Welcome to the ninth biennial edition of our rankings for Wales. We started out with a modest Top 15 for the country in 2006 which we then doubled in size four years later. By 2014 we’d extended the listings further to a Top 50 and that’s how things have remained since – what’s also remained constant over the last sixteen years is the identity of the nation’s No. 1 golfing layout.
It will come as no surprise to many that the links at Royal Porthcawl Golf Club is still our #1 track in Wales. Not only is it prominently positioned in our Britain & Ireland Top 100, the course also occupies a notable spot within our World Top 100 chart. Harry Colt carried out modifications before World War I, followed by Taylor & Hawtree in the 1920s then Tom Simpson in the 1930s. Martin Ebert has further upgraded the bunkering in the last few years.
Review comments received so far this year include: ”the course from the get go demands the ability to shape shots and thread between the numerous and cavernous bunkers… playing Royal Porthcawl is a unique delight, like spending an unexpected afternoon being utterly surprised by your lest favourite child… the enjoyable and engaging test, supreme condition of the course, endless sea views and characterful clubhouse make this one of those courses you’ll want to return to again and again.”
Royal St David’s
Having occupied the runner-up position between 2006 and 2016 in our standings for Wales, the links at Royal St David’s Golf Club in Harlech moves up two places to regain the #2 spot. Many regard it as one of the toughest par 69 tracks you’ll ever play – and it concludes, unusually with a par three! Host venue for quite a number of leading national and international amateur championships down the years, Royal St David’s is certainly capable of identifying the best players from the also rans.
Rising two spots (up to #6), the course at Ashburnham Golf Club in Burry Port dates back to when the club was founded in 1894. J.H. Taylor deserves much of the design credit for the layout as he made alterations shortly before World War I but Fred G. Hawtree subsequently made changes, as did Ken Cotton (who was a member here) after World War II. The course is often overlooked by visiting golfers to Wales but it should be regarded as a mainstay of any play list.
A little further down the chart, the 18-hole layout at Bull Bay Golf Club on the island of Anglesey also climbs two places to #13. Not too many golfers will be aware it’s a pre-World War I Herbert Fowler design which hasn’t changed much in over a century of play (apart from modifications to three holes in the early 1970s to accommodate an oil pipeline for a tank farm at Rosch).
In the bottom half of the new standings, a couple of courses make significant positional gains.
The first of these is found at Langland Bay Golf Club outside Swansea (up eight to #26) which James Braid improved (mainly carrying out bunker modifications) in 1936. Our correspondent Javier Pintos posted last year that “it will never be a very long famous course but trust me it is one that will open every single golfer’s eyes… one great walk in a fantastic piece of land.”
A significant upward move is made by the course at Wrexham Golf Club, (up seven to #30) which is another James Braid layout from the early 1920s that was remodelled after part of the property had been requisitioned by the Air Ministry during World War II. Consequently, there’s very little of the old master’s work left, apart from three or four greens that might still be in play, as suggested by old local maps.
The highest of four new entries comes into the listings at number 41 and it’s the course at Mountain Ash Golf Club in the Cynon Valley which was actually fashioned as a 20-hole layout before two holes were abandoned in 1922 to leave the course that’s still in operation a hundred years later. Measuring 5,726 from the back tees, Mountain Ash plays to a par of 69, with only two par fives on the card.
Dropping out to make way for these new courses are Builth Wells, Carmarthen, Henllys and Wenvoe Castle.
|1||Royal Porthcawl||No change|
|2||Royal St David's||Up 2|
|9||Celtic Manor (Twenty Ten)||No change|
|10||Pyle & Kenfig||No change|
|11||Machynys Peninsula||No change|
|12||North Wales||Up 1|
|13||Bull Bay||Up 2|
|14||Nefyn (Old)||Down 2|
|15||Llandrindod Wells||Down 1|
|16||Rolls of Monmouth||Up 1|
|17||St Pierre (Old)||Down 1|
|18||Borth & Ynyslas||No change|
|25||Celtic Manor (Roman Road)||No change|
|26||Langland Bay||Up 8|
|27||Celtic Manor (Montgomerie)||Down 4|
|36||Vale (Wales National)||Down 1|
|38||Vale of Llangollen||Down 9|
|41||Mountain Ash||New entry|
|44||Bangor St. Deiniol||New entry|
|46||Swansea Bay||New entry|
|48||Milford Haven||Up 2|
|49||St Mellons||Down 3|
|50||Padeswood & Buckley||New entry|
To view the complete detailed list of our new Top 50 Golf Courses of Wales chart click the link.
If you have any comment to make on the above chart then please use the “Respond to this article” link at the top or bottom of this page.
Top 100 Golf Courses