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 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

Average Reviewers Score:
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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Andrew Fearn
What can I say that's not already been said? It's taken our golf party nearly 20 years to discover the S.Wales courses and I can't believe what we've been missing. If you haven't played them, then play them ! And Pennard? Well it was certainly my favourite. It will probably be your favourite too. Then again you might hate it but one thing's for sure-you'll never forget it !
July 18, 2006
8 / 10
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Alex Sherratt
Played the course after a 2 week dry sunny spell, the course therefore was hard, bouncy and fast running so at times it was impossible to keep the ball on the fairways that we all agreed were the most sloping on any course we have ever played at (also a few of the greens had some huge undulations – 7th, 11th and 15th). Yes at times you just don’t know where you are going but who cares when the views are just magic – sea, beach, cliffs and a castle ! The welcome from the Pro was good and he also allowed us to play off the white tees, which was great. Nice clubhouse with good food and beer.
June 17, 2006
8 / 10
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Chris
This is without doubt the Gem in the crown of Welsh golf courses. The views from the 16th green would not look out of place on a post card. Simply put, a fanatastic place to test your skills. True, some of the lies are a little unfair but what makes up for that is the carpet like feel of the perfectly manicured greens. Very welcoming club also, well worth a visit! Easily up there with Royal Porthcawl and Royal St Davids as a fabulous links course!
May 26, 2006
8 / 10
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Hugh
Challenging, rugged, natural and the Real McCoy! Pennard was the highlight of our trip. Expect some bad bounces and don’t come here expecting to play to handicap (especially on your first outing) it’s brutal at times. Wonderfully quirky and a really friendly club too. Save it until the end of your trip and enjoy it.
March 14, 2006
8 / 10
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I made a special trip to play Pennard last year, based on reviews posted on this website and I have to say that I thoroughly agree with the previous reviewer. It's a tremendously fun golf course but it's a bit quirky and it can be unfair. However in my experience good luck and bad luck tend to balance themselves out in golf, so I'm more than happy to give the course an eagle rating. It could be an albatross with a bit of re-working. Don't miss it, it's much more fun than Porthcawl and it makes Tenby look like a holiday course (which it is).
March 06, 2006
8 / 10
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Considering how this has climbed up the rankings in recent years I was, overall, disappointed. ·Very quirky design – it will split opinion. Some of the holes are just plain unfair – you can do great drives and lose your ball. It is hard to see where the fairways are supposed to go on many holes – it is just a bit too “natural” in this regard and I believe that it would benefit from a bit more work on this rather than the “mother nature” design that created it. I love natural, links-type courses, but this was just a bit too much. However, great, great scenery and a beautiful place to have a game in the sun – although, for the risk of being called a heretic, a bit of 21st century improvement, whilst keeping the charm and appeal, could turn a quirky course into a great one. Greens were very good.
September 10, 2005
6 / 10
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Shaun
Very enjoyable, great views and a warm welcome from the pro.
May 06, 2005
6 / 10
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Nick
This without doubt is one of the best Links golf courses in the UK. Some of the views are simply breathtaking. With the wind blowing this course can provide a very stern test for even the most accomplished golfer.The sixth, seventh and the sixteenth are some of the most spectacular holes i have ever played. Although some of the lies can be a little uncompromising, this is simply a spectacular course and well worth a visit if you are in the area!!
April 25, 2005
10 / 10
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Lee Abbey
They don't make 'em like this anymore. If you're a visitor from abroad used to playing immaculate 'designed' courses then do yourself a favour and play Pennard and see what you've been missing in golf! The course is difficult to maintain as it's common land so watch out for the electric fences around each green to stop the cows from venturing on them. Spectacular design from nature with stunning cliff top views and medieval castles to boot. You simply can't criticise any element of this course (except perhaps the modern clubhouse). If you're only slightly interested in golf you should do yourself a favour and play here - the one course in Wales I'd travel from London to play again. A breath of fresh air.
October 28, 2004
10 / 10
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Andy
What a lovely place ! Very modern clubhouse in contrast to the course, which is carved into someof the best land I have seen whilst playing. The first six holes appear to be where you need to start to put a score together as from the 7th to 15th all you get is tough scoring holes. Driving at the 8th ... make sure you get some height on your drive and do not pull it left as the old church wall will delight on pinging your ballback 50 yards (Been there, done that !) At the 16th a little rest as par is comfortable target. But then at 17th a real toughy par 5 - not on length but on the way the fairway turns left through the gorse to the green.As mentioned in the Top100's review there is a lot going on here .... old castles, old churches, beautiful views,cows, cowpats etc ....... all in all it's really really good. Not an easy walk (a lot of ups and downs) but miss playing at Pennard at your peril - Highly recommended.
September 20, 2004
8 / 10
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