Let’s start with the rankings - the course is ranked about right, I would put it ahead of most parklands in South Wales, on a par with Newport and ahead of both the Montgomerie and Roman Road at Celtic Manor. 4 = good course to seek out, 4.5 =one of the best, worth an overnight stop – so I am between the 2 as I did travel 1hr and a half to stay overnight and play twice. On balance a 4 is right, and I would recommend for the experience…
In response to previous comments, I don’t find the hills here an issue, not like on other courses, like Celtic Manor or Castle Combe for instance. They are never so severe as to spoil a hole, the contours add to the challenge without being excessive.
There are no recent reviews, so it’s good to report that the conditioning was excellent throughout, with the possible exception of the consistency of the bunker sand being a bit variable, but that’s a small gripe.
I am a 7 handicap and found the course to be stimulating and challenging – most of the holes have a puzzle to solve, be it position off the tee or a good green complex, so I would not be as harsh as some of the others about ‘average’ holes – the round flows well and each hole is different. Not every course needs to be (nor can be) a world beater and throw 18 world class holes in. I would argue there is shot making required – not every tee is a driver, not every 2nd shot to a par 5 is a wood – you have to plot your way round – which is refreshing.
Golf, for me, should be, first and foremost, fun and played in beautiful surrounding and this course ticks those boxes… I love the peace and the tranquillity and the views – so much so I forgot about Covid and Brexit for 2 days!
I should also say that its excellent value for money – at £40 the green fee is remarkable value for a good course, so they are not pitching themselves to be something they are not and full credit to them.
The greens are the main defence, challenging due to slopes and contours and add massively to the fun and challenge - there are no easy putts and you need to miss in the right places and they were certainly running fast.
A few issues I would raise regarding the layout - the tree on the corner of the 12th is too big, the yellow tees on 3, combined with the dogleg made the drive too short to be meaningful (just put them back on the white box, sorted), and 11 is a driveable length par 4 but there is too much risk and not enough reward in going for it, but I am picking.
Other complaints about the 7th for instance I don’t necessarily agree with – it’s a par 5 that you have to plot your way down; a really good drive can get on in 2 but if not then you need to think carefully about your shots – variety is the spice of life and there are other par 5s where you can go for it in 2 and there are genuine 3 shotters… so it works well for me. The view off the tee is sensational anyway!
Yes, there are a number of blind shots, but again not so much as to impact the fun or challenge. There are a number of drives over the brows of slopes, but there are no blind shots into greens if you have got your drive away. More marker posts could help those that haven’t played the course before.
I should add that here is excellent on course accommodation – there 3 self-catering lodges, well-appointed and fully equipped. Rolls is therefore a special place to stay – to open your bedroom curtains and see deer outside your window is a great start to your day!
The place also has excellent, helpful staff who helped make our stay very welcoming.
So all in all, a really good course in a magnificent setting – what’s not to like?
Date: September 22, 2020