Aberdovey Golf Club Course Review

An easy-walking, tranquil oasis of top-quality golf and charm, with plenty to engage and interest all keen golfers

The approach to the par-4 fourth (Photo: David Cannon/Getty Images)
(Image credit: David Cannon)

An easy-walking, tranquil oasis of top-quality golf and charm, with plenty to engage and interest all keen golfers

Aberdovey Golf Club Course Review

Top 100 Ranking 2021/22 - 78

Previous Rankings 2019/20 - 72 2017/18 - 68 2015/16 - 65 2013/14 - 58 2011/12 - 67 2009/10 - 61

Summer Green Fees

Round - £55-£70, Day - £85

Visitors: weekdays and after midday at weekends

Medal Tee: Par 71 - 6,535 Yards

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VIDEO: The Average Golfer visits Aberdovey Golf Club -

Changes since previous ranking

Extensive work took place throughout the winters of both 2018/19 and 2019/20 to improve the drainage on the course thus maintaining playability throughout the winter months. There have been extensions to the 5th, 9th and 12th teeing grounds. Sleeper edging to pathways and steps where possible. Programme of revetting bunkers continuing.

Aberdovey Golf Club Course Review

Golf has been played over this narrow strip of linksland that runs between beach and railway for almost 130 years. And in that time, some of the greatest golf architects have contributed to the evolution of this fine course. These include Herbert Fowler, James Braid and Harry Colt, each of whom had a hand in a huge number of the very best courses in the UK&I.

Aberdovey's beautiful setting (Photo: Visit Wales)

The club is beautifully situated on the northern side of the Dovey estuary, with the course itself a classic out and back links running in a figure-of-eight routing. Early on, the green complexes seem to have been designed in a particularly generous spirit with the tendency to gather approach shots that may have seemed off line.

Over the last few years, the club has worked hard on the appearance and quality of its bunkering, while recent drainage work means the playing surfaces will be better year-round. The bunkers themselves are far more visually impressive, and on a calm day this is a wonderful spot for golf.

The second hole runs just inside the dunes

Hole By Hole

The 3rd is a blind short hole - Cader - which has a hidden dip before the real target, its punchbowl green. In fact it is the short holes that are a real feature, with the 5th played across the valley towards the lovely hillside backdrop. The 9th awaits at the very far end, while it is the 12th that most will think of as the signature hole. It is played from down low up over a rugged slope to an exposed plateau green perched above the beach. A deserving entry in any book of classic par 3s.

The 13th and 14th then hug the dunes, before you cross back to the railway side for the homeward run. The 16th is a real highlight here, a short, risk-reward par 4 where overdoing the right to left drive will see your ball bouncing around among the ballast and sleepers the wrong side of the fence.

Two strong par 4s take you back to the sanctuary of the friendly clubhouse with its dormy accommodation, hearty food and excellent local ales.

Assessor Feedback

The favourite course of the doyen of golf writers, Bernard Darwin, and I can see what he loved about it; charm and challenge in equal measure.

GM Verdict

An easy-walking, tranquil oasis of top-quality golf and charm, with plenty to engage and interest all keen golfers

Rob Smith Visits…

Having played Aberdovey a few times in a former life, I hadn’t visited for many years until last Summer when I was lucky enough to return on a bright, sunny afternoon. I was particularly interested to see how the club had coped with losing their signature twelfth green, right up against the beach, to erosion.

The course occupies a beautifully peaceful expanse of land between the beach and the railway line on the northern side of the Dovey estuary, surrounded by lush, green, rolling hills. It opens with a tough par 4 and the chance to open the shoulders from the off.

The opening green at Aberdovey with the railway beyond

The second is a more forgiving par 4 and you then have the first short hole which calls for a semi-blind shot up to a green that tends to gather the ball… but don’t rely on it!

The beautifully-sited third green

Another strong par 4 at the 4th leads you to the second par 3, this one heading inland away from the dunes.

The par-3 fifth plays across the valley towards the railway

Six and seven lead you further north, and the eighth is a short par 4 where the number one objective is to avoid the sand.

The heavily-bunkered par-4 eighth

Signature Hole

Looping around the turn, you reach a wonderful par 3 that is played up to a green in the dunes. This is effectively the club’s signature hole. My visit was a week or two before it re-opened - hence the lack of a flag - but it looked an absolute picture and is now better that ever. It is also one of those holes that is worth the green fee on its own.

A new green awaits at the beautifully renovated par-3 twelfth

If you’ve a northerly wind, the next three holes - 5-4-5 - offer the chance of some points, as does the risk-reward 16th which is all about positioning from the tee.

The short par-4 sixteenth is full of temptation

A pair of testing par 4s completes the round, the latter played to a large green perfectly situated in front of the welcoming clubhouse and Dormy House.

The closing hole to the spacious clubhouse presents a challenging finish

After a gap of way too many years, it was great to get back to Aberdovey, one of the most charming and enjoyable courses in Wales.

A warm welcome awaits at Aberdovey

With several other tempting courses along this beautiful coastline and accommodation on site, Aberdovey makes for an excellent base for a golfing tour.

Rob Smith
Contributing Editor

Rob Smith has been playing golf for more than 40 years and been a contributing editor for Golf Monthly for over ten years, specialising in course reviews and travel. He has now played more than 1,170 different courses in almost 50 countries. Despite lockdowns and travel restrictions in 2021, he still managed to play 80 different courses during the year, 43 of them for the first time. This included 21 in 13 days on a trip to East Lothian in October. One of Rob's primary roles is helping to prepare the Top 100 and Next 100 Courses of the UK&I, of which he has played all but nine. During the 2021-22 review period, Rob has played 34 of the Golf Monthly Top 200. He is a member of Tandridge Golf Club in Surrey where his handicap hovers around 16. You can contact him at r.smith896@btinternet.com.