One of golf’s greatest joys is its endless variety of less well-known courses and Milford Haven has much to offer…
Milford Haven Course Review
In a recent Golf Monthly article on Hidden Gems, I included Milford Haven Golf Club because it had been so far off my radar and was therefore a genuine surprise when I stumbled across it last Spring. To anyone not knowing the area, it has an unlikely and industrial setting, but this actually makes it all the more rewarding and I enjoyed recommending it in a Golfer’s Guide to the area.
The course opens with a short par 5 and a long par 4 to warm you up. Running away from and then back to the clubhouse, they are decent enough holes but perhaps not in the same class as what is to come.
The first feature hole is the par-3 4th, one of the handful of very enjoyable short holes that define the course. 169 yards from the back tee, it calls for a confident shot over the valley.
The par-4 5th leads you down to another attractive par 3, the 6th, again played over the valley but this time from an elevated tee.
Climbing the hill, you arrive at the seventh which is played over the brow to reveal the quite different setting of the next nine holes, during which there are frequent and fabulous views out over the water.
Eight and nine run up and down the slopes and the next short hole, the 10th, is also blessed with great views out over the estuary and the area’s industrial past and present.
The next, the 11th, runs along the waterside from the hamlet of Gelliswick where it is easy to be distracted by the views.
The 13th has an inviting drive back down the hill, and the 14th - Orchard - is a lovely hole that skirts some old farm buildings and runs from left to right.
If you go left, as I did, the approach to the par-4 15th must carry a guardian tree. If you then go long, as I did, there is a steep and lengthy fall-off behind the green.
The 16th leads you back to the clubhouse side of the course and is yet another attractive short hole that offers optimism from its elevated tee before a long hole and a well-bunkered par 4 lead you home.
What impressed me most at Milford Haven was how unexpectedly varied and attractive the course is. I had imagined the suburban location and industrial surroundings would detract from the enjoyment and I was completely wrong; they add to it. If you’ve never played it and get the chance, I would definitely recommend a visit.
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Rob Smith has been playing golf for 45 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 1,200 different courses in almost 50 countries. Despite lockdowns and travel restrictions in 2021, he still managed to play 80 different courses during that 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 seven and a half... i.e. not the new 9 at Carne! During the 2021-22 review period, Rob played 36 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 email@example.com.
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