Golf World Top 100: Best Golf Courses in Wales


What are the best golf courses in Wales? The Golf World Top 100 panel ranks the best courses in Cymru. 

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Welcome to the Golf World Top 100 Best Golf Courses in Wales.

This is, without doubt, our most comprehensive and competitive ranking of the very best of Wales. It’s the fourth time we have ranked the top 50 in the Principality and an increasing number of courses were considered and rated thanks to an expanded panel led by Phil Davies, Daniel Jones, Richard Allen, David Thomas and Top 100 editor Chris Bertram. As a result, there are several new entries and key moves in the ranking.

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Nefyn & District Golf Club

What is the Golf World Top 100?

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Golf World Top 100: Best Golf Courses in Wales

50. Builth Wells

Builth Wells, Mid Wales

Founded in 1923 as a nine-hole course before it was extended 63 years later. A woodland course among mature trees, there are small greens protected by ridges and slopes to try to find.

49. Milford Haven

Milford Haven, South Wales

This represents a new entry for this cute 18-hole parkland, which runs alongside the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, and after holes which are characterised by ponds to start off, the 7th offers terrific views over the Milford estuary.

48. Anglesey

Rhosneigr, North Wales

Set on springy heathland among the sand dunes of Rhosneigr, this is the most linksy of the terrific little collection of clubs set on the island of Anglesey.

47. Wenvoe Castle

Cardiff, South Wales

This mature parkland was designed by the great James Braid and dates back to 1936. It is a tree-lined yet spacious inland course.

46. Morlais Castle

Cardiff, South Wales

Located 20 miles north of the capital, Morlais Castle is a moorland course in the foothills of the Brecon Beacons – with predictably good views.

45. Woodlake Park

Usk, South Wales

Opened in 1993, this undulating parkland is defined by well-established trees and has matured very nicely. One of its strengths is its conditioning, with USGA-spec greens and lush fairways.

44. Cardiff

Cardiff, South Wales

A classy parkland north of the capital that meanders between mature trees and over, at times, undulating terrain. A pedigree experience on the edge of the city.

43. Vale Resort (Lakes Course) 

Hensol, South Wales

This is the first time in our Wales Top 50 for the No.2 course at this excellent resort. It is aptly named with water in play on 12 of its holes.

42. Abergele

Abergele, North Wales

Initially laid out in 1910, Abergele was later rearranged by Fred Hawtree with more recent modifications made by David Williams. It is one of most scenic courses in Wales, with Gwrych Castle the backdrop to this historic course.

41. Prestatyn

Prestatyn, North Wales

The most northerly course in the Principality is mainly the work of Fred Collins. The front nine is closer to the sea but based on flatter land, but the holes actually get more sophisticated on the second half.

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40. Vale of Llangollen 

Llangollen, Mid Wales

Formed back in 1908 as a nine-hole course but extended at the end of the ’60s, the trees planted then to add definition are now mature. Offers a tranquil round on the valley floor on the banks of the River Dee.

39. Cradoc

Brecon, Mid Wales

This CK Cotton design sits on land that often undulates significantly on the northern side of the Usk Valley. Expect plenty of uphill, downhill and sidehill lies and some really good holes.

Celtic Manor Roman Road Course

38. Celtic Manor (Roman Road Course)  

Newport, South Wales

The first of the five-star resort’s courses to be built, it opened in 1995 after being laid out by the legendary American architect Robert Trent Jones Snr. The Roman Road overlooks the Severn Estuary, with views across to Somerset and Devon, its holes winding between trees and across streams.

37. Radyr

Cardiff, South Wales

Radyr was shaped by Willie Fernie – the first man to design it, in 1901 – CK Cotton and Harry Colt. Located 300ft above sea level, it consequently enjoys very fine views overlooking the city of Cardiff and the Bristol Channel.

36. Rhuddlan

Rhuddlan, North Wales

Rhuddlan entered our Wales ranking in 2017 and now well inside the top 40. It sits in the Vale of Clwyd and is sheltered by the Clwydian Range. Expect a gently undulating parkland of under 6,300 yards, with mature trees lining the fairways.

35. The Glamorganshire

Penarth, South Wales

A new entry for a course that offers lovely views over the Bristol Channel, the Vale and across to south-west England, as well as pure greens and a nice variety of holes.

34. Neath

Neath, South Wales

A notable rise for this 1934 James Braid heathland, which our panel noted is in especially good condition. It comprises trees, heather, gorse, dry stone walls and undulating greens – plus delightful views of the Vale of Neath.

33. Aberystwyth

Aberystwyth, West Coast

Plotted by Harry Vardon above the coastal town and enjoys sensational views over Cardigan Bay. Plenty of fun holes across the tumbling land – and a screensaver-worthy picture is never far away.

32. Whitchurch

Whitchurch, South Wales

Established in 1914, this Hubert Walker parkland is overlooked by 13th Century Castell Coch castle. Expect nicely manicured, lush fairways and mature trees, and enough of a test to have honed the game of Walker Cup legend Nigel Edwards.

31. Celtic Manor (Montgomerie Course)  

Newport, South Wales

Colin Montgomerie’s work – in association with European Golf Design – is a very solid back-up to the resort’s star attraction. It features Montgomerie’s trademark penal bunkering and challenging greens.

30. Holyhead

Holyhead, North Wales

This superb James Braid heathland enjoys a handsome and enviable location on the Isle of Anglesey. Boasts undulating fairways routed among gorse, heather and bracken – as well as springy, firm turf.

29. Newport

Newport, South Wales

Set among the birch, beech and oak trees of Llwyni Wood, Newport is a fine woodland-parkland that moves along gently undulating, lush fairways. A classy feel to a mature parkland.

28. Clyne

Swansea, South Wales

Harry Colt created this course of great pedigree at the entrance to Gower Peninsula in the 1920s. Moorland in nature, Colt’s routing takes the holes over the natural land with elan and this is an adventure that traverses gorse, bracken, pot bunkers, humps and bumps to produce holes of real character.

27. Pwllhelo

Pwllheli, West Coast

A Tom Morris design that begins as a pleasant, tranquil parkland and moves into a super links section which begins at the 8th. The par-4 9th and short 10th would not be out of place on any course in Britain. If there were more links holes than inland ones, it would be well inside the top 20.

26. Maesdu

Llandudno, North Wales

This Llandudno course is a delightful mix of parkland and links holes, designed by the masterful James Braid. It enjoys views across Conwy Bay, from Great Orme’s Head to the mountains of Snowdonia, and is a pristinely-conditioned course whether on the seaside or inland holes. Expect subtle, contoured greens.

The Vale Golf Resort

25. Vale Resort (National)

Hensol, South Wales

This top 25 slot is no mean feat for a modern course. The National has a fearsome reputation because of its daunting yardage off the tips, but other tees are available and it isn’t all about big hitting, because the National features marvellous par 3s and classic risk-reward short par 4s. Opened in 2003, this Peter Johnson design is a bigboned woodland course.

24. Wrexham

Wrexham, North Wales

Founded in the early 1900s, but it wasn’t until James Braid laid out this parkland in two loops of returning lines that it had a permanent home. In terrific condition and with a very good variety of holes – the par 3s are especially good – and no weak links. Wrexham starts and ends especially strongly.

23. Langland Bay

Swansea, South Wales

The end to both nines at this James Braid design are breathtaking, inviting comparisons with Pebble Beach. The 360-degree views certainly take the breath away, thanks to the course being perched on cliffs high above the golden sands of Gower. Visually epic.

22. Llandrindod Wells

Llandrindod Wells, Mid Wales

Dates back to 1905 and benefits from the nous of Harry Vardon and James Braid, with a brilliantly diverse set of holes incorporating ridges, humps and hollows that give rise to blind shots, some great architectural features, a couple of high-class par 3s and memorable two-shotters.

21. Borth & Ynyslas

Aer Y Mor, West Coast 

Despite it being one of the oldest courses in Wales, Borth often flies under the radar. It is not in as pristine condition as its championship neighbours further up the coast, but don’t let that put you off. The far end of the links is reached at the 8th and the road home begins with a classy short hole, ‘Dyfi’, followed by arguably the best run at Borth, a three-hole stretch offering a strong par 4, a downhill par 3 across the site, and a sporty two-shotter – all characterised by amphitheatres green complexes.

20. Welshpool

Welshpool, Mid Wales

Welshpool dates back to the 1890s, but moved from its original location in Deer Park in 1930 and very astutely engaged James Braid to lay out their new course. As one panellist says, “Braid at his brawny best”. No bunkers, but doesn’t need them as Braid has worked the hilly land so expertly.

19. Cardigan

Cardigan, South Wales

Hard to define, given it moves seamlessly into different phases – mainly links, but also moorland and even meadowland – but the common themes are fantastic turf and terrific holes. Founded in 1895, expect wonderful views of the bay, sloping lies, cunning greens and a truly epic climax.

18. Machynys Peninsula

Llanelli, South Wales

While Machynys has been in every one of our Wales rankings, this is the first time it has been in the top 20. ‘Machynys’ means ‘Monks Island’ and while it is not a links à la Porthcawl, it has a seaside location and water hazards play a huge part in this brawny Nicklaus-designed modern course.

North Wales Golf Club

17. North Wales

Llandudno, North Wales

Hoylake luminaries John Ball and Harold Hilton played a key part in the development of this super links. “Short, quirky, Llandudno links. Love it there,” says one panellist. Located among sand hills and valleys on the West Shore in Llandudno, these 6,300 yards are an absolute delight.

16. Abersoch

Abersoch, West Coast

We have championed this Harry Vardon design in the past three Wales rankings. Really fun links which can be described as ‘holiday golf’ – but what’s wrong with entertaining, playable, scenic seaside golf? There is a nice mix of links and inland holes and a ‘glad to be alive’ feeling.

15. Marriott St Pierre (Old Course) 

Chepstow, South Wales

Ross McMurray’s second South Wales entry in the top 15, and this is the Old’s highest position in our Wales list – reward for investment in this tranquil parkland. It is a resort course only in name because it is strong enough to have been a long-time Tour venue as well as hosting the Solheim Cup.

14. Rolls of Monmouth

The Hendre, South Wales

We could be accused of being a little slow to recognise the class of Rolls but we feel it definitely belongs in the top 20 – and don’t be surprised if it rises a little further. An unknown designer made a fine job of laying it out either side of a forested hill in an estate once owned by the Rolls (Royce) family.

13. Porthmadog

Porthmadog, West Coast

A James Braid design that is the archetypal course of two halves. The front nine feels like something of a warm-up and while there are some pleasant heathland parkland holes, it is the links section after the turn that really impresses and keeps it in touch with the Principality’s elite.

12. Bull Bay

Amlwch, North Wales

Herbert Fowler sprinkled some magic in Wales on an undulating clifftop course on Anglesey that is now established in the top end of our ranking. The heathland maestro routed holes through valleys and between rocky outcrops and gorse. A class act – it would not be out of place in the top 10.

11. Nefyn & District

Nefyn, West Coast

You see images like this and wonder why Nefyn is not in the top 10 – and certainly if you are bowled over by views then you’ll think it should be top three. Only Old Head matches it for setting but that cliff-edge location means the routing is awkward and it loses marks for the compromises. But, it remains a bucket-list experience.

The Twenty Ten Course at Celtic Manor

10. Celtic Manor (Twenty Ten Course) 

Newport, South Wales

A top 10 slot for the Twenty Ten and just look at the marks to see how easily it could have been top five. This is a stellar inland course, which has been a GB&I entry. Ross McMurray’s thrill-a-minute design offers lots of risk-reward moments and, of course, the atmosphere of a Ryder Cup host.

Tenby Golf Club

9. Tenby

Tenby, South Wales

We have a real soft slot for Tenby, a terrific natural links on the Pembrokeshire coast. It’s more than the ‘holiday links’ it is sometimes described as and has some wonderful holes – such as the 3rd, which is played to a plateau green, and the next, which is played to a punchbowl green.

Pyle & Kenfig Golf Club

8. Pyle & Kenfig

Bridgend, South Wales

It sounds horribly cliched, but this really is a course of two halves. The front half is perfectly good but, frankly, you go to P&K for the awesome holes cut through the dunes. Played towards the end of the day, with weak sunlight casting shadows across rippling fairways, it’s a peerless experience.

Ashburnham Golf Club

7. Ashburnham

Burry Port, South Wales

From the 3rd to 15th inclusive, Ashburnham boasts 13 of the finest links holes in the Principality. The short 6th, the par-4 9th, and the par-5 14th give you the charming, the challenging and the characterful. It starts modestly and that affects its consistency mark, but this is the real deal.

Conwy Golf Club

6. Conwy

Conwy, South Wales

The host of the Curtis Cup now scheduled to be staged later this year, the elite female amateurs will find a mix of terrific setting – as it wraps around the bay with mountains on the other side – with a consistent and, at times, severe examination. Notable little rise to the cusp of the top five.

Southerndown Golf Club

5. Southerndown

Bridgend, South Wales

Fernie, Fowler, Park, Colt and Steel all had a hand in a course we feel edges into downland rather than links category, even if the springy turf is magic. There’s a plentiful supply of gorse and sand too, plus constant breezes across its elevated fairways. The 1st is a real battle, but this rise is very deserved.

Aberdovey Golf Club

4. Aberdovey

Aberdovey, West Coast

Has a feel of ‘golf as it used to be’ but its 6,703 yards are neither short nor forgiving. You are in love after the 1st; the white shell paths, the wispy rough, the dunes, the delicious turf and the salty air. The first and closing sections are world class and the midround quieter phase is still solid links golf.

Pennard Golf Club

3. Pennard

Swansea, South Wales

So close to being our No.2 and, for some, it is their No.1. Look how good No.4 is. All this illustrates how highly Pennard is now rated. James Braid and CK Cotton did a fine job routing this unique course – linksy turf on a clifftop land – to harness the views and turn the funky land into fun holes.

Royal St Davids Golf Club

2. Royal St David’s

Harlech, West Coast

If it is artistic merit you seek, others overshadow RSD. Once you are treading the firm fairways of this low-lying, relatively flat site, you are engaged in battle with an unflinching competitor. Instead, it impresses with consistency, fairness and all-round test. A class act with enviable atmosphere.

Royal Porthcawl Golf Club

1. Royal Porthcawl

Rest Bay, South Wales

Wales has a very strong and competitive top five and all would be fine No.1s, but there isn’t much doubt Porthcawl is the panel’s overwhelming choice to take top spot.

Due to the absence of dune corridors found on many elite links, it famously delivers a view of the sea from every hole, as well as south to Somerset and Exmoor and across Swansea Bay to the Gower Peninsula. Instead, undulating terrain created by blown sand climbs away from the captivating opening three beachside holes and characterises this world-class links. Marram, gorse and heather cover the rolling hillside, although vegetation has admirably being scraped back in recent years to reveal original authentic sandy areas.

As per every classic links, Porthcawl is not all about brawn, with placement of drives between what can be thick rough and mastering the often fast-running conditions as important as thumping it miles. The victory of notoriously short-hitting Gary Wolstenholme over Tiger Woods – in his wondrously athletic but wild youth – in the Walker Cup of 1995 is exhibit A.

Then there is a set of greens that are routinely slick and uncommonly contoured, with putting into bunkers not unheard of. A famous female golfer of yesteryear is said to have gone one better and lost a ball while putting downhill and downwind on the 5th!

Now up to 7,100 yards from the back tees, the 6,580 off the whites will be ample for all but single-figure players – and the 6,300 off the yellows advisable for most. The regular changes in direction, with holes pointed in every direction on the compass, is another strong theme here and ensures it is always testing and interesting.

The aforementioned first three holes head in a north-westerly direction as they hug the coastline, the 3rd green being the point to the ‘triangle’ of land on which Porthcawl is laid out. It is a truly epic start, and by the time you walk off that green you are likely to be already enthused by Porthcawl, our Wales No.1 for two more years.

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