Top 50 Golf Courses of Wales 2020

26 November 2019 Respond to this article

Top 50 Golf Courses of Wales 2020

We first created a Top 15 for Wales back in 2006 but our coverage quickly doubled to a Top 30 before expanding to a Top 50 six years ago. We also now produce regional charts for North Wales, Mid Wales, South Wales and West Wales, enabling us to profile more than sixty courses across the entire country. Whether you’re looking for a lovely links layout on the coast or an intriguing inland track, there’s a good chance you’ll find what you’re looking for in our listings for Wales.

A couple of important golf tournaments were held here this year, with the Boys Home International played at Ashburnham and the Women’s Senior Amateur at Royal St David’s. Next year, there’s even more to look forward to as the Curtis Cup comes to Conwy in June, the St Andrews Trophy is held at Royal Porthcawl in July, and both the Girls and Ladies Home Internationals take place at Royal St David’s in August.

Of course, the championship venues attract most of the public attention but perhaps the nation’s greatest golfing asset is the number of outstanding “second tier” courses waiting to be discovered inside the Principality, many of which are of the “hidden gem” variety – even to Welshmen and women in other areas of the country who may well be unaware of what’s virtually on their doorstep.

There’s been a bit of a shake-up in the Top 10 tier of our revised chart for Wales, with only three of the courses remaining in the same position. One of the non-movers is Royal Porthcawl, which has retained the top spot for every edition of the listings that we have published. It’s also highly ranked in both our Great Britain & Ireland and World Top 100s so it will take something of seismic proportions to shift it from its current status as the national No. 1. And an ongoing bunker renovation project will do nothing to harm its standing as “Best in Wales”.

Royal Porthcawl Golf Club

Royal Porthcawl Golf Club

We posted four reviews for this layout last month, including comments such as: “from the first tee you know you’re on a special course ‘a stone’s throw’ from the sea… there is not a weak or inferior hole among the eighteen… the work they’ve done to improve the course and conditioning is exceptional… simply wonderful; there’s an energy, a feel about the course that constantly lets you know you’re in some place special.”

Looking at the courses just below Royal Porthcawl which are heading up the chart, Pennard (up two to #2) has recently completed a bunker renovation program and Conwy (up two to #5) is in its best shape ever as it prepares to host the finest female amateur players from Great Britain, Ireland and the United States of America when they compete in the 41st edition of the Curtis Cup next year.

Conwy Golf Club

Conwy Golf Club

Also moving in the right direction – up three places to number 6 – is the downland course at Southerndown, set high above the Ogmore River Valley, where architects such as Herbert Fowler, Willie Park Junior and Donald Steel have all had a hand in shaping the holes in play today. A reviewer last month said of it: “a few holes wouldn’t be out of place at nearby Royal Porthcawl… it’s such a steady, enjoyable test… Southerndown is a worthy addition to any visit to the area.”

Southerndown Golf Club

Southerndown Golf Club

Further down the listings, two courses make good progress in our Welsh table.

Welshpool (up five to #26) also hurdles over Cradoc to become the No. 2 course in Mid Wales. James Braid designed the hilltop layout in 1929, instructing his contractor John R Stutt to construct according to his plans, and nothing much has changed with this old-fashioned course in the ninety years since then. Golfers who like their golf both rugged and quirky will appreciate this place.

Welshpool Golf Club

Welshpool Golf Club

Fifty miles to the west, perched above Cardigan Bay, sits the Harry Vardon-designed course from 1911 at Aberystwyth (up nine to #41), which also now overtakes Carmarthen in the West Wales regional chart. Although it’s located by the seaside, the course is parkland in nature rather than links, but fickle coastal breezes are liable to play havoc with scores if the wind gets up here, as it often does.

Aberystwyth Golf Club

Aberystwyth Golf Club

There are four new entries in our Top 50.

The first of these, Builth Wells (new at #44), is strictly a re-entry, having appeared in the standings once before in 2016. St Mellons near Cardiff (new at #46) is a Harry Colt design from 1937; Henllys outside Baumaris on the Isle of Anglesey (new at #48) is of more recent vintage, opening in the late 1990s; and Milford Haven (new at #50) is the oldest of the newcomers, with the original nine holes brought into play in 1913.

Builth Wells Golf Club

Builth Wells Golf Club


Rank/ Course Move
1 Royal Porthcawl No change
2 Pennard Up 1
3 Aberdovey Down 1
4 Royal St David's No change
5 Conwy Up 2
6 Southerndown Up 3
7 Tenby Up 1
8 Ashburnham Down 2
9 Celtic Manor (Twenty Ten) Down 4
10 Pyle & Kenfig No change
11 Machynys Peninsula No change
12 Nefyn (Old) No change
13 North Wales No change
14 Llandrindod Wells Up 2
15 Bull Bay No change
16 St Pierre (Old) Down 2
17 Rolls of Monmouth No change
18 Borth & Ynyslas No change
19 Cardigan Up 1
20 Porthmadog Up 1
21 Holyhead Up 3
22 Pwllheli Up 4
23 Celtic Manor (Montgomerie) No change
24 Newport Down 2
25 Celtic Manor (Roman Road) Down 6
26 Welshpool Up 5
27 Whitchurch Down 2
28 Cardiff Up 4
29 Vale of Llangollen Down 2
30 Clyne No change
31 Cradoc Down 2
32 Prestatyn Down 4
33 Neath Up 2
34 Langland Bay No change
35 Vale (Wales National) Down 2
36 Abersoch Up 3
37 Wrexham Up 1
38 Maesdu Down 2
39 Radyr Down 2
40 Rhuddlan No change
41 Aberystwyth Up 9
42 Monmouthshire Down 1
43 Abergele No change
44 Builth Wells New entry
45 Carmarthen Down 1
46 St Mellons New entry
47 Anglesey Down 2
48 Henllys New entry
49 Wenvoe Castle Down 3
50 Milford Haven New entry


To view the complete detailed list of the Top 50 Golf Courses of Wales click the link.

Jim McCann
Editor
Top 100 Golf Courses