Founded in 1905, Prestatyn Golf Club had an 18-hole course in play the following year. Nine of the original fairways were lost to development in 1921 but another nine were in play within twelve months, enabling members to resume with a full complement of holes.
The land on which the most northerly golf course in mainland Wales lies was owned by Lord Aberconway and when he died in the late 1950s, both course and clubhouse were sold to pay death duties. The local Council managed to compulsorily purchase the layout from its new owner a short time after before it was leased back to the club.Set out on a 150-acre tract of land known as “morfa,” meaning bog or sea-marsh in the Welsh tongue, the course lies between the coastal rail line and the Irish Sea. A canal – known as the “Prestatyn Gutter” – runs through the links and it’s been the ruin of many a poor golfer down the years.
I played Prestatyn for the first time in mid-May. The weather was a mix of sunshine and showers with a two-club breeze. In common with many other links courses, the holes furthest from the sea have the more movement and undulations with those closest to the water being relatively flat. The course condition was good, particularly given the cold Spring we have had in the UK. The fairways had an excellent covering of springy turf, the greens too were good. Some tee boxes were a little over-used and perhaps the teeing area could be enlarged on some holes.
The start is not gentle. The first three holes take you in a westerly direction and therefore are all into the prevailing wind. A stream meanders through the course and is in play on each of the first three holes. The pick of the opening holes is probably the 3rd. The stream crosses the fairway and is in play off the tee and the green is well bunkered. With the wind now at your back holes 4 to 8 are probably the least memorable – flattish ground and relatively wide fairways. Turning back into the wind and moving a little inland the stream comes back into play adding interest to 9, 10 and 11. The drive at the 12th seems to be to a narrower fairway with a profusion of bunkers. The 13th is a lovely par three to a heavily bunkered, plateau green. For purely sentimental reasons the 14th is my favourite hole as it is very similar to a hole on the course where I learnt to play. The railway is in play all down the left and bunkers dot the right hand side of the hole. Holes 15 and 16 both require thought off the tee. The final two holes are not quite as good as their immediate predecessors and in contrast to the start, the finish appears relatively gentle.
Prestatyn exceeded my expectations. This is a classic, old-fashioned links and I thoroughly enjoyed my afternoon and would go back.
This is an interesting course that my grandfather has been going on about playing for a while, we travelled down today for a round and was not disappointed! The course was played mostly off winter tees which, in some cases, made play even more interesting than could be seen from the regular tee boxes.
The first half of the course seemed quite basic in play and structure which was nice for warming up (as we didn't arrive with time to go on the driving nets) and as the course progressed it got more and more complex. The gulleys and river make for interesting hazards running through the course and 2 particular gems were the 9th (bordered by the river to the left and the green surrounded by a moat) and the 13th (par 3 with 7 bunkers all in play, 1 being a huge pot bunker directly in front of the green).
To finish the round up you play up to the clubhouse which has a great bar that offers a very nice roast on a Sunday.
To sum up, great course with incredibly fast playing greens for the time of the year, great facilities and definitely worth a trip to play!
Very enjoyable links well worth a visit.
Some tough holes especially when the wind blows.
Prestatyn is a fine championship links course on the North Wales coast and is easy to see why it’s regularly selected for the country’s top events.
In 2015 it hosted the Welsh Amateur Championship amongst other tournaments and at 6,825 yards from the back tee markers there’s no doubt this varied links is a test for the very best.
There’s a good mix of holes throughout the round which in my opinion gets better and more interesting as the round progresses. The stretch of holes from the 10th through to the 14th is of a particularly high standard.
The front nine, played closer to the sea but on flatter and softer ground, goes about its business in an economical manner but still has plenty of challenge and presents several options on a number of holes. Indeed an important choice must be made on the very first tee as to how much of the marshland you should bite off on your tee-shot. A tough decision with your first strike of the day!
I enjoyed a beautifully clam day for my round at Prestatyn but I can imagine when the wind blows it can become a different beast altogether.
North Wales has a great mix of golf courses and is a popular destination for visiting golfers from both near and far. A round at Prestatyn should be an essential part of any itinerary when heading to this part of the country. The green-fees are already well priced but The Club also run a number of open competitions throughout the year which offer even better value.
Ed is the founder of Golf Empire – click the link to read his full review.
After an absence of around 15 years since making an annual trip with a society, I decided to return to Prestatyn for some winter golf, as my course dug up 4 greens at the end of 2015, and is also not the best course off-season anyway. After speaking to the friendly secretary, Chris, who advised the course was in great shape and that they pretty much play full tees and greens all year, 2 friends and I decided to go and play.
I’ll cut to the quick and say right now that we returned several times over the next few months and have since all joined as PGC members in 2016. The course is in very good condition and you couldn’t wish for a friendlier welcome, with a core of dedicated members also helping out around the club, so it’s easy to feel at home.
As to the layout, PGC opens with a few fairly featureless holes which serve well to ease you into the round but from the 4th onwards the links really comes into it’s own. The finer grasses from here onwards also create options for a ‘running game’ on most holes (except the 8th which can be wet in winter). Once you reach the 11th, the course really starts to peak and from here to the 18th, you will struggle to find a better stretch of holes anywhere. And then there’s the wind ! ... Most holes play up or down the prevailing wind, so take the good holes when you can and hold onto your score when going into the teeth of it. The par 3 17th can play anything from a wedge to a wood ! The rough isn’t as penal as at some links either, which makes for a more enjoyable round by all. If you are from the school of low single-figures and subscribe to the fact a course has to be tough to be good, and sit in the bar afterwards lauding it was a real test because you struggled to break 80, then probably best to avoid here …. To everyone else I say come along and you will enjoy it ! Prestatyn held both the Welsh Amateur and the British Senior Ladies Open Amateur championships in 2015, where a truly international field gave glowing reports of the course.
I don’t think I can give any greater testament though than the fact that I put my money where my mouth is and joined.
With a small team of green staff, you clearly won’t get the conditions seen at some of the ‘classic’ links but having played well over 200 courses in my time, I’m pretty certain you won’t get a friendlier welcome or better value for money than at Prestatyn.
My friends and I have spent many years visiting the North Wales and Lancashire coast playing Prestatyn amongst other courses. Until recently the condition has been average, however last year and this year the course is amongst the best I have played in the area. The definition, fairways to rough is superb, the views are beautiful also. The course is laid out very well and it is a real test. the history of the club says it all.I have to say that sitting on the balcony watching everyone finish on the 18th capped the day just perfectly. Well done Prestatyn, we look forward to our next visit.