Royal Porthcawl - South Wales - Wales

Royal Porthcawl Golf Club,
Rest Bay,
Porthcawl,
Mid Glamorgan,
CF36 3VW,
Wales


  • +44 (0) 1656 782251

  • Golf Club Website

  • M4 J37, 3 miles to Porthcawl

  • Contact in advance – weekdays only


Royal Porthcawl Golf Club is located off the beaten track, east of Swansea and west of Cardiff. Despite being the highest ranked course in Wales, it remains relatively unknown.

The club was founded in 1891 and Charles Gibson, Royal North Devon’s professional, laid out a 9-hole course on Lock’s Common. In 1895, an adjacent piece of land became available and Ramsey Hunter created an 18-hole layout. Porthcawl was granted its royal title in 1909 by King Edward VII. Over the years, the layout has been extensively modified, primarily in 1913 by Harry Colt, F.G Hawtree and J.H. Taylor in 1925 (when the duo added for new holes) and by Tom Simpson in 1933.

The first four holes and the last six holes represent classic links golf, but the holes in the middle rise up onto higher ground, offering fantastic views across the Bristol Channel. This middle section of the course, with plenty of gorse, has distinct heathland characteristics. Darwin completely disagrees with our sentiments. He wrote about “the very excellent links of Porthcawl. Links they may worthily be called, for the golf at Porthcawl is the genuine thing – the sea in sight all the time, and the most noble bunkers.”

Royal Porthcawl measures 7,065 yards from the back markers, but position from the tee is just as important as distance. Gary Wolstenholme will vouch for this. Wolstenholme played Tiger Woods in the 1995 Walker Cup here at Porthcawl and despite being constantly out-driven by Woods, Wolstenholme controlled and positioned the ball better and secured a famous victory at the last hole.

The Bristol Channel acts as a funnel for Atlantic gales and the course is fully exposed to the wind. It’s not a traditional out and back layout – the holes loop back on one another, playing in various directions. With an absence of trees and dunes, the wind plays a powerful role.

In 2014, the Senior Open Championship was hosted at Royal Porthcawl. This was the first time a Major Championship had been staged in Wales. The event turned out to be a one man show when Bernhard Langer cruised to a 13-stroke victory over nearest rival Colin Montgomerie and, in doing so, the German broke the tour record for the largest winning margin in a 72-hole event.

Three years later, the event returned to Royal Porthcawl and once again the evergreen Bernhard Langer emerged victorious, claiming his third Senior Open title with a four under par aggregate score of 280, three strokes better than that of runner-up Cory Pavin from the United States of America.

Architect Martin Ebert sent us this exclusive quote in August 2020 regarding work his firm had undertaken at Royal Porthcawl:

“The recent project at Royal Porthcawl has followed on from Course Manager Ian Kinley's resurrection of a wonderful old rough edged bunker to the right of the 5th fairway. This is something Mackenzie & Ebert had proposed as part of an overall masterplan some years ago. With the bunkering, old aerial images showed them as being much larger and rough edged hazards. Many of them had been lost over the years as well. The information was supplemented by the wonderful plan which the great Tom Simpson had drawn up which hangs in the men's changing room. This depicted some tremendous rough edged bunkers sketched out in his talented drawing style.

Some highlights of the project have been the full restoration of the carry bunkers at the par three 4th hole and the huge cross bunkers at the 16th. Some new bunkers have also been added to ensure that the course poses the right questions for the modern day elite players. They can be found at the 2nd (down the left and right), the 5th (two to the left), the 13th (down the right), the 15th (to the left) and at the 18th (to the left).

In addition, the flatness to the left of the 6th hole has been completely transformed with the construction of a range of dunes into which a bunker has been set. Some ecologically valuable sand areas have also been created where it was necessary to win material for the construction works.”

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Reviews for Royal Porthcawl

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Description: Royal Porthcawl Golf Club is located off the beaten track, east of Swansea and west of Cardiff. Despite being the highest ranked course in Wales, it remains relatively unknown. Rating: 9.1 out of 10 Reviews: 65
TaylorMade
Peter Lacey
Played yesterday for first time this year. Warm, sunny, high winds, typical links conditions and a traditional golf course deserving to be in the top 10 of British Golf Courses!! Well grassed but fine and wiry unlike many of the current top courses ive played, which to me are over-grassed and have lost some of the true seaside links character. Must be the best three starting holes on a golf course worldwide.
August 04, 2005
10 / 10
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Lee Abbey
I loved this course more for its views and playability (in reasonable conditions I should add). The clubhouse is a mixture of the old and the new and there is certainly more a sense of a green fee welcome rather than the friendly members you find in most of the courses in Wales. I couldn't fault this course to be honest and a must if your planning to tour these parts.
October 28, 2004
8 / 10
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Andy Newmarch
Tradition, tradition, tradition ........What you see is what you get. This is real quality from start to finish - great setting with the waves crashing dramatically right from the start. Holes towards the end of the round are long and tough with the 16th the hardest - long par 4, tricky to get on in two and would probably make its way on to a list of the hardest finishing holes on this website - (maybe an idea for the future ??)Clubhouse is very old school so be prepared ..... nice though .....As a rating I would put Porthcawl slightly lower than 22 - around the 40 mark for me.
September 20, 2004
6 / 10
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Billy
A thoroughly enjoyable experience at Royal Porthcawl. This is a very fair course, which played relatively easily from the yellows...we all played close to or better than our handicaps. In the afternoon we played off the whites and that's a different proposition. It's worth playing simply for the sea views - quite stunning. I really couldn't fault the course, but they could improve the service in the clubhouse...ordering bar food by telephone seems strange in the extreme. Unusual wooden clubhouse with a very traditional olde worlde golf club atmosphere.
September 18, 2004
8 / 10
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Hugh
Beautiful golf course - you can see the sea from every hole. A simply stunning golfing experience and a fantastic day out. But watch out, this course is so tough when the wind blows - a real test of golf. The clubhouse is warm and friendly too.
June 14, 2004
8 / 10
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