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.
Golf began in this area in 1869, the original designer being Jack Morris, nephew of Old Tom Morris. Two World Wars had a profound effect on the Morfa Peninsula and the course was almost lost after the First World War. Stabilisation was only achieved against sand-blow by the planting of huge areas of marram grass on what are now the 7th, 8th and 9th.
By common assent, its chequered history does not detract from the quality of this challenging links, whose current layout is the result of mid-1970s front nine alterations by Frank Pennink, and early 1980s back nine alterations to five holes by Brian Huggett and Neil Coles to allow for the building of the A55 tunnel, aimed at easing traffic problems on the road between Chester and Anglesey..
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 1981 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.
A few facts about Conwy Golf Club
Conwy won the Welsh Golf Club of the Year award for 2007.
Conwy staged the Ryder Cup Wales Seniors Open in June 2007. England’s Carl Mason captured his 15th European Seniors Tour title in four years.
Conwy was the first Welsh Golf Club to host Open Championship Local Final Qualifying ahead of the 2006 Open at Royal Liverpool. Only three qualifiers managed under par scores: Jon Bevan, Mikko Ilonen and Warren Bladon.
The 41st Curtis Cup will be hosted at Conwy Golf Club in June 2020.
It has the feel of a holiday golf course but beware – with a SSS of 74 versus a par of 72 from the 6647 yard medal tees, Conwy is a real test of golf so visiting golfers had better not get too distracted by the beautiful surroundings here or high numbers will soon mount up on the scorecard!
There are no big dunes to weave in and out of at Conwy as it’s an honest links laid out on relatively level lying land with just the odd subtle change in elevation.
I wasn’t over enamoured with the crossing fairways at holes 4 and 10, where tee boxes share the same gun platform position on top of a low dune ridge and I also felt the last few holes (furthest from the seaside) were a little too parkland in nature but these minor points aside, I loved the course.
Interesting features like the two tiered greens at the 8th and the 13th really got the pulse racing and the tight fairway on the 16th called for full concentration to keep the ball in play close to the end of the round.
Conwy is probably a couple of places better than its current ranking position for Wales so it could be argued it’s not that far short of a Top100 place in the GB&I listings.