Ashburnham - West Wales - Wales

Ashburnham Golf Club,
Cliffe Terrace,
Burry Port,
Carmarthenshire,
SA16 0HN,
Wales


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Ashburnham is one of the finest and oldest golf courses in Wales, founded in 1894. It’s located close to the Burry Estuary and Worm’s Head with fine views over Carmarthen Bay. A number of important events have been hosted at Ashburnham, including the PGA Championship. Bernard Gallacher picked up his first pay cheque here, when he won the 1969 Schweppes PGA Championship. Sam Torrance and Dai Rees were also victorious at Ashburnham.

“I played my last PGA Championship as a tournament regular at Ashburnham in 1969, and the club also hosted the event in 1959 – really hosted it, for this was the last occasion a club had to put up all the prize money.” Wrote Peter Alliss in his book – The Good Golf Guide featuring the 200 Best Courses in the British Isles. “It cost them £2,000. Although the course was a good deal shorter in those days, only five players in the field managed to break 70. The late Dai Rees was one of them, and his 70 and 69 on the last day saw him home by six strokes for his first win in Wales.”

Ashburnham originally started out in life as a nine-hole course and was extended in 1902 to 18 holes. Today’s course, which measures 6,630 yards from the back tees, is the result of alterations by J.H.Taylor in 1914, Fred G. Hawtree in 1923 and then Ken Cotton (himself a member at Ashburnham). These three great architects have created a classic out-and-back links course, rolling gently through the dunes.

Unusually, Ashburnham begins with a downhill par three, where out-of-bounds lurk menacingly at the right of the green. In fact, the course is a nightmare for the right-handed slice, as there is invariably trouble beckoning to the right on many holes. The first two holes and the closing two holes are somewhat out ofThere are stunning views at Ashburnham character with the rest, having an inland, almost park-like feel. But the holes in between are the real thing – undiluted and undulating linksland. By the time we reach the 3rd hole, we’re running parallel to the sea and often into the teeth of the prevailing wind. At the turn, we head back, wind assisted but a little further inland.

According to local Ashburnham folklore, an extraordinary tee shot was struck on the 18th. During the Home Internationals, an amateur event, England’s John Davis struck his drive from the 18th tee directly onto the clubhouse roof. The ball ricocheted off and landed to the left of the green, pin high! Admittedly, the wind was from behind, but the ball must have travelled at least 400 yards.

After a game at Ashburnham, make sure to have a drink in the welcoming clubhouse. The members are friendly and often willing to tell a yarn or two. Above all, ensure that you don’t miss playing this historic links, it’s an absolute delight and it’s guaranteed to put a smile on your face, making you want to come back for more.

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Reviews for Ashburnham

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Description: Bernhard Gallacher picked up his first pay cheque at Ashburnham Golf Club when he won the 1969 Schweppes PGA Championship. Rating: 7.2 out of 10 Reviews: 25
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Rhys Havill
I played this course at the same time as playing Machynys with my playing partners. I do have to say that the course is reasonably wel presented, but beginning to look tired in places. They have 8 or 9 truly great holes, however it feels like some of the holes are there purely to lead you to the next great hole, which is a shame. The facilities could do with some serious updating, with changing facilities and catering tired, combined with decor, however, we were greated very well both in the pro shop bar. Unfortunately this was once a great club, that like many members owned and run golf courses apears to be severly lacking in investment. i intend to return when I come to Wales again, but if there has not been the necessary investment this plan may have to change.
October 22, 2012
4 / 10
Ashburnham
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Gary Wilde
I thoroughly enjoyed my game here last week. None of the holes appeared out of character with others which may be testament to the rains of 2012. The course is a collection of lots of good holes and my personal favourites were the 9th with bunkering all the way down the left of the hole and the 14th which is a par 5 with two sections of slightly offset fairway which has a run out at 290 yards from the white tees and a perfectly placed bunker on the right hand side of the fairway 50 yards short of the green.The only weak hole is a disappointing finish on 18 with an approach to a green well above the level of the fairway which makes the approach more difficult than the yardage suggests. As is the case with many courses, a little TLC to raise the condition of the course would be welcome but with many clubs/courses struggling financially this is unsurprising.I have never seen a fleet of members buggies (there must be 50+) such as that at Ashburnham on what is a largely flat course. Having climbed to the 16th tee and 18th green I understand why the fleet exists.
August 07, 2012
8 / 10
Ashburnham
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Kevan Voce
We played this as part of our annual tour together with Pennard and Pyle & Kenfig. We were keen to play it as it was Harry Vardon’s favourite course in Wales. It is a great course particularly holes 3 to 14th which are traditional links, very flat but very hard and fast. One reviewer compared it to Formby which I agree with. The greens were superb, lightening quick. A quite different experience from Pennard not as tough and a more suitable challenge for the mid to high-handicapper. The rough was very penal, it was not long grass but a mixture of stuff that was nigh on impossible to get out. The downside is the shortage of sea views but the view of the clubhouse from the 15th tee was fantastic, a lovely old building. I’m surprised Harry rated it his favourite in Wales – I would have thought he’d have been a St David's or even a Tenby man. It would have been great to have seen him negotiate the 18th here with it’s crow’s nest green without the use of the deep-grooved clubs and ProV1s.
June 27, 2011
8 / 10
Ashburnham
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Bobo
Ashburnham is a very impressive links course with some of the best putting surfaces I have played on. The first two and last two holes let the course down a little bit but I think that could be down to the other 14 being so great. From the third, you are in for a real treat. Although the course takes you way out in a pretty straight line and the back 9 brings you straight back, no two holes play or look the same. Meandering your way through the dunes, the 8th to the 12th really are a great stretch of holes. Having played Royal St.David's last year, I find Ashburnham very similar in appearance and the fact that you can't see the sea from many holes and it is of similar quality. I can't understand how Ashburnham is only ranked as the 13th best in Wales. It is right up there in my opinion with Royal St Davids and Pennard and far more interesting than Southerndown and Pyle and Kenfig. Played as part of the South Wales Links "tour" play this along with Pennard, Royal Porthcawl and Machynys, you are in for a real treat!!
March 10, 2011
8 / 10
Ashburnham
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michael evans
What a golf course! How is this course not rated in the top 100 courses. On the day we played i think the greens were possibly the best I have played. They are almost pure seaside fescue grass which putts fantastic. The whole course is in great condition and very good value for money. We played it after playing the nicklaus course at Machynys. No comparison, knocks spots off the nicklaus course which isnt a bit links, altough they try to tell you it is. Ashburnham = top class
September 16, 2009
10 / 10
Ashburnham
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Andrew
May 14, 2010
How long have you been a member at Ashburnham for? It seems you don't like the superior golf course a few miles east of you. Green eyed monster syndrome it seems!
Alex Sherratt
My favourite of our 3 day trip, a true old fashioned links, if you drop your guard it will beat you up quite easily. The clubhouse sits up high and gives you a flavour of what’s ahead, the course after the 2nd sends you out in a constant journey to the 8th green before you turn for home playing back in the wind (the 9th did seem a long way). Some of the holes have a similar look, as bunkers seemed spread right across the front of the greens that are long and narrow thus making it hard to hold the ball on when playing down the breeze. The 18th was the toughest hole as the second shot has to be very accurate to stay on the putting surface and not rolling off back down the bank and into the rough !
June 14, 2009
8 / 10
Ashburnham
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Ted
We played Ashburnham on a breezy and showery day and it proved to be a very tough test, I can see why important events have been staged here. In nature it is more of an inland links (shades of Formby in places) with sea views limited to the high 16th tee and 18th green. The course and greens are in good condition, however the rough is very penal - more than 3 yards off the first cut here you will be struggling to find and play your ball. There is a good mixture of holes here to hold your interest, the back nine playing slightly easier with the prevailing wind. Would definitely return for another attempt now we know where not to hit the ball!
September 15, 2008
6 / 10
Ashburnham
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Andrew Fearn
The best stretch (3 to 14,I would say) is an interesting and very testing out-and-back links.Several doglegs,some double.Some very craftily positioned greens.First time round there will be one or two holes you just won't know how to play. On the minus side,there are no views of the sea from most of the course,only from the high ground near the clubhouse (1st tee,16th tee and 18th green) and the holes near the clubhouse are disappointing.In fact the 17th would be a contender for Most Boring and Plain Hole on a Championship Course. Overall though Ashburnham is impressive,and the green fees are amazingly low-because we were playing on a Monday when there was no catering we got on for £25.50 for the day !! A bit of a contrast with Porthcawl at £120.
July 23, 2006
8 / 10
Ashburnham
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Kim Church
I have played this course a few times in the past and always found the rough far too tough and unforgiving. I went back because a few friends that are members at the club had told me that the new manager there has been making some alterations to the course set-up, to make it more enjoyable for mid/high handicappers like myself.What a difference - I can honestly say that I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge, without walking away with the feeling that I had just been beaten to a pulp by a course set up better for the US Open than a casual summer afternoon round of golf.I'll be back, more than just once or twice this season. The views are gret and this is the way links golf should be.
June 25, 2006
8 / 10
Ashburnham
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Jake Thomas
The impression that I had from Ashburnham is of a once great links that has fallen on hard times. It has some great links holes – but is let down by the opening and closing holes (1, 2, 17 & 18) which are out of place with the rest of the course. The fun really begins on holes 3 – 16, which are true, old fashioned links golf holes, with out and back nines. As for all links courses, the wind plays a key role to the score you’ll make.I played in April 2006 – paying £32.50 – which was reasonable value for money but I was somewhat disappointed by the general condition of the course. Although it was the first day not using mats off the fairway, it looked tired (especially the bunkers and tees) and in need of some TLC and investment – which will hopefully be put right by the new manager who they have just appointed. It certainly seemed a course which, while having some great holes, could do with minor tweaking here and there to bring it up to date with modern technology.Having said this, the greens were excellent and true, and the welcome I received from members who let me join them for a game was first class. When the wind blows this is a real test, but with some minor modifications, and a little more care taken by greenkeepers, it will stop this course sliding down the top 100 rankings. One to play - but it could easily be so much better.
April 12, 2006
6 / 10
Ashburnham
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michael jones Captain
February 15, 2007
Further development as far as the course is concerned, we as a club have recently appointed a Course Manager, commences 19/02/07.All bunkers are due to be re-turfed.