It mixes challenge with charm to produce an exhilarating links golfing experience. It stands head and shoulders above anything else on this stretch of coastline and it is very easy to see why it’s such a popular repeat venue for many golfers.
Easily accessible from major North-West cities such as Manchester and Liverpool I suspect many inland golf club members will head here for high quality golf 12 months of the year.
At Conwy, officially founded in 1890 but with play dating back to 1869, you can expect all the thrills and spills associated with links golf including uneven stances and unpredictable bounces but here there is an undeniable fairness to it all. Everything is laid out in front of you, nothing is hidden; you get what you deserve. And that is probably why this respected links has hosted so many notable championships for professionals and elite amateurs. The course is as honest as the day is long.
At 6,910 yards from the blue tees it plays to a par of 72 versus a SSS of 75. I’ll let you do the match and work out just how demanding it can be. The exposed nature of the course, jutting out from the Morfa, also means that the wind is an ever-present threat. This is particularly the case on the first two-thirds of the course before you move away from the shore and where gorse-lined fairways then become the main danger.
There doesn’t come anything close to a poor hole at Conwy. Sure, there are holes that are relatively weaker than the others but the real strength of the course lies in its strength in depth, its consistency. Holes such as the sixth and 17th are a couple of holes that didn’t set my personal pulse racing but they are far from inferior.
At the other end of the scale I will highlight two holes that in my opinion stand out above the rest. The 156-yard second is a glorious par-three with undulations and swales in all the right places. The angled green is perfectly defended by sand traps on the right and the putting surface is just wonderfully contoured.
The seventh is also worthy of special mention. At 450 yards it is a long hole, although we had the wind at our backs on our visit, where you are asked to shape your ball from right-to-left off the tee before playing to a magnificent green setting, hard by the shore but nestled at the foot of the surrounding dunes.
The other 14 holes not mentioned are either very good or excellent. Some big hitting is required with three two-shotters exceeding the 440-yard mark and a quartet of par-fives in the space of just six holes during the middle of the round. This you might think is overkill but each of the four has its own identity and importantly they are played to different points of the compass.
The course set-up was perfect for our round in August 2015. The wispy rough framed each hole beautifully but its bark was worse than its bite with balls easily findable but still difficult to control. The greens were true and although not quick I suspect if they were to hold a tournament the following day they could have been.
Overall Conwy is quite a flat course, there are very few major changes in elevation, but there are enough undulations on the fairways and around the greens to maintain a high level of interest and keep you on your toes. Conwy doesn’t have the quirk-factor that some links enthusiast seek rather the joy of this course is its persistent and consistent challenge.
Away from the golf the clubhouse is perfectly situated and enjoys stunning views out over the links. Conwy really is a very fine place to golf.
Following a 4:00am alarm call we’d already driven for more than six hours and covered over 350 road miles before boarding a ferry at Oban sailing to Lochboisdale.
The Halifax Golf Club, often better known as Ogden, is a course that divides opinion.