Neighbouring Celtic Manor Resort is often trapped in the golfing spotlight but lying in its shadow, just to the south across the M4 motorway, is the lovely Llanwern parkland course, where members have been playing since way before Celtic Manor proprietor and local lad Sir Terence Matthews was born.
In fact, Llanwern Golf Club was formed the year after the first Ryder Cup match was played at Worcester Country Club in 1927, with Walter Hagen and Ted Ray as opposing captains. And, as chance would have it, Hagen was involved in an exhibition match to formally open the club’s new 18-hole layout ten years later, in 1937.
The round at Llanwern starts gently with a short par four, then three par fives between the 3rd and 8th offer decent birdie opportunities. The 9th then holes 12 to 14 are nicely routed adjacent to Dockwell Wood before the crisscrossing fairways of the 16th and 17th are encountered. The signature hole on the card is kept until last and the tee shot at the 190-yard, par three, 18th is played from an elevated tee to a putting surface protected by trees to the right and bunkers on three sides.
Llanwern is a very very good test of golf. Its a strong local level course which produces good golfers by virtue of the fact it tests you in all the right areas, you need to be a straight driver and have a good short game. Its got its quirks, and perhaps is a bit one dimensional, but there's no doubt the design is an intelligent one.and the course is always in good condition.