I was a bit sceptical in what to expect when going to play the wales national as the last few reviews were not good ones but also were from back in 2012.
This golf course is SEVERELY UNDERRATED!!!
I have played RSD, Conwy, Pennard, Aberdovey and P&K and the Wales National is up there with all of them. I think if this one wasn't on a big resort and was a normal members Golf club it would be rated much higher.
We played the day after a massive down pour and i was a bit worried after reading all the reviews about it being soggy,etc... the course was basically bone dry. The fairways were some of the best i've played on, the green rolled amazing, maybe just a bit slow but i guess they have to be with how undulating they are. And the bunkers were perfect, even after the rain.
I wanted to play off the Tips but we were playing with my friends dad who is off 22 so we agreed to play off the whites. It is very much a risk and reward golf course which i love, if you are willing to cut off corners and go over tree's, it really does pay off. But if you make a mistake, you get punished severely.
The opening hole is a dogleg left, you can hit driver over the corner and have 130/140 in or play safe and hit a 3 irons or something, leaving 190/200 in. This kind of sets the tone for the round.
The second is an absolutely stunning par 5, you hit your tee shot just over the ridge then there's a big drop down to the green with water in front, the whole fairway is lines with trees on both sides and makes for a very daunting tee shot.
There are some other fantastic holes on the front 9, 6 is a drivable par 4, is about 270/280 down hill, luckily we had it down wind as well so i went for it with me 3 wood and was safely aboard the middle of the green about 20 foot from the flag, this is very much risk and reward as it's a really tight hole with water all across the front of the green. You can hit 6/7 iron and leave yourself a flick of a wedge in or go for it!
7 is a very reachable par 5 if you're willing to take a driver over the corner again, 8 is an uphill par 3 with a very undulating green, you need to make sure you get your ball on the same level as the flag and 9 is a great par 4 to end the front 9, you take your drive over the corner and you'll have nothing more than a wedge to this green.
The back 9 in my eyes is definitely the better/harder of the 2, it begins straight away with a tough par 5, this is one i went for the safer option on as i was on a good score, i hit 3 iron so i was short of the water, you can hit driver but you'll be aiming in a fairly tight gap. The lay up is tough as theres water all the way down the left up to the green and trees all down the right. Not an easy start to the back 9.
11 is one where you can cut the corner with a drive over the trees or hit 5 iron to the big tree in the middle of the fairway, then you have a short par 3. 13 is a very tough, long par 4 with lots of bunkers and water down the right.
14, 15 and 16 are a fantastic stretch of holes. 14 is a short down hill par 3 with water all in front and a 2 tier green, if the pins at the front you can use the slope behind the flag to bring it back down to the hole, one of the best par 3s ive played, 15 is a long par 5, have to carry your tee shot over water, then your shot into the green is also over 2 lakes, this is another risk and reward kind of hole, where you can go for it in 2 or just lay up and have a flick into the green. 16 is a long par 4, dogleg right. A good drive will give you a chance of getting it near the green in 2, be aware there is also water down the right of the green.
In my eyes 17 is probably the weakest hole on the course, as when you're stood on the tee, its not easy to work out where you need to go, this is a dogleg right, again you can cut off some of the hole by going over the tree's which lives a mid iron into probably the flattest green on the course! 18 is a good finishing holes, uphill par 4 with a daunting tee shot as the road up to the hotel is all down the right, there is also water up near the green again and a par on this hole is a great way to finish.
To summarise, i genuinely don't know how this course isn't in the top 10 in Wales? It is a fantastic course in fantastic condition with some of the best holes i have played. I hope this rating will mean the Wales National course will be reviewed and moved up 20 odd spots to where it belongs.
The Vale resort is fantastic, the 'lakes course' is also a great course to go with this one, it has some fantastic holes and the 1 night, 2 rounds package is well worth the driver, wherever you are.
Date: June 25, 2019