Neath Golf Club Course Review

Neath Golf Club, set high above the south Wales valleys, is a James Braid hilltop beauty blessed with mesmerising views

Neath Golf Club - 15th hole
Neath's famous 15th hole - The Pulpit
(Image credit: Neath Golf C.lub)

Neath Golf Club Course Review

GF Round: £28-£39wd, £33-£44we
Par 72, 6,490 yards
Slope 113
GM Verdict – A lovely James Braid hilltop layout where the views from many of the 13 holes that play over the higher ground are breath-taking.
Favourite Hole – The mid-length par-4 15th – The Pulpit – where you can send one into the stratosphere as you descend back to the lower level in one fell swoop. 

Neath Golf Club - heathland

Neath's hilltop course serves up a blend of heathland and moorland golf

(Image credit: Neath Golf Club)

If courses with panoramic views are your thing, some of the hilltop layouts above the Welsh valleys are among the best in the UK when you’re craving that away-from-it-all feeling this form of the game delivers better than any other. James Braid’s 1934 heathland/moorland creation at Neath is a prime example, boasting excellent far-reaching views from a layout that climbs early on – particularly on the blind uphill par-3 2nd - to reveal a golfing canvas of trees, heather, gorse, drystone walls and undulating greens, which will prove singularly perplexing should you stray above the hole.

Neath Golf Club - 4th hole

The 4th is a par 5 with OOB running all the way up the left

(Image credit: Neath Golf Club)

Braid must have had a bit of twinkle in his eye when he designed some of them, although green speeds at the time wouldn’t have been quite what they are today. Indeed, the club has been keen to maximise its Braid heritage in recent times, with an old abandoned Braid back tee on the 3rd hole rediscovered and re-introduced a decade or so ago for occasional use in competitions.

Neath Golf Club - 9th hole

The views from the top are magnificent, as here looking across the 9th green

(Image credit: Kevin Murray)

Once you’re up on top, the panorama is simply magnificent, especially from the 10th and 11th holes as you gaze down on the hustle and bustle far away on the valley floor below. It’s truly mesmerising. What goes up must come down, of course, and at Neath it all happens in one fell swoop via the mid-length par-4 15th – The Pulpit. This is the hole you will remember most as it plunges dramatically back down 80ft or so to the lower level via more tee-shot hang time than you can possibly imagine!

Neath Golf Club - 15th hole

Launching one away from the 15th tee is an exhilarating feeling

(Image credit: Kevin Murray)

Although the opening couple of holes will get the legs and circulation going, the visual panoramic feast you get to devour from the top is ample reward for your efforts! Indeed, Braid is not the only Open winner to have fallen for Neath’s visual allure, with three-time Champion Golfer, Henry Cotton also eulogising about its beauty. There is also great variety to accompany that beauty, with four par 3s and four par 5s, two of which bookend the course.


Jeremy Ellwood
Contributing Editor

Jeremy Ellwood has worked in the golf industry since 1993 and for Golf Monthly since 2002 when he started out as equipment editor. He is now a freelance journalist writing mainly for Golf Monthly. He is an expert on the Rules of Golf having qualified through an R&A course to become a golf referee. He is a senior panelist for Golf Monthly's Top 100 UK & Ireland Course Rankings and has played all of the Top 100 plus 91 of the Next 100, making him well-qualified when it comes to assessing and comparing our premier golf courses. He has now played 1,000 golf courses worldwide in 35 countries, from the humblest of nine-holers in the Scottish Highlands to the very grandest of international golf resorts. He reached the 1,000 mark on his 60th birthday in October 2023 on Vale do Lobo's Ocean course. Put him on a links course anywhere and he will be blissfully content.

Jezz can be contacted via Twitter - @JezzEllwoodGolf

Jeremy is currently playing...

Driver: Ping G425 LST 10.5˚ (draw setting), Mitsubishi Tensei AV Orange 55 S shaft

3 wood: Ping G425 Max 15˚ (set to flat +1), Mitsubishi Tensei AV Orange 65 S shaft

Hybrid: Ping G425 17˚, Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro Orange 80 S shaft

Irons 3-PW: Ping i525, True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 R300 shafts

Wedges: Ping Glide 4.0 50˚ and 54˚, 12˚ bounce, True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 R300 shafts

Putter: Ping Fetch 2021 model, 33in shaft (set flat 2)

Ball: Varies but mostly now TaylorMade Tour Response