Nefyn & District (Old) - North Wales - Wales

Nefyn & District Golf Club,
Morfa Nefyn,
Pwllheli,
Gwynedd,
LL53 6DA,
Wales


  • +44 (0) 1758 720966

Nefyn Beach - picture courtesy of Julle

Nefyn is dramatically located on the cliff tops at the foot of the Porthdinllaen headland, a tiny promontory that juts out from the Lleyn Peninsula into the Irish Sea. In terms of sheer topographical exhilaration, Nefyn is Wales’ equivalent of Ireland’s Old Head of Kinsale. This is literally golf on the edge of the world.

Nefyn and District Golf Club was founded in 1907, originally as a nine-hole course and in 1912, it was extended to 18 holes. One of the great triumvirate, J.H.Taylor, was commissioned in 1933 to add a further nine and to revise the existing course. F.W. Hawtree and his his partner A.H.F. Jiggens, known as “Jigg,” built three new holes in the 1980s.

Until recently, the layout at Nefyn was extremely unusual with 26 holes in play. The course comprised of 10 outward holes and two separate inward 8 holes, these two 18-hole courses were named the Old and the New. This rather strange configuration made life somewhat confusing for the first time visitor. However, Swan Golf Designs has rung the changes after a lengthy five-year advisory period whereby numerous improvements have been made, the most significant of which was the creation of new holes on the dramatic “Point”.

Today there are three distinct 9-hole loops at Nefyn, named Front (holes 1-9), Old (holes 10-18) and New (19-27). The Old course combines the Front and Old nines to create the club’s premier configuration. Most visitors will elect to play the Old course because it’s the Point’s spectacular cliff edge holes that are at times quirky but frequently jaw-dropping which simply have to experienced.

There are only a few seaside courses where you can see the sea from every hole, but you sure can at Nefyn. Not only is the sea in view, but also on a clear day, you can spot peaks of the Wicklow Mountains across the Irish Sea. The opening hole takes you away from the clubhouse to a series of cliff-top holes on the edge of the headland. There are blind drives, strategically placed bunkers, thick rough and, of course, the ever-present wind to contend with.

The Old course back nine plays along the Point peninsular, providing spectacular views across the cliffs and the bay. After the par four 15th, you’ll find a footpath down to the Ty Coch Inn, located on the beach at Porthdinllaen. A quick drink here on the pub’s famous wall, with the soothing sound of the sea and the glorious view across the bay to Mt. Snowdon, will set you up nicely for the closing three holes.

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Reviews for Nefyn & District (Old)

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Description: The Old course at Nefyn & District Golf Club is literally golf on the edge of the world and it makes the adrenaline pump... Rating: 7 out of 10 Reviews: 43
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jeff robinson
Nefyn, beautiful Nefyn! I am a 9 handicapper and I played there for the first time on June 19th 2011 and loved it. In the golfing beauty stakes my previous favourite was Bamburgh, but now that has been eclipsed, but not just for the views…. We bought a day ticket (recommended) and our adventure started off the yellow tees at 9.45 on a Sunday morning with plenty of space around us. The wind was blowing (about 3 club strength and later stronger) and our expectations were high after seeing images of the peninsular holes (now on my screensaver!). We teed off down the hill at the first not knowing what to expect. I hit a fair drive to the left as advised and as we walked down it became the first photo opportunity of many. It felt like we were about to walk off the edge of the world with the deep blue sea yonder! The next three holes then skirted the edge of the cliffs, two good par 4s, challenging into the wind, and with the choice of line all important with cliffs cutting in on the right. I also enjoyed the par 5 4th hole with its well positioned fairway bunker. After a short par 3 we then turned downwind for three holes and it felt great to be driving around 300 yards, all be it with some natural puff behind, enabling me to drive the greenside bunkers on the 315 yd 8th.

What surprised me in hindsight was how much I enjoyed the first 10 holes and what a fair test of golf they were. You really can open your shoulders, but position well or you can be severely punished! The course was in very good condition with excellent greens and fairways and deeper rough in places. You do feel exhilarated and uplifted by the views and peaceful surroundings. Housemartins regularly flew around our legs as we lined up our putts!

Now to the peninsular holes on the old course from hole 11 and yes there are some issues! The signposting is not very clear over this section and that creates a struggle for first timers. You also have to be patient with walkers, but please don’t let that spoil the fun of seven unique golf holes. Buying a day ticket allows you, as with many links courses, to know the best approach second time round.

Some thoughts on these closing holes: I think the 11th could do with a 20 yard wide swath cut up the centre of the hill. The 12th is a problem in that firstly you have to hit a very accurate blind drive of around 230 yards alongside the road and then a 140 yard diagonal shot across a walking path to the opposing green. Now there are other courses with roads and walkers, I mention St. Enodoc for one, but please do send up a forward spotter for safety’s sake!

The 13th is a magical and adrenaline pumping 400 yard hole over the yawning cliffs onto a remote green on a rocky outcrop. I came away in round two proud to carry a void of 250 yards leaving a 9 iron to the green and claiming a most satisfying par 4. The par 3 14th from up by the lighthouse is lots of fun and has fabulous views, but it is a challenge to hold the green and the 15th was tricky to reach in two into the wind. The 16th was an excellent 175 yard par 3 that needed a 3 wood over a large blow hole and the 17th tested one’s nerve and accuracy to gain a par 5. It is a shame that the 18th is a bit straightforward for a closing hole – can the committee do anything about that, perhaps adding a fairway bunker or two?

All the staff were friendly and we received a 10% discount for playing 3 local ‘Snowdonia Golf Coast’ courses. Over an enjoyable lunch it was great to see several juniors aged 6 upwards go out for a few holes under the watchful eye of lady members. In summary it is a privilege to play on such a naturally beautiful course. I think there were sea views from virtually every hole with many tees and greens only a few feet away from the cliffs and I, for one, can forgive any quirkiness on the back 8 for such an unforgettable experience! Fabulous holiday golf – don’t miss it! Jeff Robinson
June 23, 2011
10 / 10
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Jim McCann

I was quite enjoying my round at Nefyn until I reached the last eight holes on the Old course. The cliff top setting is just spectacular but, unlike Old Head, there’s not enough room to squeeze the remainder of a round onto the promontory and there’s Nefyn & District Golf Course - Photo by Jim McCannmembers of the public to contend with when playing a number of the holes.

The 12th is the daftest (and most dangerous) hole I think I’ve ever played with blind shots potentially landing on walkers who stroll the path right through the middle of the fairway.

Admittedly, the next three holes are very good but I’m sorry, great views and a chance to nip down to the pub on the cove after playing the 15th doesn’t quite make up for the uber quirk that has gone before.

I’m glad I played Nefyn but I think some “proper” holes should be laid out here and protection for the public put in place to prevent the possible loss of life or limb – I’m amazed in these days of health and safety that the club can get away with the current situation.

Visit Nefyn by all means but if you want a REAL golfing challenge in this neck of the woods, head for either Royal St David’s or Aberdovey.

Jim McCann

June 11, 2011
6 / 10
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Keith
June 12, 2011
Writing in his Confidential Guide to Golf Courses, minimalist architect Tom Doak, says that Nefyn is one of the most memorable golf courses he’s seen and reckons THE hole at Nefyn is the 12th. It just goes to show how opinions vary, but Doak only gives Nefyn a 4 out of 10 rating as a golf course, which is broadly in tune with your rating Jim.
Keith Baxter

Ah Nefyn, a course that will split opinion like no other. I played the Old course on a breezy June day, which I guess is quite normal on this remote finger of Wales. Having played Conwy and Harlech earlier in the trip, I left my putts perpetually short on Nefyn’s fluffy greens. On the whole, Nefyn’s greens were OK but they were far from fast and nowhere near the quality of the aforementioned courses in terms of design or condition. The reason for this, I think, is that this is not a links course and it’s easy to come here thinking the bump and run shot will work, but it won’t serve you well at Nefyn. If you’ve read this far, you’ll get a feeling that I don’t like the course. You are right, I don’t like it, but I absolutely adore the setting. Only Old Head can compete with Nefyn in terms of location and that is saying something. The difference between Old Head and Nefyn is that Old Head has more land and it plays more like a links. However, the 12th at Old Head is one of my favourite golf holes and I was amazed to find that Nefyn has a shorter but visually similar equivalent. Nefyn’s 13th is a great par four which was unfortunately preceded by a truly crazy 12th that needed only a windmill to properly finish it off. Thankfully the tee position on 12 was well forward but this is the most impossibly quirky hole I’ve ever played. Apart from 12 (which is certainly not dull), there are too many bland holes in my opinion, 7, 8, 9, 10, 15 (exciting tee but a uninspiring hole) and then 18 – with the tee two yards away from the near derelict green keeper’s building – is perhaps the least inspiring closing hole I have ever played. Having said all of this, there are many good holes that I haven’t mentioned and the acid test is whether or not I’d recommend Nefyn? The short answer is yes; every golfer needs to experience Nefyn once. This is a course like no other. It offers so much promise but it doesn’t quite deliver. It could be so much better. No wonder the members play the New course in competitions.

June 08, 2011
5 / 10
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Phil B
Everythings that can be said about this course has probably already been said, however I will try and add something to the mix. I played the course on 22/6/10 in glorious weather, just a gentle breeze to keep us cool. From the start we were warmly received in the clubhouse anhd the pro shop and the members were very friendly. We played the 'old' course in the morning and the 'new' course in the afternoon. The old course is superb, a must play course for any level of golfer, as you will encounter holes here that are unique. Having just watched the US Open at Pebble Beach I would suggest this is the Welsh equivalent. Quirky holes, blind tee shots, links golf, elevated tees... this course has it all and the old course layout has stunning views on virtually every hole. At the far end of the course, holes 13-16, you feel as though you are playing at the edge of the world, with tee shots over cliffs and greens tucked into the rocks. Yes there is a possible safety issue as the path cuts across holes 12 and 17 and I can see why this would concern people. But don't let this put you off, play this course as soon as you can, although avoid the summer holidays as I would imagine this path would get very busy The 'new' course appeas a little tame in comparison as it moves away from the coastline after the first 8 holes but it is a good course in its own right and is worth playing. It has a good mix of holes and a great SI 1 hole where you drive straight over an inlet to the fairway. For me though this mix of holes is a little too 'up and down' for my liking. Both courses were in good condition, good bunkers and firm greens. As I have said the old course is a must play course. It may not suit some of the purists but what a collection of holes throughout the eighteen. Absolutely wonderful.
July 06, 2010
8 / 10
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Tom Sleater
Well its easy to get carried away I think with nefyn and therefore not objectively rating this course. To my mind having done a long weekend tour - nefyn was the most over hyped course. There is no doubt that the scenary is spectacular - but if you want nice countryside then you can always leave your golf bag at home and go for a walk. The golf course was a massive let down - beyond that to me. That said the 13 would be in my all time top 18 holes. In reality the greens were absolutely awful - in fact the fairways were better (they were good) and the course was pretty average at times. I would defo play the old course if you plan on taking the trip as without the penisula strip there is very limited offering. The new course did look very average. I must mention the club pro though who was very nice indeed and gave us a full view of the surrounding golf courses and also recommendations for the evening entertainments. In summary, the green fee is cheap and the scenary spectacular - its just a shame the course does not live up to the billing beyond the odd hole or two so for that alone I rate this as an average course - which is good fun (when is golf not good fun though?). In the summer I can imagine the walkers get pretty annoying as well...
March 15, 2010
4 / 10
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dan
March 16, 2010
Golf is about more than classic strategic "fair" holes, putting on billiard tables. What does "objective rating" mean, surely you are rating the experience as well as the golf course ? Did you go down to the Ty Coch pub on the back 9, since you have standing when you come back up. Everyone I know who has played Nefyn thinks it is one of the most fun they have had playing golf. And golf can be not good fun when you play a course that is predictable "best practice". I would bracket Nefyn with Perranporth, Shiskine and The Machrie in that you need a sense of humour and romance to fully appreciate its quirks, but could mark it down by judging it purely on the course itself. That said, it is disappointing if the greens were rubbish.
Sleats
March 16, 2010
Dan - I understand what you are saying about the experience rather than the course soley etc. However, put simply it was disappointing beyond the quirky old stretch - and the greens were the worst I have ever played on (and I actually putted ok - although it was a lottery). In my mind its a very long way to go - and its nothing more than average. I am fine with quirky and loved places like the European Club with the holes within holes etc or equally the likes of Brancaster with the tidal impacts etc. I feel I have played enough courses to be correct here and the chap who reviewed beneath me thought the same - but can understand the polarising nature given the weird layout etc.
patrick
March 18, 2010
Sorry Dan, I played Nefyn, last spring and can only agree to Sleats. The setting is spectacularbut the layout, challenge and everything apart from one of the most spectacular settings in Europe is slightly above average to my mind. And I am not talking about the greens here. But what's the story, spectacular setting, average course makes a good day out anyway. Enjoy the game. Pat
Bobo
Played this course along with Royal St David's at the start of March 2010. First thing one would say is that the views are some of the most spectacular I have ever seen on a golf course. The ocean was in view on many of the holes which was great. Other than the views, I was quite disappointed with the couse. The greens were shockingly bad and I know it was March but those at RSD were streets ahead. I also felt that there were far too many 'Mickey Mouse' holes such as 1,11,15 and 18. In summary, it is a decent holiday course, but not in the same league as Royal St Davids or down south Royal Porthcawl, Pennard or Machynys. By all means, go play it but dont expect too much!
March 07, 2010
4 / 10
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Robert Warrington
Very deserving of its Top 100 ranking, possible Top 40-50 in the UK, but has quirky holes, many blind shots and odd right of way rules on the Old 9 to test your patience, even in October. That said, I loved it, it's a golf course that you cannot stop thinking about every day. Its challenging, scenic, testing, well groomed and fun to play. We walked off like excited school kids and came home to tell everyone of Nefyn and its virtues. This course would be amongst the Top 10 Hidden Gems of the UK and the bonus was the green fee of less than 40 GBP in the fall. All of which leaves a lasting impression for a very long time.
December 25, 2009
8 / 10
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stephen voce
This has to be the best value for money in the UK!Fabulous views , interesting layout - excellent!
July 05, 2009
8 / 10
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AJS
Played on a Monday in fairly still sunny weather - the walk is long but the views are sensational - the holes in the 'old' course from 11 to 17 are very entertaining and testing - pro and greenstaff helpful and friendly.
July 05, 2009
8 / 10
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Dan Hare
If you appreciate quirky golf courses - a blow hole, huge carry across cliffs with fishermen below, tee shot from a lighthouse, what Bernard Darwin would call "live hazards", and on our visit a fully laden Harrier screaming low level across the peninsula - with masters' imprints you will love Nefyn and forgive any quibbling. One of the most memorable courses I have ever played (or any of my friends who I have dragged all the way to play there). And you must stop off for a pint at the Ty Coch Inn down in the beautiful sheltered cove - you have standing when you come back on the course !
June 10, 2009
10 / 10
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