Glamorganshire Golf Club’s course was established in 1890 on land granted to the members by Lord Windsor, Earl of Plymouth. The original 9-hole track was laid out by the club’s first professional then another professional was chosen to extend this design to a full 18-hole layout in time for hosting the 1897 Welsh Championships.
According to the book James Braid and his Four Hundred Golf Courses by John F. Moreton & Iain Cumming, James Braid was engaged by the club to modify the course, resulting in “new bunkering on eight holes, new tees on four, and a different approach to the 13th. In September 1912 Vardon, Ray, Duncan and Braid played an exhibition match to play in all Braid’s improvements.”
The course measures a modest 6,184 yards from the medal tees, with back-to-back par fives at the 3rd and 4th holes and back-to-back par threes at the 13th and 14th holes. The signature hole on the card is the left doglegged, 419-yard 16th, the second in a run of testing par fours close to home. The fairway rises to a narrow, elevated green from where the totally unanticipated view of five English counties across the Bristol Channel is something to behold – and well worth the climb!
Glamorganshire lays claim to the club being where the Stableford scoring system was first practiced as far back as 1898. Doctor Frank Stableford was a member here long before he moved onto Royal Porthcawl and then Wallasey, where he perfected the system that has been use in amateur circles all around the world since the 1930s.
Initial impressions of the Glamorganshire were that it was lacking investment with tired clubhouse and parking areas, however the welcome was fine. Course had obviously suffered during the recent dry spell with huge cracks on the fairways and the mens tees were in poor condition; however greens were in good condition and ran true though, albeit five lip-outs suggested the cups had not been cut that well. On a fairly confined site and surrounded by houses the only view (of the Severn Estuary) was when you reached the top of the 16th. Design of the course was not particularly exciting (not a Braid classic) and just seemed to be a series of loops with little flow. The six par 3's were all fairly bland and in places just seemingly filling in to make up eighteen holes, especially the back to back par 3's on the back nine. Front nine was more interesting than the back, in particular the stretch from 5 to 8. The 5th is nice short dog-leg par 4 requiring strategic placing of the tee shot, the 6th at 404 yards was stroke index 1 and is a good hole requiring avoidance of the fairway bunker off the tee and the wide ditch/water hazard running across the fairway maybe fifty yards short of the green; the 8th is another short dog-leg par 4 requiring an accurate tee shot with approx 200 yards of carry over a ditch. Good to see young juniors given use of the course on a sunday afternoon. Overall I would say the Glamorganshire falls behind the other courses I have played in the area (Cardiff, Radyr, Wenvoe, Creigiau, Newport, St Mellons), not really poor but at the lower end of average courses