I first played the course when it opened in May 2005 (yes that’s correct at the time of writing this it’s barely 20 months old) I have played it a couple of times since and most recently through this winter almost on a weekly basis as the GF is only £15! The course has changed significantly since my first attempt at playing there. Then the fairways were very tight and a links style, i.e. fast running fairways which shortened the length of the course, nowadays they seem to have made the fairways a touch longer so the ball sits very invitingly but with less run, the definition also looks so much more appealing to the eye. The style of the course is difficult to explain, it’s most definitely not a links course, however it is located near to the costal path, which encompasses the perimeter of the course and acts as a barrier from the beach and beyond. A sight to treasure is playing the short par 3 - 17th with the water crashing on the rocks a few paces from you. Its location leaves it exposed to the elements and there is a prevailing wind, which can make several holes very challenging and rewarding - the 11th - a par 3 with copious amounts of water is only reachable from the tips with the “timber section” of the bag, whereas with no wind it’s reachable with a mid iron! Despite its length from the back I found it to be an easy walking course, you come across the back tee of the next hole from the green you have just left without having to walk out of your way ( 4th to 5th being the exception) It’s been very cleverly thought out in design (as you would expect taking into account it was the Nicklaus family that designed it!) Each hole seems to be individual in that you appear to be on your own on the course; there is no crossing, no waiting for others to tee off or putt etc. I can’t recall ever hearing that dreaded four letter F word – FORE. The greens are receptive a perfectly true putting surface and cut at a very good pace, with some very subtle breaks which are not apparent on your first visit. I have made more birdies per round on this course than at any other course I have played, but allied to that is that each hole unless carefully thought out is also a potential double! Having read some of the reviews, I wonder if I had played the same course as some of the reviewers, in the last two years its held a Ladies European Tour Event and will in 2007, also in 2007 its to hold the Welsh Amateur Championship and the Boy’s International - Those events being put on by the LET, WGU and the R&A. and its accessible for £15 – damn good value for money at more than 5 times that price! To put it into perspective with the other courses it competes with locally, I have also played Royal Porthcawl
– this is a fabulous venue and its old world charm is I suspect how golf used to be played, but at £90 for a round or £150 for the day its out of my league – but its one of the courses that you have to play just once to tick it off the “to do list.” P&K
is a near neighbour of RP and would encourage a visit there over Porthcawl any day of the week (but only if you have played RP once!!!) Pennard
is a true links course and with that comes the horror bounces from perfect shots, it’s best to play the course in winter as its bone dry whatever the weather, in the summer it becomes parched and very unpredictable, it offers stunning views from many of the holes. Ashburnham
has no doubt been a quality course in its time but is now looking a bit tired and in need of some TLC. Due to its accessibility, value, condition, playability and enjoyment factor I would have no hesitation in recommending Machynys ahead of the aforementioned to all golfers irrespective of ability and experience.
December 30, 2006