A Gem on the South Welsh coast
What a pleasant surprise! Royal Porthcawl is certainly a great links course that will test every aspect of your game and you’ll love it.
Royal Porthcawl has been the hosted to a number of prestigious championships over the years and it’ll also host the Senior Open for the first time in 2014.
It’s a very welcoming club and the hospitality is generous. The clubhouse has a stunning view over the ocean and in the old part you certainly feel the genuine history of the club. Sit in one of the “traps”, zip on a cup of tea and just soak in the history and magnificent scenery – magic.
The course is not a traditional links course with 9 holes out and 9 holes back. It has three holes by the ocean and the rest is nestling on the slopes towards the ocean. There are no sand dunes on the golf course, so you can see the ocean from each single hole. The holes are facing all sorts of directions and you need to manage the wind from different directions all the time – it’s a real test and you’ll need every club you have.
The design of the holes is appealing and the variation is great. The long par 4’s are a real test and most of them are around 420 yards. They can be brutal in the wind. Brutal, but fair and they’ll test all your skills to the maximum.
Let’s not forget about the deep penalizing bunkers that come in to play all the time. Just avoid them and you’ll be fine.
The last stretch of holes is very tough and it starts on the 15th (422 yards par 4) followed by the 16th (426 yards par 4), 17th (493 yards par 5) and the 18th (410 yards par 4) – great finish.
Four great holes are:
Hole 5 – 486 yards par 5
Slight dogleg left and it slopes upwards through a narrow gap to the green. Fairway bunkers to be avoided off tee and you’ll have out of bounds on the entire left hand side. This is a birdie opportunity, but be careful. 260 yards drive avoiding the fairway bunkers, 4-iron up the hill in good position to the temp (green is currently being redone and improved) green, 3 put for a par.
Hole 7 – 119 yards par 3
A narrow green protected by six bunkers – it’s easy to miss the green. 9-iron slightly long but on green, two put for a par.
Hole 15 – 422 yards par 4
A tough hole with two deep fairway bunkers in a hollow about 270 yards off tee. Get you drive as close to the bunkers as you can, if not you’ll have a very long and difficult approach shot to the green – great hole. Good drive ended up in the bunker, short second, but out of the bunker, 9-iron short of green, 3 put for a double bogey 6. I can do better then this!
Hole 16 – 426 yards par 4
The prevailing wind will be with you and you need to judge the drive well. Three huge deep bunkers are cutting off the fairway about 230 yards off tee. Don’t even think about carrying them, you need at least a 250 yards carry. The second shot will be long and intimidating, avoid the cross bunkers and the long bunker protecting the green. A bogey 5 is well done. A bogey 5 is exactly what I did. Fairway wood short of the bunkers, 5-iron short of green, 3 put for a bogey 5.
My friends from Chamonix, Daniel Dagorn and Gunnel Edenius joined me at Royal Porthcawl. We had a great day, mostly in sunshine and with a strong wind. This was the first links experience for Daniel and Gunnel and I believe they learned a lot about links golf. They did well.
I’m very happy with my own game and all aspects of the game worked well. Yes, the putting could have been better, but…. Did a 39 on the front nine and 40 on the back for a total of 79 (gross). Did knock down a birdie on the par 5 12th – great feeling.
Royal Porthcawl also have accommodation on site that is great and good value for money. We used it.
Royal Porthcawl is a very enjoyable and testing links course. I’ll come back and play it again. The only way to discover it is to play it – you’ll enjoy the experience.
Royal Porthcawl Golf Club