In 2015 it will host the Welsh Amateur Championship amongst other tournaments and at 6,825 yards from the back tee markers there’s no doubt this varied links is a test for the very best.
There’s a good mix of holes throughout the round which in my opinion gets better and more interesting as the round progresses. The stretch of holes from the 10th through to the 14th is of a particularly high standard.
The front nine, played closer to the sea but on flatter and softer ground, goes about its business in an economical manner but still has plenty of challenge and presents several options on a number of holes. Indeed an important choice must be made on the very first tee as to how much of the marshland you should bite off on your tee-shot. A tough decision with your first strike of the day!
The par-five third is also full of strategy before you play three strong holes along the coastline but with the sea hidden at all times by a line of dunes. The par three sixth is a good hole and the next par five, the seventh, has a risk-reward element for the approach and features some lovely bumpy links ground around the isolated green; a glimmer of things to come later in the round.
The eighth and ninth complete the outward half in the form of two par fours that both have merit and run in opposite directions. A ditch encircles most of the green at the latter and must be negotiated with what is likely to be a short but tricky approach.
It’s actually the 10th that returns you to the clubhouse with the layout at Prestatyn effectively comprising two loops, also divided by the Prestatyn Gutter canal. And this is where the course starts to come into its own. The 10th itself is a relatively straight forward hole but at 450 yards is a good test and depending where the pin is located, as well as the wind direction, there is a definite advantage of finding one side of the fairway or the other on the drive.
Then the real fun starts. The 11th, played over the canal, is a cute little par three to a tiny bowl green, the 12th an imperious par five along an almost hump-backed fairway to a well position green site. The next is a magnificent par three to a deeply-bunkered green that is raised slightly and has trouble on all sides. However, the best of them all comes at the 14th where you are faced with a narrow fairway that angles to the left and rises slightly to a two-tiered green which favours a running approach from the right.
This run of holes is highly impressive and requires every shot in the bag. However, the final four holes provide plenty of charm and challenge also. The short par four 15th tempts you to try and get as close to the green as possible whilst the next also angles and rises to a wonderful green setting high on a dune ridge. The dropping par three 17th falls away from you and can play as hard downwind as it can play into the breeze before the classic three-shot 18th concludes an enjoyable round in the shadow of the clubhouse.
The final eight holes are more rugged in nature and the quality of turf is much finer. Couple this with the more undulating ground and you have just covered a very solid and enjoyable test of true links golf. Add in the railway line that runs the length of the course and you are in links heaven.
I enjoyed a beautifully clam day for my round at Prestatyn but I can imagine when the wind blows it can become a different beast altogether.
North Wales has a great mix of golf courses and is a popular destination for visiting golfers from both near and far. A round at Prestatyn should be an essential part of any itinerary when heading to this part of the country. The green-fees are already well priced but The Club also run a number of open competitions throughout the year which offer even better value.
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.