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: 61
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Adrian
I had mixed feelings after playing Pennard. The good - the course has some very memorable holes, particularly the 7th and the 16th. The greens are in quite good condition and the pro and members were very friendly. It is definitely an experience. The not so good - I think most mid to high handicappers are likely to get eaten up and spat out very hard by this course, particularly in the typical windy conditions. The fairways are often extremely narrow (particularly the 6th which must be only 15 yards wide in places). The rough is very punishing, which is fair enough I guess, but it seems strange to grow high rough within a few feet of so close to many of the greens, which seemed unfairly penal to me. It is also a difficult course to play the first time due to the large number of blind tee and approach shots. I hit what I thought was a perfect 3 iron around a dogleg towards a marker post which turned out to be a post on a different hole.
September 01, 2009
6 / 10
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Ralph
I played Pennard on a glorious day this September as part of the PGA festival. Let me start by saying the setting and views that the course offers are stunning, I imagine the members would call the wind that blew on the day a mere breeze not worth a mention but it still warranted a couple of extra clubs when turning into the teeth. After a fairly non descript start the course becomes really interesting from the 4th tee onwards as the track dives & climbs between the mounds, humps & hollows that seem to block the easy route around this course.Pennard is not a course for one who curses any bad bounces, as invariably they will be plentiful. However, you have to be very crooked to find real trouble, but every shot will test your shot making skills as a level stance is only found on the tee.One small gripe – I know it’s land where the cattle can roam free but the fences around the greens are very annoying.
November 07, 2008
6 / 10
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Patrick McGarey
I played this course in June 2007 with several very accomodating members who took obvious pride in the course and were happy to provide assistance to me (keep your drive to the left, hit more club than you think etc.). Pennard is a rather uniquie layout, and includes some delightfully idiosyncratic holes. Highly recommended, along with better known Welsh tracks such as St. David's and Royal Porthcawl.
November 06, 2008
6 / 10
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Bobo
This is truly a spectacular golf course. As some of the previous reviewers have said, the views are breathtaking! the course is a little on the short side which is perhaps holding the course back a little. If they could somehow add a couple of hundred yards it would quickly establish itself as a championship course and a real test. The greens were in great condition and were on a par with those at Royal Porthcawl and Pyle and Kenfig. The mjortity of us on our South wales 'tour' concurred that it was the best course in Swansea!!
September 29, 2008
10 / 10
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Mauro T
October 29, 2008
spot on review. The views, the course, the castle - there is so much going on here. We played on a mild day with the sun shining and thoroughly enjoyed- They could easily add 400/500 yards onto the course with the amount of land that they have spare. If they did it would certainly establish itself as a championship test!
Ted
Pennard is a natural, old fashioned and in places quirky links but a total delight to play, and although there are one or two climbs the walking is not too hard – despite being on top of the cliffs this is genuine links land . The marker posts for the blind shots are generally well placed and the rough is quite short, so finding balls is not too problematical. The greens and the course in general are in good condition. As stated before by previous reviewers, the views are absolutely breathtaking, particularly on the 7th and 16th holes, and the livestock on the course actually add to Pennard's unspoilt, timeless charm. All in all tremendous fun, every hole is an interesting and different challenge - would imagine when the wind is up this course is a very stern test. We also received a warm and relaxed welcome from the Professional and Clubhouse staff, and having the practice green and range close to the 1st tee and clubhouse is very convenient. In short Pennard has got the lot for the visitor in search of an enjoyable test of true links golf.
September 15, 2008
10 / 10
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Felix Le Page
Having spent the weekend at The Open, Bob Bobbins and I were desperate for some links action and made the 150 mile detour on our way home to Pennard. The club has a very laid-back and friendly approach and a warm welcome from the club pro and members was appreciated. Played it on a fantastic day and have the sun and wind burns to prove it. The course has a rugged natural appearance and in parts due to its undulations you can be totally unaware of the remainder of the golf course (and not a tree in sight!) Apart from the course hazards there are a number of walkers crossing the course and cattle ruminating in small groups. I chose to let a horned threesome move on before I played my shot from the rough on the 18th. Enjoyed each and every hole but the 13th is a mind bending par 3 into the wind and a carry over dunes which gobbled up a few balls until we steadied ourselves. The fairways are hard and lumpy and even if you hit them are likely to roll to the edge. The greens are equally hard and a bump ‘n’ run approach works best. Once you have negotiated the electrical fencing that surrounds each green, there are lots of hidden borrows on the dancefloor so be prepared to 3-putt. Finally, the views from and around the course are breathtaking particularly down the 16th and up the 17th – this is truly golf porn.
July 22, 2008
10 / 10
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Kirkus
Pennard is golf at it absolute best. A truly old fashoned, quirky course that looks like it was created by accident rather than design. Anyone who is used to playing on a manicured parkland course with man made hazards should give Pennard a go. Although you have to get used to seeing some drives fly straight over the top of the marker, only to find them 20 yards off target in the rough, I think the course is very fair with immaculately rolling greens.My club used to have a reciprocal arrangement with Pennard meaning we had free use of the course and I am still convinced they rescinded this after I abused the privelege so regularly one summer!I can't think of a bad hole on the course, but the stand out hole for me is the Par 5 16th, elevated tee, hitting out towards the Gower. It makes my top 18 holes of all time.
April 14, 2008
10 / 10
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Duncan Snook
Simply the most welcoming "name" course that I've ever visited, and easily ranks alongside the cream of other great Welsh venues like Royal St Davids and Nefyn. It truly lives up to its billing of "the links in the sky" and the cliff top views, with the ruins of the castle and walls all adding up to a stunning package. No two holes are the same, and with the effect of the wind you could play here for years and not play the same round twice. Great value and really friendly pro and staff. My twelve year old son, Cameron, played his first ever round of links golf here - and I can rest easy knowing I have done well by him.
August 21, 2007
10 / 10
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darren
Played Pennard on a recent trip to South Wales. By far the best links in the area, aside from Royal Porthcawl - which is pure class. Although the card suggests the course will play short, don't be fooled! There are plenty of elevated greens where you need to take at least one more club and if you miss in the wrong place a tricky up and down will follow. If the wind blows don't expect to play to your handicap - none of us did! Good greens, fantastic views and a great Pro. An absolute gem.
October 01, 2006
10 / 10
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Mike
Having travelled from London to play the South Wales courses, this along with Royal Porthcawl were by far the best. Although the course is a modest 6,300 yards, it provided our group with a very stern challenge. The best score was only 30 points. The views from nearly every point on this course are superb, in particular the 7th green and the 16th tee. I have played on some of the top courses in the UK and this is undoubtedly one of them. Each and every hole from the seventh is memorable. The seventh, with the ruins of an old church and even a castle will remain etched in my mind for a very long time indeed - what a classic. We played the course just after it had held the Welsh Boys championships and they were the fastest and truest I have ever played on - 11.5 on the stimp, and with the severe undulations three putting was inevitable but that did not vex me in any way as I thoroughly enjoyed the course. The people were friendly, the food and beer was great. All in all a superb day out and a fabulous place to test your game and in particular - your nerves.
September 08, 2006
10 / 10
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