A selection of reviews from Top 100 golf course website reviews and the visitors book in the clubhouse.
Our group has traveled all over The British Isles but hadn’t made our way to Wales. We took in what we tried to depict as the best of Wales Links in a week. Pennard was what I’d call our salute to Tom Doak as he recently penned an article in Links Mag for his “Unloved” of which Pennard was featured. Pennard starts out strong and really just keeps getting stronger. Many write about the back nine at Tralee as maybe the best 9….Well Pennard other than the first Par 5 is equal to the back 9 of Tralee for the entire course. You might be taken aback by the roaming cows and the fenced greens but that’s just more charm. This course presents spectacular holes on vista laiden land and also much dune circumvention of a grand scale. The real deal though is that you can play 3 rounds here for the cost of one at most of SW Ireland. Wales with Pennard as one of your absolute musts is an itinerary which must be planned.
The first thing I noticed about Pennard were the cows! They were on the practice ground and all over the 1st fairway. I don’t think I’ve played in a cow pasture before and this gives you the impression that the course won’t be up to much. How wrong you would be! Despite having good views of many fairways and greens from the clubhouse, playing for the first time you don’t know where the routing will take you and so you look forward to the journey ahead. Pennard’s charm lies in the way the stunning scenery and great golf holes are slowly revealed and often in ways you didn’t expect. The first 5 holes, whilst being enjoyable tests in their own right, are played over undulating ground with no sign of the gems to come. Finally whilst walking from your tee shot on the par 4 6th, a deep hidden valley comes into view. This is a popular tourist spot but, unlike other stunning cliff top courses like Nefyn, there are no safety issues here as the course is several hundred metres away from the holidaymakers and also quite a distance higher too! (the club’s strapline is ‘The links in the sky’). The next two par 4 holes play on linkslike fairways around the ruins of an old church and castle. The 7th has an ‘infinitylike’ green where an over hit shot seems to disappear off the edge of the world (in fact it’s just a drop into deep bracken but the illusion is effective). The routing returns close to the clubhouse after 9 and the back 9 loop also returns to similar views of the hidden valley and then, just when you thought it could get any better, an even more stunning view unfolds of the seas and the Gower sands for the par 5’s on 16 and 17. Despite the numerous cows on the course, they didn’t detract from the experience and whilst the conditioning of the course was a little rough at the edges, the greens were true and wellpresented. All in all a very enjoyable and good value course which I thoroughly recommend.
Our group played Pennard twice in july 2014. I didn’t have a clue what to expect as i couldn’t really put my finger on what ‘the links in the sky’ was supposed to mean. Now I do know and I relish the experiences we’ve had. The staff were warm and welcoming and playing the first couple of holes, it immediately comes clear what a nice little quirky linkscourse Pennard is. There’s cattle and sheep all over the place but it only adds to the experience. I dare you to knock your approach stiff when there’s a gigantic bull lurking over your shoulder! The fairways were rough and patchy but somehow it really matches the raw, pure linksgolf that Pennard is all about. On top of that, I heard they’ve recently put in much work to improve the conditions. The greens on the other hand were topnotch. The back nine is just spectacular. To review every hole would be too long a story, but thinking back every single hole was a standout hole. The 10th is a fantastic risk reward par 5, the 14th is a magnificent par 4, especially from the raised back tee which gives you the most beautiful panorama over the bay, and the back to back par 5’s 16 and 17 are fantastic holes that really make Pennard stick with you. Pennard is a short course for modern standards, but you will need every club in your bag and a lot of long irons and 3woods will be required from the tee. You’ll need to imagine every shot before hitting it, and preferably be able to work the ball high, low, left and right. When we finished and had tied for all square after a finishing silly 3 putt bogey by yours truely, we asked the caddiemaster if we perhaps could go on for a sudden death play off, partly because we both had such a great time playing the course. The caddiemaster insisted we played another 9 holes which ofcourse we accepted gladly, before we had to hurry to arrive in a local pub right on time for Hollands’ quarter final of the World Cup Football. Combine all of the above with a steal of a greenfee: I could play this course every week for the rest of my life and never grow tired of it. Yes it’s quirky, and some landing area’s make you frown at first, but real good shots never ended up badly. Is it worth 6 balls? No, but Pennard puts an ear to ear smile on your face and that’s worth a lot.
I’ve had the good fortune to play some fabulous links golf courses including, Royal County Down, Royal Portrush, Royal Birkdale and Royal Porthcawl. Now I’m not saying that Pennard is in the same league as these which are world class links courses. But it is seriously good. I played Pennard on 14th November 2014, 13 C and sunny with a gentle 1 to 2 club wind. Its a real gem old fasioned links course, rippling fairways with some staggeringly jaw dropping views. As I walked along the first, I glanced back and feast my eyes on the gorgeous holes I’d yet to experience. There isn’t a bad hole in there, all are interesting. It is a very undulating quirky course and like most old links the main defence is the wind. Some delightful deeply tiered bunkering which must be admired even when you’re in one. It’s a class links which isn’t that long but some of the best holes I’ve played aren’t. There are just too many quality holes to list them all. The greens were in excellent condition for the time of year. The fairways as previously mentioned in other reviews are a bit scruffy, there appears to be some turf problems. But this honestly doesn’t distract from a really excellent course.
Had the pleasure of playing Pennard in March of this year. I have to say it was an enjoyable surprise. The architecture there is as superb as the landscape is dramatic. It’s a bit of a challenge to look through the turf issues they have which I truly hope they straighten out some day. The club made it sound like it was only now an issue due to the tough winter however, many of my friends have played and all have experienced the course with turf issues. In any case, tons of variety and one strong hole after another. The closing stretch is a pretty severe test of golf and for me a hole like 17 is questionable, not sure how playable it is for the average players or even their average members but view from the tee is simply breathtaking. My favorite holes were: the par 4 7th hole running past the castle ruins. The par 4 8th with its highly undulated fairway and raised green. The excellent par 3 11th hole even though the green is on such an aggressive left to right slant and finally the shortish par 5 16th which boasts an amazing view of the coast line. 28
Played Pennard Mon 9th June. Stunning! The best course we played in South Wales. The course layout is superb, the views are some of the best anywhere and you get looked after like royalty. This is a must visit venue
This is one of the few courses you could truly recommend taking nongolfers to! The walk, with or without clubs, is just fantastic and the views just keep getting better as the round progresses. There are plenty of blind shots, but apart from the 17th hole, too quirky even for my taste, everything else is actually manageable the first time, as long as you factor in the wind, the bounce and the roll of the ball, but who wouldn’t on a links course? The greens were slightly slow, but true, so presented a decent challenge in the beginning of May 2014. Would not like to play them a lot faster without knowing the course intimately though. Rating is tough: views are clearly 6ball, but the finish is 4ball max, so I settled for a 5ball.
End of March scratch team tour and we played 36 at Pennard between days at Ashburnham and Royal Porthcawl. With many of us having played numerous links golf throughout Britain we did not have huge expectations based on ranking and reviews. But. .Wow, what a fantastic course! Yes, the second was a temp hole due to maintenence and it was a little scruffy in places but for enjoyment this goes ahead of Royal Porthcawl and Royal St. David’s. All nine of us agreed. Greens were very good, the welcome superb and the views outstanding. Maybe not the strategic design of the above but well designed and challenging enough esp with a stiff breeze. Thoroughly recommend it.
We have just got back from a weekend golfing in south wales. Playing Royal Porthcawl on Friday, Machynys Peninsula on Saturday and then finishing off with Pennard yesterday. If I am totally honest I wasn’t overly bothered about playing Pennard before arriving and all I can say is how glad I am that I did. This is an absolute gem of a course, undulating, quirky, short but tough, scenic and an unbelievably friendly clubhouse and golf pro. Its not in Royal Porthcawl’s class as a course but it still has some very special holes of its own with a great finishing three that could ruin any good round. I would happily play this course every week if possible as the atmosphere around the place was amazing, the course was in excellent condition and the views are just sublime.