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Royal Porthcawl in Wales has been ranked number 22 in Golf Monthly’s top 100 UK & Ireland golf courses 2015/16.
22. Royal Porthcawl: Top 100 Courses UK & Ireland 2015/16
Rest Bay, Porthcawl, Mid Glamorgan, CF36 3UW
T: 01656 782251
W: royalporthcawl.com (opens in new tab)
GF: £125 per round (Monday to Thursday), £130 (Friday), £135 (Saturday and Sunday)
Architects: Harry Colt and Tom Simpson
Visitor information: Welcome Monday to Friday, Saturday after 2.30pm and Sunday from 1pm
Catering options: Catering available from 8am to 3pm
2012 Ranking: Up 6
Work undertaken since 2012 ranking: None
Bernard Langer’s superb victory in this year’s Senior Open Championship at Royal Porthcawl gave golf fans a view of the challenges posed by one of the UK’s great links courses. In testing conditions, the German put on a masterclass of seaside golf.
When the breeze is up there’s little protection at Porthcawl and even the most experienced wind player can be tested. With holes pointing in all directions, the challenge of reading the wind is heightened further.
Designed in 1892 by Charles Gibson, Royal Porthcawl exudes history and character. There’s even a ghost – The Maid of Sker – who walks the 17th fairway.
She’s by no means the only threat on the course. With deep, punishing bunkers, treacherous run-offs and encroaching gorse, Porthcawl delivers an excellent trial of strategy and patience.
It’s on the front nine where a good score must be made at Porthcawl because the run for home is extremely tough. With five par 4s over 400 yards in the last seven holes, there’s no respite until you’re back in the wonderful old clubhouse.
The lack of sand dunes at Porthcawl makes for superb sea views. The frustrated golfer can find distraction by gazing either south towards Somerset and Exmoor or north-west across Swansea Bay to the Gower Peninsula.
+ Superb layout with each hole posing a different challenge
– Not the most striking inland surrounds to the course
“A great strength of this course is that, as long as you get a reasonable drive away, you’ll always be able to see the test that awaits for your second.”
“There is no weak hole at Porthcawl. The fact you are constantly changing directions, combined with an ever-present wind, makes this a real thinker’s course.”
Tom Clarke joined Golf Monthly as a sub editor in 2009 being promoted to content editor in 2012 and then senior content editor in 2014, before becoming Sports Digital Editor for the Sport Vertical within Future in 2022. Tom currently looks after all the digital products that Golf Monthly produce including Strategy and Content Planning for the website and social media - Tom also assists the Cycling, Football, Rugby and Marine titles at Future. Tom plays off 18 and lists Augusta National (name drop), Old Head and Le Touessrok as the favourite courses he has played. Tom is an avid viewer of all golf content with a particularly in depth knowledge of the pro tour.
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