If there's anything in golf more important to achieve it's "fun golf" and you see that dimension front and center when playing at Pennard. The location of the course high on the Gower Peninsula gives the course a geographic location of distinction. The wind can blow violently at times but when the weather cooperates it's hard to take issue with what the course provides time after time.
While a number of so-called "championship" layouts overdose on undue length and inane heights of rough just off the fairways -- at Pennard you get an appropriate test for the masses so that success for different levels of handicaps is clearly present. Mind you -- Pennard doesn't give anything away easily. The demands are there but the degree of the test rests on how bold and how much risk the player wishes to take on throughout the round.
The par-4 7th is certainly a gem of a hole - aptly named "Castle." I especially like the par-4 9th which calls upon two solid strikes to get near the long par-4.
For those who need ideal turf conditions a round at Pennard will be a test of one's patience. Fairway lies can be uneven in terms of overall quality and while the ensemble of different animals roaming the grounds is part of the allure -- it can be a bit much to have the menagerie moving about like a lost episode of Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom with Marlin Perkins.
Pennard excels in having holes that don't repeat what is needed to succeed. Superior design is about adjustments -- not falling into predictable patterns that make a test of golf far less so.
I have always been a firm believer that no less than 60% of any superior golf course is tied to the land the layout occupies. Pennard is a visual treat to the eyes. The land moves in all sorts of directions and when concluding the round it's likely you'll be yearning for another crack at the track.
by M. James Ward
We played on a glorious sunny if breezy day. Pennard is a very tough and dramatic course, featuring some long carries. it requires you to bring your A game . The course offers lovely views, and is a real links, that is some long rough, blind shots, and you will want to have played before to know where to hit it. Boasts some great holes, the 10th an awesome dog leg par 5, and great variety with quirky short par 4s.
Mmm a very difficult review to write ! Played on a sunny breezy day. Absolutely loved the course and the experience, just great fun and to a certain extent eccentric. From a purists perspective, it is a good course – there are too many slight negatives to be a great course, such as 1/. No really “great” holes. There were some that were “great” off the tee, but lacked in some way thereafter eg 7th. Others had world class approaches but off blind tee shots eg 9, 14 and 17. 2/. 7 dogleg right to left holes against 1 slight left to right moving hole. 3/. The par 5 10th is not a good hole. With the severe slope from the tee and the fairway running out of room at 260, it is a 5 iron off the tee, and everyone is left with the same length shot for their second shot. In summary though, there is far more to love and enjoy (the views (6th fairway, 7th green and approach to 16 (wow), the quirkiness, variety of par 3s, the friendly welcome, proper links turf
Pennard is one of those fantastic links golf courses that has a little bit of everything.
Its remote and rugged location on the Gower Peninsula mixes strategy and quirkiness to good effect and boasts a handful of truly excellent holes. The high cliff-top setting also provides some of the best views you're likely to see from a golf course.
The par three holes at Pennard are particularly strong with the fifth and 11th both contenders for the best hole on the course. The former is played downhill to a delightful green, bunkered on both sides, with multiple pin locations that change the dynamic of the hole whilst the latter is played over a wide, barren expanse to an angled green with a solitary bunker cut into the hill just short of the green. The slope of the land and placement of the green allows a ball to be fed in from the left for those not brave enough to fire straight at the heart of the green. Holes two and 15 are also sound short holes, the 15th has a wonderfully long green with three subtle levels.
The first and third are both solid enough two-shotters but it is the four holes that complete the front nine which catch the eye the most. Each has varying degrees of right-to-left shape to them and being on the correct side of the fairways is important to obtain the best line into the flag. The fairways at Pennard generally, but on these holes in particular, are littered with swales and hollows creating a feeling of magical golf. The 14th hole on the back-nine is another that matches this quartet for quality and strategy.
Pennard, however, isn't without fault and some of the holes border on unplayable at times when the fairways are baked dry and hard thanks to the undulating fairways.
The 12th is an unusually short par four with a large gathering bunker just short of the green and this is probably the weakest hole on the course.
Dubbed the 'links in the sky' because of its elevated position Pennard is a true links course worthy of a visit and one you are sure to have great fun playing. Just don't expect to find your ball exactly where you think it should be because of the fabulous rising and falling fairways!
Ed is the founder of Golf Empire – click the link to read his full review.
I played Pennard in the clubs Open on 10th September with a friend on what was a sunny Saturday. We had driven all the way done form London & arrived about 15mins before our tee time ( cutting it a bit close!) The friendly welcome from all the members in the club house & the starter on the first tee was 1 class. Lovely people & a great start to any round. As for the course. Well Pennard literally gets better every hole. Some of the views, partially on the back 9 are stunning.
The links fairways are in fine condition as our the greens. Amazing views abound of the coast & the castle. I’ve seldom played a course with such a great variety of holes. Each one had great personality. I am a member at Blackmoor golf club in Hampshire & will be recommending Pennard to anyone heading down to Wales in the future.
The greeting after the round was equally good. The members here should be very proud of the quality of their course but equally as proud of a club which obviously has a great feeling of community.