16 reviews of Royal Porthcawl Golf Club
My recent golf tour of the South coast of Wales got off to a flying start and even if I had not enjoyed the likes of Pyle & Kenfig, Ashburnham and Pennard (which I did by the way!) the trip would have been worth it just for my Royal Porthcawl experience!
Arriving in questionable weather, we were delighted to see the sun come out half an hour or so before our tee time and were lucky to have to stay sunny for the remainder of the day! The course starts off down by the sea and when faced with a tricky approach into the first you know you are in for a proper links challenge! Every hole is a gem with particular highlights being the par 5 5th and the par 3 4th where I was lucky to bag a hole in one! This course is certainly not a place where you simply grip it and rip it as each hole presents the golfer with a number of options of how to go about achieving par.
To go with the stunning setting and superb layout, the conditioning was perfect. Firm but springy links turf throughout, well placed pot bunkers and top class greens are all present and by the time I had reached the turn Royal Porthcawl was already in the top three links courses I have played.
The clubhouse is also fantastic with superb food, accommodating staff members and a fantastic location overlooking the sea. There is also absolutely no sign of stuffiness or elitism that, to be honest, I was expecting from a club with the Royal moniker!
Top class in every department and certainly a reason to visit the South coast of Wales. Thoroughly recommended.
JL - 4 H'cap
I think thanks to the Open Championship venues in both England and Scotland, Wales often gets overlooked when it comes to links golf. This is a shame because the South coast is chock-a-bloc with amazing seaside gems, the best of which in my mind has to be Royal Porthcawl. I have played this fantastic course several times on golf tours of this part of Wales and have never been let down.
The condition of the course is the most impressive thing...no matter the time of the year this course is manicured to perfection which always makes for a more enjoyable overall experience. The layout is genuine, pure and simple links and calls for an array of shots and the use of imagination which, in my mind, no other type of course does. I wouldn't reccommend the course to the higher handicappers who may just be slightly out of their depth but for any golfer giving it a go; play sensibly and avoid the pot bunkers at all costs! It would be worth practicing the old bump and run and punch shots on the range before giving it a go as well!
As with many places in Wales the people are extremely friendly and we were treated like important members rather than the golfing ramblers we really are! All in all an absolute must for any golfer who enjoys a spot of links golf.
Alex F - 3 Hcap
Played here on a sunny day November ,2011 ( £ 55 ).
Fantastic course ,setting ,clubhouse & welcome.
The course condition/presentation was superb.
We stayed in the onsite dormy house which was fine & convenient.
Still my favourite golfing experience .
I played 36 holes at Royal Porthcawl in one day - so many changes of weather over eight hours. The course has surprising amount of elevation change for a seaside links. The greens were on the smallish side, especially # 1 on a plateau, so this course places emphasis on quality approach shots. A little more tricky on the front nine, with a par 5 with a bunker exactly in the middle of the fairway on the second shot, followed by a very short par 3 for a championship course. Back nine requires solid drives and approaches into strong par 4s. The 17th par 5 I think, was long and curving, as was much of the back nine. Lots of plateau fairways and perched greens. # 18 tumbles downhill towards the sea and requires solid shots. Of course Royal Porthcawl is not to be missed on a trip to Wales, and definitely not a course to expect an easy low score. Fair and challenging.
I played the course in mid September 09 on the first day of a golf holiday with 5 friends. The weather was dry but the wind was 20 mph from NE. We received a pleasant welcome in the pros shop, and were offered the choice of white or yellow tees. As some of us hadn't played here before we wisely chose the yellow tees. We were courteously greeted by all the staff we met, and club members were also friendly and helpful. The clubhouse looks unremarkable from outside, but it is well worth spending some time looking at the pictures and memorabilia. The course was in first class condition, with no bare patches on the fairways (as can be the case on other links courses). The greens were challenging, with lots of slopes and subtle borrows.The rough was thick and required a lofted club to escape. The bunkers have a habit of swallowing up any ball pitching close to them. In fact it was all one expected of links golf - a great start to our holiday.
Played here last week and, while it's clearly a good track, something just didn't add up for me.
I should say at the outset that this review may sound critical but then frankly this is a course that is routinely lauded as being amongst the top links courses in the UK, if not the world so it has a fair deal to live up to.
Some of the holes are very good the 2nd and 3rd, the sub-120 yard 7th, the very tough back to back par 4s at 15 and 16 (896 yards between them off the tips), and the 18th is a lovely finisher. The routing also means the wind is constantly coming at you from a different angle, which I love.
However, I felt the par 5s apart from the 5th were weak and let the course down. The par 4 10th readily springs to mind as another weak hole.
Also, there wasn't much pure links quality in evidence on the fairways they were soft for a proper links course and had lots of wormcasts. The greens were also very slow (and bore absolutely no relation to the practice green!)
And you must know me better than this by now anyway but no I didn't have a bad day here, in fact I easily shot my handicap.
Frankly, for £80 a round midweek it's overpriced by about £20.
Of the 'Big Two' in Wales that regularly top the rankings I prefer Royal St David's (even though it is a trek but it's also monumentally better value for money).
'Young P' (h/c 9)
Played here midweek March 07 (£50 including a 2 course meal).
A memorable days golf.
Driving to the course in sunshine, about 1 mile from the club amazingly we drove into a thick fog/mist .Arriving at the course we couldn't see the 1st fairway.Cue panic.After 2 hours it still hadn't cleared so we drove up to look at Pyle & Kenfig 1 mile up the road & back into perfect sunny weather.When we returned to R.P. 20 minutes later the mist had completely cleared & we could see the course in it's full glory.
The course itself was probably the toughest scoring course that i've played (& the 15th is probably the hardest par 4 that i've played).You can forget about playing anywhere near your handicap here.This is mainly due to the probably everpresent wind & the precision needed to avoid the well placed deep bunkers .
Very slight accuracy errors on the approaches mean the ball gets drawn into deep rivetted bunkers.For most of the bunkers here it's a question of coming out rather than any sort of advancement, as it should be.
Sometimes you hit straightish blind shots only to find your ball in a bunker(a course planner would have helped but not at £5 a go)
The first 3 holes run along the shoreline.Initially it took a little while for the course to grab me but from the 8th onwards it had got me.(the only hole i didn't like was the uphill 5th).The wind was a tough but enjoyable factor on the back 9 & coming downhill at the last in the sun & with the sea as a backdrop was a fitting finish.
One small quibble was that the fairways were a bit barren.
The clubhouse doesn't look much from the outside but inside it is a classic,one of the best i've been in.Great changing room with the sun coming in through the windows late in the day & the sea only 50 yards away.
Due to the fog delay the catering staff had kindly waited for us to come in & we enjoyed excellent food(part of the deal) looking out of the big dining room window with views of the 1st fairway & coastline.
Overall a great golfing experience.
Sixteen from our golf society played this course on 23rd September. Glorious weather but the prevailing wind straight in your face over the first three holes makes it a very tough start.The course is beautifully presented;the greens fast but true, and the pot bunkers preferable to avoid. If the Pro suggests that whilst you can use yellow or white tees ( there is also blue!) if it is the first time you are playing the course, yellow would be preferable I recommend you take his advice! We didn't by popular vote.If you are coming to the this area of South Wales, this is something of a magnet to try but you need to be both skilled and able to adapt your game to very testing links golf to make it worthwhile. Our winner for the day - off 8 - scored 23 points.
Played here on a wet but not so windy Mid October date after booking via Welsh golf holidays. What a delight. Superb greens and tee shots to test the nerve of any golfer. But stay out of the typical Championship Links bunkers, espescially on the 4th and 14th!! The "Antique" club house is a just brilliant.
I played 36 holes round Royal Porthcawl on Friday 13th September 2002 and if you are planning a golfing break to South Wales then this course has to be on your list. The £65 days green fee is worth every penny. Although I must admit when I played the course the weather was magnificent.
I have to agree with David, not quite the quality of Saunton but excellent nevertheless. Quite an open links course without the usaul towering dunes lining the fairways, but with plenty of gorse to keep you thinking. The first three holes are right up close to the sea with the third being a classic heroic hole. Some nice par threes but one or two weaker holes such as the 10th.
What a treat. Having played most of the fine links courses in Scotland, Ireland and northwestern England, last August I met up with a Welsh friend to finally visit south Wales for a week of golf. Royal Porthcawl was the clear highlight of the trip. Miraculously missing a week of downpours by a few days, we were lucky enough to play 54 holes at Porthcawl without a drop of rain. Stayed in the small apartments above the pro shop, a great way to go as the accommodations are very reasonable and it allowed us to get out for an 18-hole warmup in the late afternoon before our reserved tee time, and then get in 36 the next day without any rushing. This is not exactly the Kingdom of Fife when it comes to crowds of golf tourists -- we hardly saw anyone on both days (but we did get to see Gareth Edwards, the great Welsh fly-half, teeing off as we finished one round).
As to the course itself, this ranks in my top ten of UK/Ireland links, and has all the qualities of great golf. Almost constant ocean views, crisp turf in good condition, varied and interesting design, reasonably fast greens, a few blind shots, and lots of nasty rough. Terrific shot values from the tee boxes and the fairways, and a selection of beautiful par-3s. The 7th in particular -- a mere 120 yards, but a tiny undulating green surrounded by cavernous bunkers makes one think twice, especially in a good breeze. The 15th and 16th are long, tough par 4s, one of which is guaranteed to be into the teeth of the wind. The 18th is an awesome finish as your roughly 175-yard approach has to be hit directly at the beach and is visually deceptive. Overall a challenging but exceedingly fair test (especially after a practice round to get oriented on a couple of particularly difficult blind tee shots on the back nine).
All in all, a terrific experience, and the club staff are extremely accommodating to visitors. Not to be missed if in the southern UK.
We played Royal Porthcawl on 5/6/01 and any description would not do it justice. A couple of days later one of the party, who was a little pertubed at the £55 green fee, remarked it was the best £55 they had ever spent! Suffice to say, Royal Porthcawl is a must visit.
A true gem. I play here once every year and it never fails to impress. If you enjoy playing the famous Scottish links then you'll love this and at a cost of around £50 it's a bargain.
I was lucky enough to play as a guest on a sunny but cold February day in 2000. A super layout, the undulations making club selection very difficult. Green were very quick for the winter and it's easy to see how it was selected for the '95 Walker Cup. For those having to pay a green fee, watch out, its £45 weekdays; you'll need a fine day to enjoy it. Similar in quality to Royal North Devon but not quite a Saunton.
Played this links beauty in late Jan 2000. Cold (45 degrees) and very windy, but loved every minute of it. You can see the ocean from every hole and the scenery is tremendous. The course is tough, especially in the 25 MPH winds, but good shots are rewarded and you have some hope of recovery when you do miss the fairways. Some great holes: par 4s that play like par 5's into the wind, great par 3s (crowned greens closely surrounded by deep pot bunkers), and one outstanding par 5, the 5th.Closing 4 holes are brutes: truly a great course!
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