It may not be in the same class as its near neighbour, Aberdovey, located on just the other side of the Dovey Estuary but lovers of links golf will find enough here to warrant a visit. However, those who have a dislike for the superior form of the game will probably hate it!
Established in 1885 Borth & Ynyslas is one of the oldest, arguably the most senior, in Wales. There is no doubt that it is a traditional links course with a rugged, at times almost scruffy, feel to it. Some of the tees were a little unkempt, the fairways hadn’t been cut for a considerable amount of time and there were animal scrapings on some of them. That said, it kind of works here and I loved it.
There was a real feeling of this is how golf was played many decades ago, almost like going back in time, and so much the better for it.
Equipment may have developed over the years too and where modern technology has rendered many courses obsolete the challenge of Borth & Ynyslas remains. Running on a narrow strip of land just a stones through from Borth beach I can imagine the wind howling off the sea and making the course play a lot more difficult than its 6,086 yards may suggest.
The opening and closing holes are particularly tight with accuracy off the tee essential. The beach (a lateral water hazard) is on your left for the opening few holes whilst the entrance road also runs down the right at the second and third then comes back in to play at the 15th, 16th and 17th.
The land that the first three and last four holes are played over is much flatter than the middle part of the course and whilst there are some good holes, the second is a belter, it is holes four through 14 that show the best that Borth has to offer.
The fourth is a sweeping par five played around a large house, the fifth and sixth are both interesting par fours and although the short seventh isn’t a great hole the view from the tee is spectacular. Eight is another par five, in a similar vein to the fourth, and the ninth, a tricky par three, begins the journey home.
The best stretch of the course is from the 10th to the 14th. These holes mostly have large dunes running down the right and although they are not really in play they do help frame this delightful run of holes.
The 10th is a strong par four played to an impressive raised green complex and the next is a very good par three played from within the dunes to a secluded green fronted by bunkers. The 12th is a short par four played to a tiny green virtually surrounded, and therefore almost hidden, by sand hills. The dunes give way to sea views at the next two holes, the 13th is a reachable par five whereas the 14th is a superb par three played right along the sea edge to an excellent green complex.
The best way to play Borth & Ynyslas would perhaps be to combine it with a trip to Aberdovey and possibly Royal St. David’s. It’s not at the same level as these two Welsh greats but would be a welcome accompaniment for those seeking true links golf.
Eyemouth is an easy-going, golf course with many different sections but mostly plays along the clifftops of the beautiful coastline close to the England-Scotland border.
There is something about Elie that puts you under a spell. It is a truly magical links that, after just one round, has won a place in my heart and mind forever.