Pennard - South Wales - Wales

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


  • +44 (0) 1792 233131


Visit Golfbreaks.com for a golf holiday at Pennard

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
TaylorMade
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
9 / 10
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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
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James
I played her last Monday 27th June 2011 and found the course to be set over some spectacular ground. You play over undulating links land that enjoys a view over a spectacular bay from every hole. Ancient ruins are dotted about the course and playing here will stay in the memory for a very a long time. Each hole weaves between hillocks and dunes, over ridges and crests to sheltered greens nestled against the dunes high above the see. Some of the tee shots are so inviting that it is hard to compare with anything I have played. It is a fair test of golf over very natural Ground and I highly reccomend it to anyone.The holes go in all directions and present a fresh challenge on every tee.some of the tees and greens are precipitous and offer fabulous views down to the estuary and open sea. JCB LAY
July 04, 2011
8 / 10
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Peter
Played this on a very wet and windy June afternoon and still had a great game! The undulations of the links course made the round all the more interesting and the views are to die for!One negative was the less the perfect greens, though they were more than adequate for a links course.Overall a great course in a great location.
June 28, 2011
8 / 10
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Kevan Voce
I agree with many of the reviews here that this is a great golf course. We played in good weather mid-June but in a 2-club wind that was nearer 3 by the end. It is a tough course and not for the hacker. There isn’t a weak hole on the course and some really memorable ones. There are many elevated greens which made the approach shot very difficult. The negatives were that the greens were a bit slow and the fairways a bit scruffy. The views over the bay were terrific so bring your camera. Well worth a visit if you are in this neck of the woods but bring you’re A game.
June 27, 2011
8 / 10
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Carl Tushingham
This course is a cracker and doesn't receive the recognition it deserves apart from on this website. It most definitely deserves its Top 100 ranking. Huge variety of holes and just about all memorable in there own right. Amazing views that could distract you from your round, must be some of the most stunning in Britain. Huge undulations on the fairways that give you awkward lies and greens that will test your putting skills to the max. I hope this course rises up the rankings. I was lucky to play here on a calm day as I can imagine how tough it would be if the wind blew!! Must play if your in the area.
April 16, 2011
10 / 10
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David Baxter
A fantastic place for a day of golf; 18 holes of great variety, friendly welcome, stunning views, and even the cattle add to the 'naturalness'. Played in september open week and condition was the best I have known. There isn't a boring hole on the course, and like many others the 7th hole, with the castle on the right, is one of my favourite holes. The views walking down the 16th fairway are staggering, but beware the slopes on the green which make even the shortest putt tricky. Although Royal Porthcawl is tougher I think personally the variety of Pennard just edges it for me
September 08, 2010
8 / 10
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Dave Andrews
Good course setup and steeped in history but very scruffy. I would recommend it if it wasn't for the rude green keepers and their lack of attention to detail. We played on a Links Golf break and played Pennard, Ashburnham and Machynys. I would recommend them all as they each offer something different.
May 14, 2010
6 / 10
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