Great fun, plenty of quirk and some really cool features


Holyhead Golf Club

Date Reviewed
March 15, 2016
Reviewed by Ed Battye
Holyhead is a cracking little golf course located close to Trearddur Bay on Holy Island, Anglesey.

Enjoying fantastic views towards the mountains of Snowdonia and situated only a mile from the port of Holyhead, gateway to Ireland, the course is a challenging heathland cum moorland hybrid with some interesting greens and unusual features.

It’s a gem of a track, designed by James Braid in 1912, that has bags of character and some really cool holes.

Arguably the best stretch of holes is right at the start of the round where the opening quartet head in a linear direction away from the elevated clubhouse.

The rise to the first green, located in a hidden dell, certainly grabs your attention before you play the very impressive par-three second with its green perched on a high plateau with sharp drop-offs to contend with. The 479-yard third is a marvellous hole and although not quite of the same pedigree it has elements of the magnificent fourth at Tenby and the same numbered iconic hole at Rye as it plays along a hogs back. The fourth, another short hole, is also a true delight.

Turning back on oneself holes five through eight are perhaps the dullest part of the round but none is without merit. The course then springs back into life at the ninth where a mound in the fairway obscures anything except the most perfectly positioned drive at this tempting par-five with a secluded green.

The entirety of the back-nine, save for the last, is hidden from view until you make the walk from the ninth green to the tenth tee. I had my fingers crossed that I would find more of the same on the second half of the course and my hopes were realised.

The tenth is a magnificent hole that sweeps left-to-right downhill through a mass of gorse and bracken; not an uncommon feature at Holyhead. Holes 11, 12, 15 and 16 are all situated in a more open part of the course but each has its subtleties, none more so than the splendid 11th with a domed green setting that really makes you earn your par.

The short 13th, the up-and-over 17th and the home hole are all enjoyable but the one I will remember most on the inward half is the 14th; a risk-reward 268-yard par four that funnels up the hillside, through rocky outcrops covered in more gorse and fern, and where laying up is almost as scary as going for the green due to the tightness of the hole. In a nutshell this is Holyhead.

I teed-off before the pro-shop was open so I didn’t have a scorecard and therefore didn’t really pay any attention to the yardage or pars of each hole. I just hit the shot that I thought was required. This is probably the best way to play Holyhead but for the statisticians par is 71, SSS is 70 and the maximum yardage is 6,090. It wasn’t until after my round that I realised for sure that the 3rd (479 yards), 9th (476 yards) and 10th (478 yards) were indeed par-fives on the card and not long par fours. Not that it matters a jot, in fact I preferred not knowing.

Holyhead regard themselves as a jewel in the crown of Welsh golf and I think they might just be right.

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