Porthmadog Golf Club Course Review

The two nines at Porthmadog Golf Club could not be more different and combine to make a compelling and scenic adventure

Porthmadog Golf Club - Feature
The twelfth green is cut into the hillside and provides fabulous views of the bay
(Image credit: Porthmadog Golf Club)

Porthmadog Golf Club Course Review
Round: £45wd, £50we
Par 72, 6,326 yards
Slope 127
GM Verdict The very definition of a game of two halves with some thrilling adventures in the dunes on the back nine
Favourite Hole The electrifying par-4 12th which follows the curve of the bay round and up to a brilliant green site

Porthmadog Golf Club was established in 1905 and it is home to a remarkably distinctive and varied course. While the front nine and the 18th fall into the parkland category, the links holes in between are packed with fantastic drama and fun, as well as stunning views as you roller-coaster your way through the dunes.

Porthmadog Golf Club - Aerial

An aerial view of the course with the mountains beyond

(Image credit: Porthmadog Golf Club)

Just north of and remarkably different from the Golf Monthly Top 100 favourite at Royal St. David’s, Porthmadog opens in a relatively gentle manner, albeit with a tricky stream on the first two holes that demands your attention.

Porthmadog - Hole 6

The short sixth is played to what is effectively an island green

(Image credit: Rob Smith)

You then cross the road to play seven attractive parkland holes; two par 3s, two par 4s and no fewer than three par 5s. As engaging and enjoyable as they are, they in no way hint at what is to come!

Porthmadog - Hole 10

The par-4 tenth leads you out into the rollercoaster back nine

(Image credit: Porthmadog Golf Club)

Passing the clubhouse, you head into completely different territory and the start of a run of thrilling links holes through the dunes.

Porthmadog - Hole 12

Looking down over the twelfth green and the lovely, sweeping bay

(Image credit: Rob Smith)

Visually, the most spectacular hole on the course is probably the short, uphill par-4 12th which is all about careful plotting rather than brute force. It’s a real beauty in the most photogenic of settings.

Porthmadog - Hole 15

The fifteenth hole runs over a rumpled fairway to a raised green perfectly set between mounds

(Image credit: Rob Smith)

There is a blind drive at the 14th, and then another scene-stealer at the 15th which is a strong par 4, albeit under 400 yards, played along a humpy fairway to a green that nestles beautifully in the sandbanks.

Porthmadog - Hole 15 - 2

The fifteenth green with the twelfth in the distance and views over the estuary

(Image credit: Rob Smith)

The closing three lead you out of the dunes and back onto terra firma and the sanctuary of the clubhouse. Here you will very much enjoy your post-round drink knowing that you have played somewhere that is very different indeed.

If both nines were like the front half you would have an enjoyable and perfectly decent course. Combined with the beauty and variety on offer coming home, however, you have a course that really deserves to be noticed. Porthmadog Golf Club is quite out of the ordinary, and all the better for it.

Rob Smith
Contributing Editor

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 r.smith896@btinternet.com.