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Royal Porthcawl - A great winter experience

Course Review November 2012

Having honed their golf links skills at Pennard and Pyle and Kenfig, the roving golfers decided it was time to take on the might of Royal Porthcawl.

The course is situated right on the Bristol Channel and older readers might remember being told about the tragic storm of 23rd April 1947 during which the Mumbles lifeboat, Edward Prince of Wales, was lost with all hands trying to save the crew of the S.S.Samtampa. A plaque on the rocky shore adjacent to the 2nd fairway marks the spot where the upturned wreck of the lifeboat was burnt.

Conditions, thankfully, were much kindlier on the day with just a light breeze from the west, what the locals might describe as a ‘mere zephyr’.

We had our usual warm up session of having a few putts on the practice putting green. This was something of a mistake as it reduced us to quivering wrecks such was the speed of the green.

However, for the time of year the course was in stunning condition. Tees and fairways were immaculate, the semi rough playable, the deeper rough penalising, as you would expect, and the bunkers designed by the devil himself! The greens, although having been recently scarified and top dressed, were fantastic . Their size and undulations however called for the greatest concentration to avoid three putting.

The relatively flat nature of the course meant that the views of the Bristol Channel, the Devon coastline, Swansea bay and the Gower peninsular were always visible and the sound of the sea seemed to soothe the spirit even after the occasional shank.

The clubhouse spike bar made us feel as if we were settling into our London Club of yesteryear. Other facilities were top class including the changing rooms where suncream, towels and shoe cleaning equipment are complimentary.

Royal Porthcawl is truly the St Andrew’s of South Wales A final question. What criterion is required for the accolade of Royal for a golf course?

Jeff Hanney Roaming Reporter

Editors Comment: There is little doubt that Royal Porthcawl GC is, as our roaming reporters found, the jewel in the Welsh golfing crown. This prestige links figures in most, if not all, of the eminent golf publications and commentators top 100 UK courses. Its pedigree is testament to the tournaments that it has hosted which, inter alia, include The Walker Cup, The Curtis Cup, The Amateur Championship, The Home Internationals, The Dunlop Masters and The Penfold and Coral Classic… the list goes on. With new tees and the redevelopment of two greens, Royal Porthcawl GC is now getting ready to host one of the biggest golfing events in the UK: The 2014 Senior Open Championship.

For those golfers who have not yet played this outstanding golf course why not add to your 2013 itinerary. As you will have noted from the report it is truly a 12 month a year course that provides a memorable challenge to all that walk its fairways.

If the Open Championship rota were ever extended beyond the present 9 links courses then surely Royal Porthcawl must be in there somewhere? Good golfing!

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