Southerndown - South Wales - Wales

Southerndown Golf Club,
Ogmore-by-Sea,
Bridgend,
CF32 0QP,
Wales


  • +44 (0) 1656 880476


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"Not far from Porthcawl – as the aeroplane flies – is another excellent course, Southerndown," wrote Bernard Darwin, in The Golf Courses of the British Isles. "It is perched high aloft and looks down on Porthcawl, amid the many other glories of a beautiful view. You may look out far over the sea, or again over a wide stretch of English – or rather Welsh – landscape. The breezes blow cool and fresh here, and on a still and stifling August day, when the golfer is almost too limp to crawl round Porthcawl, he will be wise to refresh himself by a round on the heights of Southerndown."

Southerndown Golf Club's elevated site, high above the Ogmore River Valley, provides arresting views across the Bristol Channel. Over time, sand has blown up from the seashore, coming to rest on the rolling slopes and giving the turf at Southerndown a rather links-like character. In fact, you would be hard pressed to categorise the course – it's quite unique – but one thing is for sure, it's absolutely natural. There are no trees or artificial water hazards, just bracken, gorse and bunkers waiting to trap the wayward drive. Oh yes, we'd almost forgotten, there are a couple of other things – the ever-present wind and the sheep – serious hazards in their own right.

Willie Fernie originally laid down the course in 1905. But this wasn't the same Willie Fernie who won the British Open Championship in 1883 – it was his namesake – a fact we learnt from Southerndown's knowledgeable Secretary. The hands of a number of great architects have touched Southerndown over the years (Herbert Fowler, Willie Park Junior and more recently, Donald Steel) but its lineage remains intact.

"Bracken to the left of you, bracken to the right – and a fairway rising up to the sky," was how the great Henry Cotton saw Southerndown's opening hole. It's certainly a most challenging two-shot hole and it's followed by two more, which are equally tough. The four par threes at Southerndown are noteworthy, especially the 5th hole, known as "Carter's Folly" – it's expertly bunkered and calls for an accurate iron shot.

James Braid and Harry Vardon predicted that Southerndown would become a great course, and they were right. It's hosted a number of important events including the Piccadilly Masters and the Martini International. The most notable current event is the Welsh amateur competition, called the Duncan Putter, an annual 72-hole competition, which has seen Peter McEvoy and Gary Wolstenholme emerging as winners.

No trip to South Wales would be complete without a game at Southerndown – it's an exciting experience with a warm and inviting clubhouse, which completes the perfect day.

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Reviews for Southerndown

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Description: Over time, sand has blown up from the seashore, coming to rest on the rolling slopes and giving the turf at Southerndown Golf Club a rather links-like character. Rating: 7 out of 10 Reviews: 23
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Jakob Thomsen

Played Southerndown a monday afternoon mid-July after reading the reviews on this site and was quite dissapointed. Primarily with the general condition of the course, which was a little surprising as we had asked beforehand in the proshop and been told it was “good”!! The dry - bordering dead - fairways were probably due to the dryspell. The greens however where green and watered but also slow and scruffy. Without any clear definition of fairways from part of the surroundings we found the front9 very average. The two short holes are quite good though and the view of the coastline from the first holes is great. The back9 is quite a lot better, especially holes 12 through 15. All in all the condition of the course was a BIG letdown, and I have to advice visitors not to take the word of the otherwise kind guy in the proshop for good but rather go and see for yourself before you pay the greenfee.

July 22, 2019
3 / 10
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Stuart Eastwood

How would you describe this links in the sky… moundy, bumpy, sheepy, fun? All true. Classy golf course with superb greens. Plenty gorse to avoid!

May 17, 2019
7 / 10
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Kevin Henley

Really enjoyed the variety of challenges going round this superb links course.

Well deserved place in the rankings

April 30, 2019
8 / 10
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Simon Appleyard

Played Southerndown on a warm day in late May with little or no breeze and hard running fairways after an extended period of good weather. The course was excellent, although the greens were the slowest of our week in Wales, still very true however. The lack of wind made some of the stroke indexes seem peculiar with the long uphill 3rd showing as SI 13 while the shorter, easier4th was SI 7. I suspect in a strong wind those holes may have player rather differently. This is a very natural course and the resident sheep wander freely around although that had no impact on our game - unlike Pennard where we had to wait a few times while the cattle chose to cross our fairway. There is a lot of gorse so hitting off-line is likely to be penalised but, in most cases, the fairways were wide enough that the drives did not feel too daunting. I enjoyed this course a lot and would happily play it again if back in the area.

Played May 2017

May 30, 2017
8 / 10
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Ed Battye

Southerndown is unlike many courses I have played before and really has its own identity. Set slightly inland from the sea on very high ‘downland’ ground the course has all the playing characteristics of a true links with some superb and spectacular looking holes traversing wonderful sandy ground where sheep roam freely.

Regardless of what type of course this is (I think I settled on downland links) it’s a real joy to play and although trouble lurks, mainly in the form of gorse and bracken, the width and relative lack of rough ensure that it is the strategy of the course that presents the challenge and is the order of the day.

The ground game is often required on this exposed and very natural course which dramatically climbs uphill at the first hole before twisting and turning across gentle undulating land for the majority of the round before gradually descending over the final few holes. With the firm fairways it’s an easy walk and I seemed to fly round on my visit.

Not much is hidden at Southerndown. There is the occasional blind drive but most of the bunkers are laid out before you and this allows the golfer to plot their way round or risk taking on the hazards in order to set up shorter shots into the green.

Southerndown is a bit quirky at times and great fun but also undoubtedly provides an excellent test of golf.

If you are heading to South Wales this course must be high on your list of priorities to play. I felt it was a real treat to play here and came away with a wide smile on my face having done so.

Ed is the founder of Golf Empire – click the link to read his full review.

May 05, 2017
7 / 10
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David Baxter

Played Southerndown for the first time in July 2016 in their mixed open. Biggest surprise was the glorious location adjacent Ogmore-by-Sea with sea, river and inland countryside views. As per other reviews, sheep, gorse and wind were all factors. Course was generally in good condition (apart from a few greens which were a bit below the others); the welcome, clubhouse and practise facilities were also good. After the uphill first the course tends to be on a plateau and holes were generally interesting with good bunkering. Three downhill par 3's in the first 10 holes was quite unusual, and I thought the course really got going after that. The finish from hole 15 onwards was for me the best part of the course with hole 18 an excellant finishing par 4 (an unusual two tier fairway, into the wind and heading towards the bay and prominent clubhouse). Well worth a game and look forward to returning

July 11, 2016
6 / 10
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Doug Roberts
Southerndown is a pleasant course. We arrived and were surprised by the tight entry up the hill…And then the fence which keeps the sheep in…And they love to sleep in the shaded deep face bunkers. The course is nice and playable for all. It has some great views as it sits on the hillside overlooking Swansea Bay in the distance. I am very glad we got to play here but not so sure a return to the area would create a return. The course is just average and whilst we travel thousands of miles to play great links golf. I’m not gonna say this one deserves a great. As I sit here now I can honestly only remember 4 holes in entirety. I pen my reviews from memory. My standard bearer to great courses is how many sit in my memory bank…Great is more than 4…
October 09, 2015
6 / 10
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Nick Adams
I last reviewed Southerndown 4 years ago and I notice I awarded a 6 ball. In hindsight as much as I enjoy this course that may have been slightly high.I played again yesterday in a strong wind and enjoyed it very much, not a lot has changed. However I think I have to take one mark away, for the simple reason I could not see one distance marker on the course, although I'am fairly sure they must have some. I would also like to query with Southerndown members or non members why the 460 yard par 5 6th hole that almost always plays downwind is rated stroke index 2, I think it is about the easiest hole relative to par on the course. One of my partner's with the luxury of a double shot comfortably knocked it on in 2 and was putting for 6 points! He did four putt mind but still walked away with 3 points. Fine course, very friendly club as well.Nick
July 22, 2015
8 / 10
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Maarten
Southerndown was the first course we played on our tour through South Wales and North Devon, and it turned out to be the perfect place for a nice afternoon-round. The club is set in a very tranquil atmosphere between peaceful sheep, just chilling in the bushes, which can be awkward when, hypothetically ofcourse, you have to retrieve your wayward ball there. The course is very undulated and you’re required to hit some blind shots, especially when you’re out of position. The conditions were a little scruffy around the edges but that never really bothered me. As the curse isn’t overly long, positioning is of great importance. Especially towards the end of the round there are some really good golf holes that wouldn’t be out of place on some great classic courses. The two leveled fairway on the dogleg-right finishing hole for example, is an absolute cracker. The par 3s are often played from a raised tee over a chasm. The Carling afterwards tasted delicious, while enjoying some beautiful views over the coast. That about sums up my memories of Southerndown: it’s an ideal club for a laidback summer-evening-round and an ideal warmup for the other great courses in the area. Maarten (MO)
February 04, 2015
6 / 10
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paul savage
Played Southerndown Tues 10th June 14.Great course, tricky layout, great hospitality.One to play
June 20, 2014
6 / 10
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