Wales Still on Ryder Cup High

Royal Porthcawl, Wales (Image: Royal Porthcawl)

Historic Royal Porthcawl Golf Club. (Image: Royal Porthcawl)

It’s no exaggeration to say that the 2010 Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor Resort, a thriller won by the Europeans, finally established Wales as a golf destination to rival Scotland and Ireland.

Revenue from golf tourism in Wales increased 21 percent over the previous year to more than $66 million. Today, approximately 200,000 foreign golfers visit Wales annually, compared to about 30,000 in the years prior to the Ryder Cup.

Outside of Cardiff, the bustling capital, visitors discover a largely pastoral and ruggedly picturesque countryside dotted with medieval castles, charming inns and more than 200 courses — ranging from parkland beauties set in the shadow of towering mountains to coastal links that remain open year-round. Though part of Great Britain, Wales remains fiercely independent, retaining a distinct cultural identity and the native Welsh language, which is spoken by over 580,000 of the country’s three million citizens.

Here, five must-play courses in Wales:

  • Royal Porthcawl Golf Club
    One of the world’s classic links, wind-battered Royal Porthcawl thrillingly — and unusually, even for a seaside layout — offers ocean views from every hole. Dating from 1895, the venerable beauty hosted the 2014 Senior British Open Championship.
  • Royal St. David’s Golf Club
    Overlooked by magnificent Harlech Castle and the mountains of Snowdonia, Royal St. David’s is a links renowned for its seaside beauty and its superb, large greens.
  • Aberdovey Golf Club
    A classic links beloved by legendary golf writer Bernard Darwin, Aberdovey follows a graceful figure eight routing through the dunes near the sleepy seaside village of the same name. But tread carefully around the single-strand electric fences used to keep grazing cattle off the putting greens.
  • Pennard Golf Club
    Perched high on a cliff-top, Pennard Golf Club was designed by the immortal James Braid on linksland that wends around the ruins of a twelfth-century Norman Castle and offers spectacular views of plunging sea cliffs and deserted beaches.
  • Celtic Manor Resort
    The big attraction at this 400-room North American-style luxury resort in the picturesque Usk Valley is the Twenty Ten course, a parkland-style brute specifically built to host the Ryder Cup. Also offered is the excellent Montgomerie Course, designed by 2010 Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie; and the Roman Road, a solid layout offering lovely views across the Severn Estuary.

 

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