I have to be honest and admit that North Wales left me a little cold. Given the seaside location of a course that hugs the coast as well as its strong reputation, I must admit that I’d been hoping for a little more than I got. The green fees here are cheap, so as regards to finding a course that fits within a more budget golfing experience, then North Wales presents quite a good option, but sadly I found the course land and design to be lacking.
After an ugly start where the first tee is located hard up against a tall protective fence, the 2nd hole provides more promise of some links golf that I had hoped to soon come. Unfortunately, the course then traverses a bland and flat field that most courses would probably use for their practice range. It was at this point where I stared towards the adjacent Maesdu Golf Club over the other side of the train tracks and wondered if I’d decided to play the wrong course.
The 6th and 7th start to push the direction of travel towards the coast but I still found the course very rudimentary. Circular greens and simple circular bunkers on either side of the green were a pattern throughout and left very little to be desired until things started to finally come to life on the 8th. This is a lovely little hole with two large humps and hollows along the fairway leading to a raised green, but this hole is sadly let down by some overgrown vegetation to what should be a lovely green site. The course then moves parallel to the coast, albeit the beach rarely comes into view. Again, this stretch of holes could be improved through some careful renovation although the 10th with its blind tee shot and cross bunkers in front of the green was more to my tastes and added some needed quirk and character.
The 13th is then a charming par three that plays into the dunes and provides a taste of what’s to come later in the round, whilst the 15th tee is an interesting hole with a tee sat amongst the clubhouse patio and a fun saddle green-complex. 16 and 17 are the highlights though and these crossover par threes offer the main reason to visit the course. 16 plays into a sunken hollow whilst 17 is a beautiful elevated green on top of a dune with fall-offs on each side and a nasty pot bunker set like a plug hole on front of the green.
All in all, there are probably a handful of holes worth the entry fee at North Wales and there is some definite potential in the course, but the infrequent highlights were let down too frequently by the poor design and simple maintenance whilst the land through the first half of the course is very un-links like. I’m also unsure what grasses they’re using for their greens, it’s certainly not fescue, and I hope they’d dressed them with fertiliser on the day that I visited as it had a bright sheen to them and felt like Astroturf to the touch. They rolled fairly well though.
All in all, I hope other visitors get more from their visit to North Wales than I did, but if I was going to suggest a day’s golf when visiting Llandudno, I’d probably recommend heading a few miles across the coast to play 36 at Conwy.
Date: May 25, 2021