Rhyl Golf Club was formed in 1890 and it became one of the founder members of the Welsh Golf Union five years later. Members moved to a new 18-hole course, beside the old Marina Hotel, in 1908 and this was opened by one of the Great Triumverate, Harry Vardon.
Within thirty years, the club was forced to move hundreds of yards east along the coast (due to the local council taking land for road construction in the town) and by the start of World War II, Rhyl had unfortunately been reduced to a 9-hole course.
Under threat from both coastal erosion and residential development ever since, the members at Rhyl are to be commended for managing to maintain their 9-hole (18 tee) course in the face of such adversity over the years.
Rhyl offers an old-fashioned links golf experience with generous fairways and greens that are firm, fast and well protected by bunkers. The total length when playing an 18-hole round is just less than 6,300 yards, with a par of 71 – but how can this figure be an odd number when the same nine holes are played twice, you may ask? The answer is that the 9th is played as a 458-yard par four but when replayed as the 18th, the hole becomes a 484-yard par five from the longer alternate tee.
Rhyll GC, I have been waiting for an opportunity to play here for a good few years, and finally managed to on a wonderful day. Once again I salute you James Braid, a magnificent masterpiece designed in 1890, it still retains trademark features such as subtle dog legs, natural slopes and deep bunkers. A true links course with wind whistling of the sea only a matter of yards away. Not only is the course a great test, in top condition but the membership and everyone we spoke to today were first class, a friendly North Wales welcome. I would urge anyone who is in the area to get a game here, with modest green fees the course certainly stands up against some of the better known local links venues and in fact I would argue a case for it out shining them. A little gem of a course.
I visited 9-hole Rhyl one afternoon in April 2019 and was the only player on the course as torrential rain in the morning had persuaded members to stay warm and dry at home. Given the very wet weather, the course condition was extremely good. The course has no real change in elevation but nice undulations through the fairways. My favourite hole was the short 3rd with a well-protected, small green. The drive from the 10th tee (18 different tees) with the sea wall to the left is quite a challenge for anyone who draws the ball. This is a simple, no-frills course but nonetheless very enjoyable. If I was in the area I would play again.
Rhyl is a cracking little nine-hole links course on the North Wales coast. It’s not going to win any awards for being one of the best in the country but I really enjoyed my outing here.
The course plays firm and fast like any good links course should and there is a nice feel about the place.
It’s simple, understated and honest links golf so if you are seeking rolling terrain and huge dunes then it’s probably not for you but the green complexes are of a good enough standard to provide both interest and challenge to your round.
Ed is the founder of Golf Empire – click the link to read his full review.