Builth Wells Golf Club is located close to the small market town from which it takes its name. Historically, the site that the golf course now occupies is of great historical importance as it’s said to be where the three thousand-strong army of Llewelyn ap Gruffydd, the last native Prince of Wales, was ambushed as it crossed the River Irfon to reach Builth Castle in 1286.
The club was formed in 1923, with a 9-hole course brought into play. The layout was doubled in size in 1986 when nine new holes were constructed, seven of which now lie on land to the west of the River Chwefri. These holes are somewhat different to those on the original course, bringing natural features such as the river and woodland areas into sharp focus.With no par fives and six par threes on the scorecard, Builth Wells measures a mere 5,420 yards, playing to a par of 66. The 344-yard 10th is regarded as the signature hole here and twice the river crosses its fairway, the first time immediately in front of the tee box then again in front of the green. Big hitters may decide to go for it with their driver but smart golfers will usually profit from a more conservative approach.
Measuring 5444 yards with six par threes and no par fives, Builth Wells is a well manicured but fairly modest layout by modern standards. To be honest I didn't find the early holes particularly promising with a few too many straight, tree-lined parallel fairways on offer. That said, the 4th, 6th and 240-yard par three 7th, are all particularly challenging and the dogleg 8th moving gently uphill is a well designed hole.
As we depart the 8th green the course improves dramatically as we cross the River Chwefri and enter a much more undulating and interesting piece of land.
The river meanders across the fairway twice on the excellent 10th where longer hitters should clear the danger but many will opt for a safe lay up short of the second river crossing. The par three 11th doesn't offer much of a bailout as the raised green is tucked in near to a troublesome boundary hedge on the right and a steep fall-off is very much in play on the left. The 12th is a lovely downhiller curving to the right where a well placed tee shot, just shy of the ditch, will leave a short approach to a bunker free green close to the river's edge. At 439 yards following a steep climb to the tee, the 13th is one of the strongest holes on the course, a big drive is required to give any chance of getting home in two.
A more gentle stretch begins at the 14th, a pleasant straightaway par four, which is followed by a short downhill par three before we reach the excellent 16th. It may only be a hybrid and a short iron but this is a super little hole which turns right, playing over the river to a well protected green. After putting out on the uphill par three 17th we return home via the aforementioned flat parkland.
This is great value and fun golf which I'm sure would be enjoyed by all standards. If you're in the area give it a go as holes 10 to 16 alone are worth the green fee.