An exhilarating links that builds during the round to a great finish

North Wales

North Wales Golf Club

North Wales Golf Club

Date Reviewed
August 28, 2015
Reviewed by Ed Battye
Founded in 1894 North Wales Golf Club, on the West Shore at Llandudno, is a course that is admired by many and provides some good old fashioned authentic links golf.

It also has excellent views over the Conwy estuary to Anglesey and the Snowdonia Mountain range.

The course stands proudly as one of the most popular and best value-for-money venues in Wales.

Not long by modern standards the par 71, 6,254-yard layout changes character a few times during the round and depending upon your personal tastes this will determine just how much you love it. But love it you will.

The first two holes give an immediate introduction to the challenge of links golf with the second hole being one of the best on the entire layout as it snakes through low lying dunes before you play to a well defended green with all the natural humps and bumps that you would expect to find on a course of this ilk.

The next few holes are not as linksy in feel but, from the back tees especially, they provide the sternest of challenges. A ditch must be avoided at the third whilst the par-three fourth, played into the teeth of a brisk wind on our visit, requires a mighty blow. The uphill par-five fifth also asks for big hitting and culminates in a fine green complex. The downhill sixth offers some relief and is followed by the second of the three par fives which now takes us close to the coastline and the start of a memorable stretch of golf.

From this point on North Wales really provides a rollercoaster ride as the terrain changes and is now more undulating in nature. The eighth is a lovely hole; blind drive, tumbling fairway and an intimidating green setting. The next three holes, all two-shotters, are played hard against the shore where anything left from the tee will be on Penmorfa Beach; the ninth in particular is a thrilling driving hole.

The good golf continues at the 12th before you play the first of three short holes at the next in the exceptional last third of the course; each one of the short holes is nothing less than excellent but also importantly all different and extremely fun to play. The first of these at the 13th heads into the deepest duneland at North Wales and the secluded green is likely to require a mid to long iron in order to find the putting surface.

The long par-five 14th brings us back to the clubhouse and is another good hole whilst the 15th, named The Valley, is a fantastic par-four with yet another stunning green location, this time raised, in the dunes.

That then brings us to what North Wales is often famed for; its back-to-back par-threes at holes 16 and 17. Named O.L (Oh Hell) and L.O. (Hello) they criss-cross each other in a majestic corner of the property. The first is longer and played over a large dune to a hidden punchbowl green. The second is much shorter but the green is raised, fronted by a bunker, and very difficult to hold. It’s a magical part of the course and you could have endless fun repeatedly playing these two one-shotters.

The course ends in fine style too with a sweeping par four from an elevated tee to a falling fairway. This brings the end to a highly enjoyable golf course with bags of character.

North Wales may not be long by modern standards but you are asked to hit many different types of shots and in my opinion the final six holes are up there amongst the best, certainly the most fun, you will play in Wales.

The links purists may not care as much for the four or five holes from the third but in terms of making a score these are crucial to your round and good golf is certainly required. Interestingly on the scorecard there is both a 15-hole and 14-hole loop that members can play. The 15-hole course omits holes 3, 4 and 5 whilst the 14-hole layout misses out 15, 16, 17 and 18. I know which I would choose to play but in truth you will want to play all 18.

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