If you are after a historic links that offers great value and unfussy golf, then Borth and Ynyslas is just the job. Rob Smith visits…
Borth and Ynyslas Course Review
Royal St. David’s and Aberdovey are two excellent and highly-rated Golf Monthly Top 100 links on the west coast of Wales, but just a little way down from the latter is Borth & Ynyslas, a club that dates back more than 130 years and whose course was redesigned by Harry Colt in 1945.
What remains is a solid out and back links of no great length with five short holes and three par 5s that lead to a par of 70. The first eight holes run due north, and the opening and closing holes share a fairway, especially if you slice.
Crossing the road to the second tee, you encounter a hole with a reasonably generous fairway but with danger either side with the sea on the left and the road that connects Borth and Ynyslas on the right.
The green at the 3rd virtually borders the beach, and you then play the first par 5, the 4th which has an unusual sign on the tee (see below, at end of review).
Two shortish par 4s come next, and I particularly liked the latter of these which has a green cut into the dunes beyond.
The 197-yard 7th has bunkers surrounding the green, and green at the par-5 8th is at the far end of the course.
You finish the front nine and start the run for home with the second short hole, the 9th.
As I played the 10th, the lens motor in my camera packed up, so I will simply add that the back nine pretty much mirrors the front and the strength of the course lies in its subtleties rather than any signature hole or overwhelming wow-factor.
I like an unusual local rule or course sign, and this was one of my favourites from last year.
A strength of Borth & Ynyslas is its relatively remote location, but this can count against it in terms of passing traffic and footfall. I get the impression that the club could do with more visitors and would recommend a detour to this old Harry Colt design.
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Rob Smith has been playing golf for 45 years and been a contributing editor for Golf Monthly since 2012. He specialises in course reviews and travel, and has played more than 1,200 courses in almost 50 countries. In 2022, he played all 21 courses in East Lothian in 13 days. Last year, his tally was 81, 32 of them for the first time. 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 seven and a half... i.e. not the new 9 at Carne! Of those missing, some are already booked for 2024. He is a member of Tandridge in Surrey where his handicap hovers around 16. You can contact him at email@example.com.
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