Atop a large hill in Mid Wales, above the Victorian spa town of Llandrindod Wells, lays a topsy-turvy, rough-and-tumble, bags-of-fun sort of golf course.
It was originally laid out by six-times Open Champion Harry Vardon then subsequently altered by the prolific course designer James Braid (who only managed to win The Open on five occasions) and it gives us a glimpse into how golf was played a century ago.
And what a refreshing change this is to the many hundreds, if not thousands, of golf courses that have been built in Great Britain since then which offer little more than flat, tree-lined golf on poor soil with repetitive bunkering, uninteresting greens and the hand of man and machine at every turn.
Let’s be frank Llandrindod Wells doesn’t always offer great golf but it is completely at ease with itself, natural to the hilt, improvises brilliantly and, as you can probably tell by now, is far from conventional. And this is what makes it such a great golf course to play.
Once we get to the summit of the hill – more on that later – we find ourselves on tight yet springy upland turf, rolypoly terrain with spots of gorse, clusters of fine trees and marker posts aplenty. We don’t always know where we are heading but there is always a pole to guide us. It goes without saying the views are fantastic.
The regular visitor will know of all the speed-slots and kick-slopes that they can use to their advantage in order to manoeuvre a golf ball towards its intended target over the rolling hills and banks. The first-timer may get lucky, or they may not, but are still able to marvel at it all.
The greens across the entire property are engaging with some good slopes and tilts to them with several having a false front which makes judging approach shots more difficult, especially in the inevitable wind which blows at this elevated location.
There is timelessness to Llandrindod Wells and although hidden away in the belly of Wales it is worth seeking out if natural golf is your calling.
Ed is the founder of Golf Empire – click the link to read his full review.
Date: June 13, 2019