What a course! This is my second favourite ever at the moment to Royal St David's, a little easier but a charming and fair course but will bite your arm off in bad weather. We played 27 holes here at the beginning of October, £36 for a day ticket and the course immaculate, the greens amazing. The club house is polished, changing rooms comfortable and I would recommend the home made soup for lunch plus the scampi! This is the third year running I have played at Porthmadog after being introduced to it by a long time family friend who was a member as a junior for about 10 years and I have fallen in love with it. Every year we take a week off and play the great courses of Mid/North Wales. As you would have read above, the course is renowned for its split personality of front 9 parkland and back 9 links but I don't think the front 9 gets enough credit, it is a good 9 by itself. Okay it has 3 easy par 5s but 1 has a links feel to it with the undulating fairway and stream in front of the green, 4 is an extremely tough par 4 - hardly reachable in two. 5 is a trickly 90 degree dogleg right par 4 and 9 is a tough downhill par 3 and SI 18, so you need to make par. When you walk back across the road and get to the 10th tee you just cannot believe the transformation, it is jaw dropping stuff. The back 9 is not particularly long but it is blind and the greens are undulating, you have to play smart golf. 10 and 15 are short but have mogul fairways and tight amphitheatre banked greens, 11 and 13 are long blind par 3s, 12 is short - you hit a 5 iron down to the landing area and a PW up to the green - but you would never take driver because you'll end up in the beach or in Samson bay with the fish, 14 is the toughest hole on the course, a beast of a par 4 with a 200 yard carry over 60 feet of sand dunes into the wind, both sides of the fairway are banked and you still have about 180 yards into a narrow green even if you nail your drive, 16 is a short par 4 but a small and tricky green well protected by bunkers in front of the old clubhouse, 17 is one of my favourite holes - a 3 shot par 5 because of the stream in front with the fairway lined by gorse and the green tucked in on the left - watch out for the Apache helicopters flying over head! 18 is a longish par 4 dogleg right with a lightning green sloped back to front. Magic.
Date: October 14, 2008