Peter Johnson, the Wales National designer and former professional at the Cardiff Club, first began the development of golf within the former estate of Hensol Castle, a Grade I listed 17th century stately home, when he built Vale’s other 18-hole layout, the 6,700-yard Lake course.
Following a visit to USA, he returned with the idea that Wales required a tougher, longer course to test the modern day golfer. Hence the Wales National course stretches to more than 7,400 yards over nearly 200 acres with five lake areas coming into play at half the holes on the card. A standard scratch score of 75 against a par of 73 lets you know that this course has been constructed with some serious golf in mind.
As Johnson says, “new golf technology has seen top golfers destroy the reputation of some of our traditional courses with their huge driving and we have to develop more challenging courses. However, I am a bit of a traditionalist and set out to mold the course into the countryside, making the most of the land's natural contours, features and waterways”.
Set within some beautiful Welsh countryside, the course contains a mix of wooded areas, wide and narrow fairways, along with some enormous water features and bunker complexes, with all putting surfaces constructed to USGA standard. The 495-yard 16th is rated by some as one of the best par fours in the UK with an incredibly undulating green that sees more than its fair share of three putts.