place to play golf. It is definitely one of the top golf courses in Wales, alongside the Royals at Porthcawl and St David’s and possibly Pennard, and well worth making the effort to go and play. I believe most golfers will be filled with awe at playing here, and wish to return.
Date: November 14, 2020