Machynys Course Review

Wales has some excellent and famous historic links, but the relatively young Machynys provides an exciting contrast…

Water comes into play regularly throughout the round

Wales has some excellent and famous historic links, but the relatively young Machynys provides an exciting contrast…

Machynys Course Review

The modern links on Machynys Peninsula was opened in 2005, a big-budget creation and the brainchild of Gary Nicklaus who brought to it his father’s flair for bold design on a grand scale. It has already hosted some important championships, and the course is blessed with a wetlands setting that means drama all the way. Having been a fixture of the Golf Monthly Next 100 for some time, I was really looking forward to playing it in preparation for a Golfer's Guide article for the magazine.

I played on the greyest of grey days (April 2016) as the course was recovering from a wet winter. My photos therefore do not show it either literally or metaphorically in its best light, but it was still very impressive and I am sure that on a sunny day it can look exceptional. The front nine are on the eastern side of the clubhouse and the course opens with a strong par 4 followed by the first encounter with water at the short 2nd.

The first par 3 at the second calls for a carry over water

The next two holes lead you to the furthest point from the clubhouse and you then turn to the prevailing wind at the 5th where the green is protected by a noose-like stream and bunkers either side.

The approach to the fifth has to carry a dangerous ditch

Never before or since have I seen a short-eared owl in the wild, but this slightly out-of-focus shot taken not far from the 6th tee was a real bonus to my round, inspiring me to a regulation par.

Short-eared owls are apparently commonly seen hunting in the day… but not by me

Next is the longest par 3 on the course, 222 yards from the back tee but hopefully with the wind behind.

The not-so-short short seventh

The 8th is a super-tough par 4, SI one, and I really liked the closing hole on the front nine despite it not being a friend to anyone who hits left to right.

Anything right on the ninth will find water or sand

The back nine opens with yet another strong par 4, and then a lovely short hole across a lake that is home to plenty of wildlife.

The eleventh is a very appealing short hole

The next two holes run back to and away from the clubhouse, and the 14th borders the beach though you would have to be very wayward to reach it.

Hole fourteen is bordered to the right by the beach

The 15th is flanked by water on the right and played to a green by the clubhouse.

Looking back from the fifteenth green

The closing three-hole loop is also very strong, starting with a superb hole that takes you out towards the estuary. This is followed by the final short hole, which has dense gorse to the left.

The final par 3 comes at the seventeenth

The 18th is a short par 5 with a long carry from the tee that offers some hope of a birdie finish if the breeze is coming in from the bay, a very enjoyable finish to a course packed with interest.

It is best to hope for a tailwind on the closing hole

The large and airy clubhouse is superbly fitted out with a spa and brasserie and there are excellent views out over the course. For a golfing test of this standard, the green fees are also remarkably reasonable. If you haven’t yet been, I thoroughly recommend a round.

Rob Smith
Contributing Editor

Rob Smith has been playing golf for over 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 2021, 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 has been a member of Tandridge in Surrey for 30 years where his handicap hovers around 16. You can contact him at