Situated on the fringes of Cardiff Bay, the Royal (granted in 1909) Porthcawl Golf Club is arguably Wales’ finest links. Founded in 1891 with 9-holes initially laid down by Westward Ho! Professional at the time Charles Gibson, the club grew in popularity rapidly and was extended to eighteen holes four years later. Minor alterations were made during the Great War’s, but the land was never used for military purposes, and in 1950, hosted the first of what was to become its many championships among them The Amateur Championships and The Walker Cup. The latter was staged at Porthcawl in 1995 when GB & Ireland defeated the USA, 14-10. The most memorable part of the event, however, was probably Gary Wolstenholme’s win over Tiger Woods by one hole on Saturday. The course hosted the British Seniors Open in 2014, and 2017, with famous names such as Tom Watson, Colin Montgomery, Bernhard Langer, and Miguel Ángel Jiménez all competing. Also, Royal Porthcawl has hosted the Curtis Cup, European Team Championships, Ladies British Open and The Vagliano Trophy amongst others.
Porthcawl is one of only very few links courses in the British Isles from which you can see the sea from every hole. It is laid out in a triangular setting with every hole exposed to different wind conditions. The opening three holes are the only ones to play right along the water’s edge and provide a great test and start to your round. After a straightforward short opening par four, the second is one of the most beautiful holes in links golf. At just over 451yards from the championship tees, a shot played to the right side of the fairway will best open up the green which is tucked away in a dell, surrounded by a boundary fence and out of bounds to the beach. There are severe undulations just short of the putting surface that will throw a ball towards the deep pot bunkers that lie left and right, so your second shot needs to be right on the money. The elements will be against you here, literally, so one of the toughest approach shots that you will find anywhere in golf needs to be taken on with care.
The short holes at Porthcawl are great tests. The shortest of them, the 122yard 7th, is as tricky a green to hold as you will find anywhere due to the rollercoaster nature of the putting surface. Land your tee shot in the wrong spot on this green, and it will shoot off at 90 degrees towards the six pot bunkers that surround it, faster than the blink of an eye: a short test, but a rather examining one.
One of the unique features of Royal Porthcawl, similar to a mere few other courses around the British Isles, is the presence of a ‘Dormy House.’ Your party can overnight in the clubhouse where six single rooms and three twin bedded rooms are on offer. If the thought of waking up, just meters from the Irish sea, overlooking a 40ft high tide mark to a rugged, stunning landscape as the sun comes up, is your thing, then we highly recommend that you speak to us at The Consummate Pro about this option.
Royal Porthcawl is one of the most iconic golf courses in the world and is relatively unheralded outside of the UK. The Consummate Pro will be delighted to bring you to this beautiful part of the Welsh coast to enjoy this world-class links golf.