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 PennardClick to find out why Steve is horizontal at 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: 59
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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
Pennard
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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
Pennard
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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
Pennard
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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
Pennard
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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
Pennard
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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
Pennard
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Brian Ward
Surely this course is unique in Britain if not the world. Where else can you find such rippled fairways, dramatic changes in elevation and pure excitement on a links course 200 feet above sea level? Two of us drove from Cheshire to play the course on one of the few pleasant days so far this summer and found it to be a class act. Why it has never featured in some of the other well known Top 100 rankings is a surprise to me. Perhaps the undulating nature of the course, particularly on the back 9 and the number of blind drives puts some people off, but definitely not us. Too many good holes to mention with great variety and breathtaking views from many places on the course, just a shame I forgot the camera. Mike the Pro was extremely welcoming and very knowledgeable when it comes to the best courses in Britain. If you get the chance to meet him ask about the castle curse, it’s a nice bit of folklore and the Americans love it. Maybe not the best course in Wales but it would certainly be in my top 4.
July 13, 2012
10 / 10
Pennard
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Michael
Very much an old school links, not too long with a few driveable par 4s if you're into that, with lots of doglegs and changes in elevation. Got a few wicked features, a castle ruins in the middle of one hole. and some holes running right along the cliff side.The 17th is one of the best holes I have ever played, must been seen to believed. Pennard may be one of the most under-rated courses in the golf, my only piece of recommendation is to go there. Choongy x
December 09, 2011
8 / 10
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NT
December 09, 2011
You must be a big, strong lad Choongy. Twelve is driveable but if you've managed to hit any of the others then it's off to tour school for you my boy!
TR
June 06, 2012
I struggle to see how even Bubba Watson could drive any of the par 4's! Fantastic course, really enjoyable having to deal with the undulations and changes in elevation. I imagine on a sunny day the views are breathtaking, sadly for us it was wet and windy (it's supposed to be June!) and visibility was poor. Only disappointment were the greens, which were slow and bumpy, and well below my expectations of a course of this calibre. One thing to note, a number of earlier reviewers have commented on the length of the course, at only 6,300 yards. This is from the white tees (which we played from), but I noticed that there are now blue tees which add significant length to some of the holes. A great course, very tricky for a first time visitor with many blind shots through the dunes, I imagine it becomes easier when you know where you are going and know what is lurking on the other side of every ridge!
Dave
May 13, 2013
Were you playing off the ladies tees!?
wilbert brown
June 21, 2013
off yellow or white tees there are very few drivable par 4s even for big hitters, a couple come in to play if wind is with you, and the 3rd on a still day, but if you fail to find the area by the green and the rough is up, then its a long walk back to the tee same with the 7th if you go long, 12th drivable for decent length hitters but miss right your in a bunker miss left or long its a good 4, id say rare to have more than 3 drivable par 4s and all fraught with danger, if 8 and 14 are somehow drivable with wind then 3 7 12 wont be. Playing the blue tees to somewhere near your handicap you have to hit the ball long and straight, the 5 or 6 times a year that blue tees are in use in competition for members, its very rare to see any high handicappers making the mistake of entering a second time.
Darren
Pennard is superb. Every hole asks a different question. Plays longer than the card yardage (we played off the whites). Stunning scenery, course in great condition. Pro incredibly helpful and very welcoming. Play it if you get the chance
October 19, 2011
10 / 10
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Daniel Odell
One of my all-time favourites!! There isn't a single boring hole on the course. The 7th is a great short par 4. This little two-shotter embodies the brilliance of this course; strategy and well thought out golf shots trump power. The par 3 13 is one of the hardest I've played. A semi-blind uphill shot from over 200 yards is demanding to say the least. I could go on about every hole but I'll just end by saying that outside of the Royal Dornoch, this is the most interesting course I've played. In my opinion this course deserves to be rated higher.
September 13, 2011
10 / 10
Pennard
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