Finding it hard to decide on a venue for an away-day or weekend with the girls? Or do you fancy entering an Open competition at a different venue? We suggest a trip to Aberdovey.
As legend goes, the much revered links at Aberdovey, which sits snugly between the Cambrian Mountains and the Dovey Estuary, was born in 1886 when a Colonel Ruck borrowed nine flower pots from the garden of a local woman and cut them into the marshland.
By the early 20th century, excellent rail links made the course a frequent haunt of the higher echelons of London society and with Bernard Darwin, the forefather of golf writing, among its greatest advocates, and legends such as James Braid and Harry Colt stamping their unique mark on the makeshift layout, the course’s status as one of Wales’s best links courses became firmly established.
The ease of travelling by train to the course cannot be understated. The station is still no more than a wedge from the clubhouse and alongside good road links
from the Midlands has long guaranteed that the club, as well as the village, remains incredibly popular.
With the sea at your back, the picturesque village perched on the hills beyond and the imposing dunes lining the fairway, few opening holes could be more visually striking than the 1st at Aberdovey.
An essentially “out and back’’ links, which runs alongside the track of the old railway, the course, despite our great fortune of turning up on perhaps the only day of the year where there was no tangible wind, is regularly buffered by the elements. That only adds to the charm of a course which boasts some of the best maintained greens in the country.
Coastal erosion is a real problem here. Members were shocked to discover after a particularly bad storm in 2014 that a substantial portion of the 12th green had fallen into the sea. Perhaps the most iconic hole on the course, the work to repair the green has been remarkable, with golfers again afforded fantastic views over Cardigan Bay.
The par-3 3rd is another cracker, with players required to hit a blind tee shot over a huge grassy bunker to a bowl-shaped green beyond.
Far from the snooty reception you may expect from a course of Aberdovey’s standing, the clubhouse was among the friendliest we’d ever encountered, and on
a sunny day it’s hard to imagine a better place to enjoy a jug of Pimm’s than on its balcony, which overlooks the 18th green and the ocean beyond.
There’s little reason not to mull over your glass with the club’s dormy accommodation only yards from the clubhouse. The rooms are homely and spacious, although with only a few steps separating them from the well-stocked ladies section in the pro-shop, you may come away spending more than you’d anticipated.
While traditional British seaside resorts find themselves far too often sliding into decline, Aberdovey has lost little of its original charm.
The colourful Victorian houses that dominate the village provide an unusually vibrant scene from the slate-grey Wales that visitors may often expect. Perhaps the biggest draw however is the large sandy beach which is best enjoyed after a visit to the charming homemade ice cream shop (the mint chocolate chip comes highly recommended!).
An array of quaint shops and cafes provide the ideal place to while away an afternoon, and the Snowdonia National Park and its many attractions are also within easy reach.
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