Pennard Golf Club in Wales: Sky high with cow pies

SWANSEA, Wales – Pennard Golf Club, located eight miles west of the coastal city of Swansea, has it all: A setting as good as they come, holes that beckon the best shots you have in your bag -- and the occasional cow pie to step over.

Located about 200 feet above the sea on the Gower Peninsula on the south coast of Wales, Pennard is hardly a perfect play, and that's its joy.

The terrain is exposed to the elements and is severely rolling. And the wind often whips strong, which leads to firm fairways. Pennard is set on common land, so nearby farmers let their cows and horses onto the golf course. There is also a steady stream of hikers walking their dogs.

With the animals, the castle ruins, the views and the links, Pennard Golf Club is about as memorable a round as there is in the U.K.

To this day, you'll need to step over electrical wire encircling each green. That trip wire hasn't been able to stop what the club believes to be a local vandal who has poisoned a handful of the greens and made them shiny and slick. It's just another unexpected element of many to conquer.

Pennard Golf Club has been altered by many golf course architects -- from James Braid to C.K. Cotton -- since its inception in 1896. While a bit short by today's standards, often-high wind, blind shots and some deep sod bunkers help defend the golf course.

Some of the holes are narrow and tough, especially when the golf course is at its firmest. The par-4 18th hole has the narrowest fairway, and it slopes severely from right to left. Other holes, like the seventh, are as good as there are in the world.

The 16th hole, a par 5 that plays toward the coast, is as pretty of a hole as you will find, while the par-5 17th is narrow with a blind tee shot and gorse everywhere. When we ascended the hill from the tee, we found two cows lounging right in the fairway -- probably a safe spot to be, considering the difficulty of the tee shot.

The front side plays farther inland, but a fantastic stretch of holes play along a stream that runs inland, the Pennard Pill. The seventh hole runs along the Pennard Pill and between Pennard Castle ruins on the right and church ruins on the left (both dating back to the 13th century), then heads up a tumbling fairway to a bowled green that will probably be blind from your vantage point in the fairway if the wind is in your face.

One hole that is a beast when the wind is coming in off the coast is the par-3 13th, which plays about 205 yards uphill. A driver was the play the day we played it, while the par-3 11th, about 185 yards and heading the opposite direction, was an 8-iron.

Pennard Golf Club: The verdict

Strong opinions abound about Pennard G.C. The closed-minded folks in your golf group who prefer a more controlled, manicured golf environment may want to wait in the car.

I don't think Pennard could be my home club, but it gives you an entirely new perspective of the game. And for the trouble, you'll play some of golf's most scenic fairways, so keep your fingers crossed for a sunny day and bring your camera.

Stay and play near Pennard Golf Club

Pennard is farther west compared to southern Wales' other must-play links like Royal Porthcawl Golf Club, Pyle   Kenfig Golf Club and Southerndown Golf Club. A good base to see them all, as well as historic Tenby Golf Club to the west, is the town of Swansea. A rival in rugby to larger Cardiff to the east, Swansea has great nightlife and restaurants and is easier to get around compared to larger Cardiff farther east.

There are scores of hotels to choose from. One of the best is Morgan's Hotel, a boutique hotel within walking distance of the main strip of bars on Wind Street, as well as a casino and the coastline.

Brandon Tucker is the Sr. Managing Editor for GolfPass and was the founding editor of Golf Advisor in 2014, he was the managing editor for Golf Channel Digital's Courses & Travel. To date, his golf travels have taken him to over two dozen countries and nearly 600 golf courses worldwide. While he's played some of the most prestigious courses in the world, Tucker's favorite way to play the game is on a great muni in under three hours. Follow Brandon on Twitter at @BrandonTucker and on Instagram at @btuck34.
0 Comments
Related Links
At Tenby Golf Club in Wales, a little restraint goes a long way. Keep your tee shot in the fairway, and the course is much more enjoyable. Otherwise, you'll spend the day looking for lost balls. That said, Tenby boasts great links terrain filled with excellent views of the coast and plenty of quirks. It's reminiscent of an unrefined Prestwick in a lot of ways: a historic, 19th century pedigree and an imaginative routing with lots of thick rough and blind shots.
3 Min Read
More from the author
4 Min Read
November 23, 2021
We scoured the web of golf and found holiday savings up to 50% off
12 Min Read
November 18, 2021
Golfers can choose from a wide variety of portable launch monitor price points and user experiences. Here is what's new and the best ones to consider to improve your golf.
7 Min Read
November 9, 2021
Our community loves the value and experience at these popular and affordable military facilities and even book online.
5 Min Read
November 2, 2021
Some U.S. cities have frighteningly few public-access courses for its residents. If you like variety, you may not want to live in these metros.
6 Min Read
October 27, 2021
Kick up the jams and drop some putts with the best portable speakers for the golf course.
4 Min Read
October 21, 2021
What began with just a par-3 course and learning center, this 2,000-acre sporting ranch between Austin and Houston is finally going all-in with an ambitious championship course.
Popular
20 Images
November 1, 2021
Golfers sent us photos from Ryder Cup and Solheim Cup venues, plus a famous 19th hole by Tiger Woods.
5 Min Read
November 3, 2021
Playing golf at night is a fun experience everyone should try.
4 Min Read
November 22, 2021
Anyone can play Tom Fazio's Wynn Golf Club, which sits in the heart of the Las Vegas strip.
7 Min Read
November 11, 2021
More than 115 golf resorts can be booked using your Bonvoy rewards. We break down where you can go and our favorite properties to use your points.
Load More
Now Reading
Pennard Golf Club in Wales: Sky high with cow pies