The Links to the Valleys
South Wales is a golf tour hotspot, boasting some of the very best courses in the UK. This region of Wales has become a premier golfing destination, attracting golfers from around the globe largely due to the many true links courses located within close proximity. With lively cities such as Cardiff and Swansea, plus natural wonders like the Gower Peninsula, South Wales has it all.
South Wales is home to some of the most iconic golf courses in the UK and even features a world top 100 golf course. Alongside top-class courses, South Wales is also known for its luxurious resorts, including the renowned Ryder Cup host and 5* Celtic Manor, The Vale Resort, and St Pierre.
In recent years, South Wales has hosted several high-profile golfing events, including the Solheim Cup at St Pierre in 1996 and Ryder Cup in 2010, which took place at the Celtic Manor. These events have helped to put South Wales firmly on the map as a golfing destination, and have drawn attention to the region's stunning courses, many set along the breathtaking rugged coastline.
As the West Country golf travel company, we felt it our duty to take a closer look at the top 10 golf courses in South Wales, which will hopefully inform your choices when planning your trip to the region.
From the stunning coastal links to the lush valleys, South Wales has something to offer every golfer. So pack up your clubs and get ready to discover the best golf South Wales has to offer!
10. Langland Bay Golf Club
Langland Bay Golf Course, known locally as the "Parkland in the Sky", is a hidden gem that should not be missed on any South Wales golf tour. Established in 1904, the club has a rich history and a reputation for providing a challenging round of golf in a picturesque setting.
The course itself is a cliff-top parkland, with undulating fairways, strategically placed bunkers, and fast greens. The signature hole is the 14th, a par-3 that requires a shot over the beach to reach the green. It's a challenging hole, but the views of the bay and surrounding countryside make it a must-play for any golfer visiting South Wales.
In addition to the golf course, Langland Bay has excellent on-site facilities, including a practice area, pro shop, and clubhouse. The clubhouse offers a warm and friendly atmosphere, with stunning views of the Gower Peninsula and the coast beyond. Visitors can enjoy a delicious meal or a refreshing drink while taking in the breathtaking scenery.
Langland Bay is located just down the road from Pennard, which also appears on this top 10 list. Together, these two courses offer a unique golfing experience, with Pennard's cliff-top links holes contrasting with Langland Bay's parkland setting.
Langland Bay is a must-play for any golfer visiting South Wales. With its rich history, challenging layout, and excellent on-site facilities, it's no wonder the club has gained a reputation as the exciting "Parkland in the Sky".
9. Newport Golf Club
Newport Golf Club is a classic parkland course, offering a different style of golf compared to the many links courses found along the coast of South Wales. The course features tree-lined fairways, well-manicured greens, and plenty of strategically placed bunkers to challenge golfers of all skill levels.
Founded in 1903, Newport Golf Club has a rich history and has hosted many prestigious events over the years, including the Welsh Ladies Open and the Welsh Professional Championships. The course has also undergone extensive renovations in recent years, including the construction of new tees, bunkers, and greens, making it a modern and challenging course for golfers to enjoy.
In addition to the excellent course, Newport Golf Club also boasts a range of on-site facilities to enhance the golfing experience. These include a well-stocked pro shop, a driving range, practice facilities, and a welcoming clubhouse.
Located just a short drive from the city of Newport, Newport Golf Club is easily accessible and is a great addition to any South West Wales golf tour.
8. Celtic Manor Golf Club (Twenty Ten)
The Twenty Ten Course at Celtic Manor Resort played host to the 2010 Ryder Cup and is one of the premier courses in South Wales. Designed by Ross McMurray, the course is a challenging and rewarding test of golf with stunning views over the Usk Valley. The course is a must-play for golfers looking for a prestigious golfing experience.
7. Machynys Peninsula Golf Club
Machynys Peninsula Golf Club in South Wales has secured its place as the number 7 golf course on our list of top 10 golf courses in the region. Designed by the legendary Jack Nicklaus, the centrepiece of the club is Monk's Island. A modern links championship course spanning 7,121 yards with stunning views over the Loughor Estuary. Since its opening in 2005, Monk's Island has hosted an impressive 16 Championships, including prestigious R&A and Ryder Cup Wales LET events.
Despite it's challenges as a notorious Nicklaus design, Machynys is a great option for society golf as it has an ability to cater to golfers of all levels. With up to 5 teeing areas per hole, the course provides a genuine challenge for low-handicap players while remaining enjoyable for high-handicap golfers. This versatility, combined with the breathtaking coastal views, is one of the many reason Machynys has developed the fantastic reputation it has in such a short space of time.
Beyond its remarkable golfing facilities, Machynys Peninsula is also a sanctuary for nature. By preserving half of the course as wild habitat, the club has created a thriving ecosystem. The ponds attract breeding waterfowl, while the reed beds provide homes for various bird species. Throughout the year, golfers can witness the beauty of Southern Marsh Orchids, the graceful flight of birds of prey, and the melodies of songbirds.
The club's amenities further enhance the overall experience. Fredricks Brasserie, located in the clubhouse, offers a dining experience with stunning views of the golf course and the Gower Peninsula. The menu showcases a blend of Welsh, International, and Mediterranean cuisine, with a focus on locally sourced and homemade dishes. Special dietary requirements, including vegan and gluten-free options, are also well catered for.
The Machynys Golf Centre complements the golfing experience with state-of-the-art facilities. From the UK's largest indoor putting green to a driving range with TrackMan technology, golfers can fine-tune their skills and enjoy interactive practice sessions.
Machynys Peninsula Golf Club's unique course, stunning natural surroundings, exquisite dining, and cutting-edge facilities secure its position as the number 7 golf course on this high quality list.
6. St Pierre Golf Club (Old Course)
The Old Course at St Pierre Marriott Hotel & Country Club is a classic parkland course with a rich history. The course was designed by Harry Colt and has hosted many prestigious tournaments, including the Solheim Cup. With its well-manicured fairways and challenging terrain, the Old Course at St Pierre is a must-play for any golfer visiting South Wales.
5. Southerndown Golf Club
Southerndown Golf Club is one of the most unique and breathtaking courses in South Wales, maintained by greenkeepers with both 2 and 4 legs!
The elevated site of the club provides stunning views across the Bristol Channel and the Ogmore River Valley, with sand from the seashore giving the turf a links-like character. With no trees or artificial water hazards, just bracken, gorse, and strategically placed bunkers, the course is absolutely natural and challenging. The ever-present wind and sheep are also serious hazards in their own right.
Originally laid down by Willie Fernie in 1905, the course has undergone numerous improvements over the years by renowned golf course architects such as Herbert Fowler, Willie Park Jr., and Harry Colt. However, not much has changed in over a hundred years, with the course remaining true to its natural and challenging character.
The opening hole is a most challenging two-shot hole, and it's followed by two more, which are equally tough. The four par threes at Southerndown are noteworthy, especially the 5th hole, known as "Carter's Folly" – it's expertly bunkered and calls for an accurate iron shot.
Southerndown has hosted a number of important events including the Girls Amateur, Men's Home Internationals, Wales Amateur, Piccadilly Masters and the Martini International. The most notable current event is the Welsh amateur competition, called the Duncan Putter, an annual 72-hole competition, which has seen Peter McEvoy and Gary Wolstenholme emerging as winners.
Southerndown Golf Club is a must-visit for any golfer looking for a unique and challenging experience in South Wales. With its stunning views, natural character, and rich history, the fact that this fantastic course only reaches 5th on this list says a whole lot about the embarrassment of golfing riches on offer in South Wales.
4. Ashburnham Golf Club
Ashburnham Golf Club is located on the south coast of Wales and is a traditional links course that has been welcoming golfers for over 120 years.
The course is set on stunning undulating terrain and has hosted many prestigious amateur tournaments, having first held a Welsh Amateur Championship in 1904. In more recent years it has been the venue for both the Men’s and Ladies Home Internationals, British Youths, British Ladies and British Senior Ladies Championships, Welsh Golfing Union Championships, alongside Welsh PGA events.
Situated in Burry Port, Carmarthenshire, just a short drive from Swansea. The course is surrounded by beautiful countryside, including the rolling hills of the Gower Peninsula, and overlooks the stunning Carmarthen Bay.
The course itself is a classic links course that offers a true test of golfing ability. With its undulating fairways, deep bunkers, and challenging greens, it is a course that will challenge golfers of all levels.
One of the standout features of the Ashburnham is the quality of its greens. They are renowned to be fast and true with typical undulating links design. Additionally, the fast draining course is well-maintained, ensuring an enjoyable and memorable round, regardless of result on your scorecard!
Aside from the course, the Ashburnham Golf Club offers excellent facilities, including a welcoming and well-stocked pro shop, locker rooms, and a restaurant and bar. The clubhouse has a warm and welcoming atmosphere, making it an ideal place to kick back with a drink after a day on the links.
When planning a golf tour of South Wales, it is likely you will consider the Gower Peninsula and Swansea area. If so a visit to Ashburnham should be at the top of your list.
3. Pyle & Kenfig Golf Club
So to the top 3...
We move onto Pyle and Kenfig Golf Club, a true links course with a rich history of hosting prestigious events. Located in Bridgend, this course was founded in 1922 and originally designed by Harry Colt, with the back nine being later redesigned by Philip Mackenzie Ross.
One of the striking features of Pyle and Kenfig is the breathtaking view of the Welsh mountains, Rest Bay, and the Bristol Channel, which can be seen from various points on the course. The famous Royal Porthcawl might be just next door, but Pyle and Kenfig holds its own as one of Wales's best links courses. The layout of the course is unusual for a links course, with two loops of nine holes. The original front nine is solid, but the back nine, routed through the dunes, is simply outstanding.
Pyle and Kenfig is a fair golf course that rewards good shot-making, without any tricks up its sleeve. The key to scoring well at this course is solid driving. If you can avoid the trouble and find the fairways, scoring well will be a real possibility. From the regular tees, the course measures 6,122 yards against a par of 71. However, step back onto the medal tees, and it's a different proposition - 6,728 yards with the same par of 71.
The Valley Hole, the 525-yard par-five 11th, is where the dunes come into play, and from here on in, it's sheer entertainment. The view from the 14th tee, a 416-yard par-four, towards the Gower Peninsula is stunning, and the last three holes (all long par fours) are amongst the best closing holes in golf. They will severely test the mettle of the very best golfers.
Pyle and Kenfig has hosted several important events in recent history, including the Amateur Championship in 2002 (with Royal Porthcawl) and the Girls Home Internationals in 2003. In 2006, the club played host to the Men's Home Internationals, and Scotland emerged as the victorious team.
Pyle and Kenfig is a must-play course for any golfer visiting Wales and pairs well with the likes of Royal Porthcawl and Southerndown. Its stunning views, outstanding design, and history of hosting important events make it a unique and memorable true links experience.
2. Pennard Golf Club
Located on the stunning Gower Peninsula in South Wales, Pennard Golf Club is one of the top golf courses in Wales, perhaps only surpassed by number 1 on this list.
Known as the "Links in the sky," this historic club offers breathtaking views of the coastline and an exceptional golfing experience that is sure to leave a lasting impression.
Pennard Golf Club was founded in 1896, and since then, it has become one of the leading clubs in Wales. The course is situated on a high cliff top overlooking Three Cliffs Bay, offering stunning views of the coastline and the surrounding countryside.
The course itself is a classic links course, with natural undulating fairways, deep pot bunkers, and fast greens. It is a true test of golfing ability, requiring strategic thinking and careful shot placement.
Pennard Golf Club is known for its unique and engaging holes, with each one possessing its own distinct character. It is often said that there are no average holes on this course.
Among the standout holes at Pennard Golf Club are the four par-4s from the 6th to the turn, which are simply tremendous. The short par-4 7th, known as "Castle," is particularly memorable. From the elevated tee, golfers must bravely cross a deep chasm to find a distant undulating fairway. The ruins of Pennard Castle, which watch in silence, only add to the dramatic atmosphere. The approach shot to the sunken green, which is protected by dunes, requires precision and strategy.
Another nerve-jangling hole is the 493-yard 16th, called "Great Tor." From high up in the dunes, the tee shot must find the rippled fairway below, leaving a short but blind second shot across a ridge. The green, perched on the cliff-top, slopes wickedly from back to front, requiring careful consideration and execution.
Pennard has a rich history and has hosted many prestigious events over the years. In 2014, the club hosted the Ladies' British Open Amateur Championship, and in 2018, it hosted the Welsh Ladies' Open Stroke Play Championship. The club has also been a qualifying course for the Open Championship, showcasing the caliber of the course.
This is an exceptional links that should not be missed during a golf tour of South Wales. Its breathtaking location, challenging course, rich history, and excellent facilities make it a must-visit for any golf enthusiast. If you want to experience the best of Welsh golf, a round at Pennard Golf Club is a must.
1. Royal Porthcawl Golf Club
If you're looking to play the best during your visit to Wales, then Royal Porthcawl Golf Club should be at the top of your bucket list. This world-renowned golf course is a golfer's paradise and has been consistently ranked as the unrivaled number 1 in Welsh golf.
Located in a serene spot east of Swansea and west of Cardiff, Royal Porthcawl Golf Club offers a unique golfing experience that is unlike any other. The club was founded in 1891 and has since undergone several modifications, primarily by renowned architects such as Harry Colt, F.G Hawtree, J.H. Taylor, and Tom Simpson. The result is a course that combines the classic links-style golf with distinct heathland characteristics.
The layout of the course is such that the first four and the last six holes represent classic links golf, with the sea in sight all the time and classic links bunkers that will challenge even the most experienced golfers. In contrast, the holes in the middle section of the course rise up onto higher ground, providing breathtaking views of the Bristol Channel.
The course measures 7,065 yards from the back markers, but what sets Royal Porthcawl Golf Club apart from others is that position from the tee is just as important as distance. As Gary Wolstenholme discovered during his game with Tiger Woods in the 1995 Walker Cup, controlling and positioning the ball better can make all the difference.
Being fully exposed to the wind, the course presents a unique challenge to golfers. The Bristol Channel acts as a funnel for Atlantic gales, and with an absence of trees and dunes, the wind plays a powerful role. The holes loop back on one another, playing in various directions, making it an exciting and challenging golfing experience.
In 2014, the Senior Open Championship was hosted at Royal Porthcawl, making it the first Major Championship to be staged in Wales. The event was a one-man show, with Bernhard Langer cruising to a 13-stroke victory over nearest rival Colin Montgomerie. Three years later, the event returned to Royal Porthcawl, and Langer once again emerged victorious, claiming his third Senior Open title.
The recent project undertaken by Mackenzie & Ebert has further enhanced the beauty and challenge of the course, with the full restoration of the carry bunkers at the par three 4th hole and the huge cross bunkers at the 16th. Some new bunkers have also been added to ensure that the course poses the right questions for the modern-day elite players.
If you're looking for a golf experience that combines luxury, beauty, and challenge, then Royal Porthcawl Golf Club is a must-visit. With its rich history, stunning location, and unforgettable layout, it is no surprise that this course has been consistently ranked as one of the best in the world.
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Who are Golf South West?
Founded in 2015, we are the West Country golf travel specialists. We provide our clients with bespoke golf tours and stay & play golf packages for small groups and golf societies alike.
We are both a domestic golf tour operator working directly for our clients and regional golf DMC who act as an agent for international outbound operators hoping to have their clients experience the beautiful West Country and it’s golfing delights!
We work closely with our venues to ensure our customers receive the best value available for golf travel within the West Country.
Our expert team are on hand to ensure you receive the very best service, choice and advice when planning your next golf break. We are proud to announce our nomination for Best Inbound Golf Tour Operator for England at the 2022 World Golf Awards.
Which regions are covered by Golf South West?
We also work with selected, popular golf resorts across the UK including those under the management of Marriott, plus 4 time Ryder Cup host The Belfry, Celtic Manor and many more.
If you are planning a golf break, we are the only call you need to make.
What is the best way to get in touch?
Why choose Golf South West as your tour operator?
GSW is run by golfers and endorsed by golf professionals across the South West of the UK.
We are a fully insured, experienced and recommended golf tour operator, who are backed by Protected Trust Services, meaning your booking is secured and safe. We offer tours to an exclusive and unrivalled selection of venues across the South West of England and Wales, including some courses which can be tricky to access. We are also proud members of Golf Tourism England and IAGTO, who only work with only the best and most reputable companies in the industry.
You can rest assured that as a client of Golf South West you will not only receive the best service, advice and choice, but you will also find the best value golf breaks in available in Cornwall, Devon, Bristol, Dorset, Somerset, Hampshire and many more!
What is Protected Trust Services?
Protected Trust Services Limited (PTS) provides security for client and consumer funds through market-leading software and innovative management. PTS prides itself on customer service, flexible thinking and cost-effective solutions for its members.
PTS offers a unique and comprehensive solution for businesses to trade through a secure trust account using a performance-enhancing software system developed by PTS.
Protected Trust Services guarantee 100% financial protection to the consumer, ensuring total consumer confidence.
Any bookings made via Golf South West Ltd from the 1st July 2021 are protected under the PTS Trust. Bookings made before this date will continue to be processed through our original system. If you have booked with us before, please ensure you have the up-to-date bank details to make your payments. If you are unsure, please speak to your Golf South West representative.
View the PTS brochure for more information on the protection this affords you as a client of Golf South West.
How do GSW keep money safe?
We are extremely proud of the service we provide and a large part of this is ensuring our client’s money is safe. Our practices comply with the 2018 package travel directive meaning that your money is safe with both ourselves and the venues your choose to visit.
The money for your golf break is paid into a trust account run by an independent partner, so you have peace of mind that no matter what happens, your money is being looked after.
What happens if we can’t go on our planned trip?
Deposits are non-refundable, but they are transferable to a new date or break. We aim to be as flexible as possible and will treat each situation on a case by case basis.
Can we make changes to our break?
Managing a group can be a thankless task and changes to the group leading up to your break are an accepted element. We make changes as stress free as possible (just see our reviews for evidence of this!). Changes can be made up to 6 weeks prior to your break. Some changes are unavoidable so for legitimate reasons we will endeavour to make last minute changes after this period, but as we would have paid our venues at this point, this would be at the discretion of the venue(s) you are visiting.
Why book with a tour operator?
Good question, could you not do this all yourself? The answer is yes you could. You are able to locate the ideal hotel with the accessibility you need to the clubs you plan to play. You could go back and forth with your target venues and line up the tee times. You could also contact each venue individually to advise them of group number changes and requests during the build up to your trip.
Alternatively you could;
– Talk to us about the trip you are planning.
– Receive quotes for perfectly crafted package meeting your ideal requirements.
– Secure the booking with small deposits staged in a way to make your life easier as an organiser.
– Have your funds fully insured and independently held by PTS, our client trust provider.
– Have changes made to whole tours with just one call or email.
– Receive exclusive extras such as free places.
– Pay less with our packages than going direct to venues.
Why can we do this?
Quite simply we have spent years (since 2015) forging strong relationships with hotel, golf club and golf resort venues across the South West. We are the expert tour operator for the region and are know for our high quality and personal service to our clients (just see our Google and TrustPilot reviews).
Who uses Golf South West?
The majority of our clients are UK based domestic travellers. We deal with groups of any size, from single travellers and couples, to large golf societies.
We also are the favoured golf DMC for the South West of England and preferred regional partner of Golf Tourism England. We regularly work with tour operators from Europe, America and elsewhere to provide bespoke tour packages allowing overseas travellers to experience the beautiful West Country.
How are package prices displayed on our website?
Prices on our our website are displayed in two ways. The first is on our Resort pages where pricing tables show the from prices for low, mid and high season golf stay and play package rates at golf resort venues.
The second is on our example tour package pages. There are often 4 prices shown here, two for low season and two for high season. The struck through price typically shows the highest price the tour can be and is often active over weekends in that season. The offer price is typically a mid week price.
Every tour quote we offer is bespoke and will vary based on a number of factors including the date, availability, group size, room type, time of day for the tee time, etc… Our package pricing is a guide to the cost of the package and is not a firm price. Please enquire for an exact cost.
We aim to provide as accurate a price as possible and therefore try to avoid using shoulder/mid season pricing or twilight green fee rates when displaying rates. You may find an intermediate price for breaks in months of April & October at certain venues.
Why are golf resort prices the same as elsewhere?
Put simply, all tour operators work from the same contracted rate card when it comes to stay and play golf resort packages. When it comes to golf tours, that is a different matter, but golf resorts are a level playing field.
If you find a vastly different price, it’s likely you’ve been misquoted and usually this does come back to bite.
The question this poses is why book a stay and play golf break with Golf South West if you can book direct or with one of the large operators and receive the same price?
Benjamin Franklin once said “The bitterness of poor quality remains long after
the sweetness of low price is forgotten.”
We have a small team so booking through us means you receive a personal service. You are more than just a number to us, we are a tour operator where you will likely get to deal with the same contact throughout the process, who will get to know you and your group and respond efficiently to your queries.
We know our venues and the people who work there. This ensures a smooth process from initial enquiry to the end of your stay.
Financially you have an extra layer of protection as your money is securely stored in an independent trust account and is fully insured when it is released to the venue(s) you are visiting.
We are fortunate to have some exclusive “extras” with selected venues across the South West. We offer 1 in 16 free on every trip AND run an exclusive voucher scheme for our stay and play client bookings.
We often feel we add further value to our clients when it comes to our bespoke golf tour packages, but you can rest assured that when making a stay and play golf resort booking, Golf South West will offer you an extremely high level of service, financial protection and may even offer you a saving or an exclusive extra!