Pennard - South Wales - Wales

Pennard Golf Club,
2 Southgate Road,
Southgate,
Swansea,
SA3 2BT,
Wales


  • +44 (0) 1792 233131


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Although Pennard Golf Club is located only a few miles southwest of Swansea, it’s set on the rugged Gower Peninsula, amongst one of the most dramatic landscapes in Britain. Its cliff-top site provides an ideal vantage point – from the heights, the views across to the beautiful sandy beaches of Three Cliff and Oxwich Bays are simply arresting.

Pennard is one of the oldest golf courses in Wales. Reputedly, golf has been played here since 1896, although the Pennard Golf Club was not founded until 1908. It’s often called “the links in the sky”, because the holes play across links-like ground, full of dunes, humps and hollows but the land is 200 feet above sea level.

The great James Braid originally designed Pennard, and, some years later, he returned with Ken Cotton to implement certain revisions. For many years, the unusual Pennard course was relatively anonymous until the great American architect, Tom Doak, declared in The Confidential Guide To Golf Courses, that Pennard is “One of my all-time favourites, but I hesitate to recommed it for gereral consumption; it's awfully quirky. The site, on a promontory of undulating ground between the sea and the 'Pill' (a deep stream valley), is one of the most spectacular I’ve ever seen.” Since Doak’s comments, the course has enjoyed a renaissance.

The ruins of a 12th century Norman Castle stand guard over the course, which measures a modest 6,329 yards from the back tees. It’s by no means a championship test, but there are 18 wonderful holes and Pennard has hosted a number of important amateur events. This is where the inspirational Curtis Cup player, Vicky Thomas, honed her game.

When the strong winds funnel up the Bristol Channel, Pennard will pose a stern challenge to the very best golfers. Don’t let your concentration be affected by the cattle, which graze on the links. Additionally, expect a few blind shots and don’t expect too many flat lies – Pennard is seriously hilly, with more ups and downs than most links courses.

One of the most engaging aspects of Pennard is that there are no average holes. Each and every one has character and there are at least nine great holes. The four par 4s from the 6th to the turn are simply tremendous. The short par four 7th, aptly called "Castle", will remain etched in the mind for a long time – from the elevated tee, the drive must bravely cross a deep chasm to find a distant undulating fairway. The ruins of Pennard Castle watch in silence. A semi-blind approach shot is to a sunken green, which is protected by dunes – fantastic stuff!

High up in the dunes once again, the tee shot from the 493-yard 16th, called "Great Tor", is also nerve-jangling. A solid drive to the rippled fairway below will leave a short, but blind, second shot across a ridge. The approach shot must find the green, perched on the cliff-top, which slopes wickedly from back to front. Don’t leave a downhill putt, or you may find yourself pitching back on to the green.

Pennard is a delightful old-fashioned affair and without doubt, this is one of the very best links courses in Britain & Ireland. No trip to South Wales would be complete without tasting the sheer delight of Pennard.

Tom Doak was appointed as Pennard’s consulting architect at the end of 2015 and his Scottish-based associate Clyde Johnson is working with Ecobunker on the installation of artificial revetted bunkers on the course. Doak will advise on the placement and shaping of the sand traps during the rebuilding programme.

We contacted Clyde Johnson in October 2017 to get his take on the renovation programme:

“Tom Doak and I made our last visit to Pennard in the winter of 2015/2016. The club had decided to re-build their second green without our input, and likewise have continued to do the bunker work on their own following Tom's initial report. I am not sure how much of our advice they heeded, but given the lack of involvement, I don't think there should be any accreditation (good or bad) on our behalf.

In truth, the bunker work was/is simply about replacing the turf revetted bunkers with the artificial turf construction process...with an interest for ensuring that these new bunkers did not appear homogenised as on many links courses, as they would be getting 'locked-in' for 20-plus years. There was to be consideration of moving the odd bunker, but nothing overly significant.

Regardless, it is the adventurous routing of Pennard, which sometimes lives on the edge, and a handful of wonderfully contoured green complexes that make it the best course in Wales, and one of the most compelling anywhere in the world.”

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Reviews for Pennard

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Description: Pennard Golf Club is a delightful old-fashioned affair and without doubt, this is one of the very best links courses in the British Isles. Rating: 8.3 out of 10 Reviews: 61
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David Davis
Had the pleasure of playing Pennard in March of this year. I have to say it was an enjoyable surprise. The architecture there is as superb as the landscape is dramatic. It’s a bit of a challenge to look through the turf issues they have which I truly hope they straighten out some day. The club made it sound like it was only now an issue due to the tough winter however, many of my friends have played and all have experienced the course with turf issues. In any case, tons of variety and one strong hole after another. The closing stretch is a pretty severe test of golf and for me a hole like 17 is questionable, not sure how playable it is for the average players or even their average members but view from the tee is simply breathtaking. My favorite holes were: the par 4 7th hole running past the castle ruins. The par 4 8th with its highly undulated fairway and raised green. The excellent par 3 11th hole even though the green is on such an aggressive left to right slant and finally the shortish par 5 16th which boasts an amazing view of the coast line.
September 28, 2014
6 / 10
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paul savage
Played Pennard Mon 9th June.Stunning!The best course we played in South Wales. The course layout is superb, the views are some of the best anywhere and you get looked after like royalty.This is a must visit venue
June 20, 2014
10 / 10
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Gustav
This is one of the few courses you could truly recommend taking non-golfers to! The walk, with or without clubs, is just fantastic and the views just keep getting better as the round progresses. There are plenty of blind shots, but apart from the 17th hole, too quirky even for my taste, everything else is actually manageable the first time, as long as you factor in the wind, the bounce and the roll of the ball, but who wouldn't on a links course? The greens were slightly slow, but true, so presented a decent challenge in the beginning of May 2014. Would not like to play them a lot faster without knowing the course intimately though. Rating is tough: views are clearly 6-ball, but the finish is 4-ball max, so I settled for a 5-ball.
May 13, 2014
8 / 10
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James Barton
End of March scratch team tour and we played 36 at Pennard between days at Ashburnham and Royal Porthcawl. With many of us having played numerous links golf throughout Britain we did not have huge expectations based on ranking and reviews. But. .Wow, what a fantastic course! Yes, the second was a temp hole due to maintenence and it was a little scruffy in places but for enjoyment this goes ahead of Royal Porthcawl and Royal St. David's. All nine of us agreed. Greens were very good, the welcome superb and the views outstanding. Maybe not the strategic design of the above but well designed and challenging enough esp with a stiff breeze. Thoroughly recommend it.
April 16, 2014
8 / 10
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John Doherty
We have just got back from a weekend golfing in south wales. Playing Royal Porthcawl on Friday, Machynys Peninsula on Saturday and then finishing off with Pennard yesterday. If I am totally honest I wasn't overly bothered about playing Pennard before arriving and all I can say is how glad I am that I did. This is an absolute gem of a course, undulating, quirky, short but tough, scenic and an unbelievably friendly clubhouse and golf pro. Its not in Royal Porthcawl's class as a course but it still has some very special holes of its own with a great finishing three that could ruin any good round. I would happily play this course every week if possible as the atmosphere around the place was amazing, the course was in excellent condition and the views are just sublime.
November 04, 2013
10 / 10
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Tony
I played Pennard two weeks ago on a beautiful but blustery morning. The pro shop could not have been more helpful. What a delightful location, I was so looking forward to the course. Rarely have I been so disappointed. The course was very scruffy & not just around the edges, lack of divot replacement, tees seemingly uncared for, very bumpy & inconsistent greens. The course requires some urgent tlc. It is always a mystery to me why so much money is invested in the clubhouse when it is the course that clearly requires attention. There indeed may be a long term development plan but I & apparently others have not seen signs of it thus far.
October 10, 2013
2 / 10
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DV
November 22, 2013
A 2 ball rating seems a little harsh given that 40 other reviews have been scribed over a period of nine years and,aside from your good self, the lowest rating is a 4 ball. Pennard may be a "little rough around the edges" but it is a delight to play, has some fabulous and challenging holes and will test the imagination and variety in your game every time you are lucky enough to play it.
RhG
November 29, 2013
Played Pennard for the first time today. I'd rate the course as a 5-ball with the welcome received as a 6-ball. I have to respond to the comment in the above review regarding the greens as being 'very bumpy and inconsistent'. My opinion is that the greens were the complete antithesis of this negative comment. They were amongst the best 'november' greens I've encountered.
Nick Adams
Played Pennard in August on a lovely warm day with little wind. I had heard a lot about it and was very excited to be playing especially for £20 a round.However I was I have to say I was slightly disappointed. Beautiful scenery, friendly atmosphere and some fabulous hole's, but for me as a first time visitor there were too many unfair holes, blind shot's and very unlucky bounce's, this despite some recent rain..One of my partner's smoked a drive at the marker post on one long par 4 possibly the ninth and never saw his ball again. We were not too keen on the par 5 10th at least not the tee shot, we found it very difficult to see where to aim. Not very enamoured by the 17th either certainly as a first timer.However we had a good time and there are certainly some lovely holes there. 7th, 8th, 11th and the brilliant 16th stand out.We will go back one day, maybe we should have listened more carefully to the lady who warned us in the pro shop about the Pennard bounce.Nick
October 09, 2013
6 / 10
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Dan Hare
An absolutely superb, natural feeling golf course with stupendous views of one of the loveliest parts of Britain. Similarly to Nefyn you have to keep an eye out for wandering "civilians" at times, but this is a fun, friendly, totally memorable experience. Can't wait to go back. A little rough around the edges, no less charming for it, but not quite 6 ball.
April 10, 2013
8 / 10
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Paul Hendrick
Played in March 2013. Course is a great layout with a tremendous variety of holes, a true links challenge with magnificent coastal views and castle ruin thrown in. The course was a little scruffy in places but in fairness it was early March after a long winter. Our green fee of £25 for the 27 holes played was unbelievable value. Very friendly and helpful Pro & staff. Off the course the food wasn't great, maybe buy in better quality and charge more? That small criticism aside a great experience and not too be missed if you get the chance to play it.
March 15, 2013
8 / 10
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wilbert brown
June 21, 2013
the food is disappointing, much like what youd expect in a canteen, but in its defence thats better than what i was offered elsewhere. if you want a proper meal, there are plenty of restaurants in mumbles and swansea, of the gower courses the only place i had a restaurant quality meal was machynys.
Wee Jonnie
I played here Aug 2012 after a 5 hour drive from Manchester as I had a friend’s wedding nearby. I love links golf and when you put a course of that quality in a stunning location, you get a fantastic golf experience. I joined up with a member for 9 holes who was as welcoming as the assistant pro and the clubhouse staff. Too many great holes to mention all...the 7th I think (castle right off the tee) would be a great hole anyway but add one of the best views in Britain (more spectacular than Turnberry due to elevation) a bit of bias due to a birdie and it doesn't get any better. The champ tee on the 17th is also immense and I stayed there for a good 5 minutes just to take it all in. I paid twilight green fee but would have been happy paying full wack for this gem.
October 02, 2012
10 / 10
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