Recently completed a two week visit to Wales, playing 10 rounds, the last at Royal Porthcawl. A few quick words about golfing in Wales before commenting specifically about this magnificent course. Through a bit of dumb luck we started our trip up in the Conwy area, winding our way south along the coast, saving Royal Porthcawl for the grand finale. For first time visitors wanting to play courses all throughout the country, I highly recommend starting in the north and ending in the south. Conwy is a wonderful course, a great place to start, and everything after R.P. would seem like a bit of a let down.
Arrived for our noon tee time in a downpour with near gale force winds (my weather app said it was 25-35 mph winds with gusts over 40). The kind gentleman in the pro shop allowed us to postpone until 1:30 when the weather was supposed to ease up. When we arrived back, we met a member who had just completed his round and was looking rather battered and weather-beaten and surely would have benefitted from windshield wipers on his eyeglasses. I made a joke to him about mad dogs and Englishmen going out in the midday sun, and he replied that I was being too kind and that the word I was looking for was 'idiots'.
Hooray for accurate forecasts, because we played the first two holes in a misty rain that petered out, though the wind, after easing slightly, remained a steady 2-3 club wind.
Royal Porthcawl is simply wonderful; there's an energy, a feel about the course that constantly lets you know you're in someplace special. The grey, moody skies and crashing waves added to its mystique. On the course, I was particularly taken by the collection of par 3s: so varied, so well bunkered, and so visually lovely. I managed a tidy birdie on #11, but took a 5 on #14, needing two to get out of the right bunker.
Royal Porthcawl is certainly the best course in Wales and one of a handful of the finest courses I have ever played. Simply loved my time there and hope I can back there again someday.
Date: October 17, 2019