Play the pure links at Royal St David's and the well-established championship course at Aberdovey
The GSGB returns to Royal St David’s, one of our regular venues, for Day 1 of the May Meeting. The course is pure links, beautifully set between towering sand dunes and the imposing Harlech Castle. Behind the dunes, to the northwest, is the sweeping bay of Tremadog and to the north are views across to Snowdon and the lesser peaks of Snowdonia.
Founded in 1894, the course measures 6,500 yards from the back tees and is regarded by many as one of the world’s toughest par 69’s particularly in challenging conditions. It’s not your usual out-and-back links, the holes move in all directions, subjecting each shot to the vagaries of the prevailing westerly wind. The opening dozen holes are fully exposed to the elements. They play back and forth across fairly flat and at times open ground.
The landscape changes dramatically from the 13th as we enter rippling undulating dune land. The bunker free par-four 15th requires a long carry from an elevated tee to a narrow fairway with Mount Snowdon framed in the distance. A decent drive leaves a partially blind approach shot to a raised green nestling between sand dunes. You might catch a quick glimpse of the Irish Sea from the 16th tee before turning back inland towards the clubhouse. Unusually, Royal St David’s finishes with a 200-yard par three with the green directly in front of the clubhouse.
Day 2 of the May Meeting takes us to Aberdovey for the first time. Like Harlech this wonderful old links is consistently rated in the Top 100 Golf Courses in the GB & Ireland and is a well-established championship venue. The course was designed by legendary golf architects Harry Colt, James Braid and William Herbert Fowler, who worked around the links to create a stunning course. There is so much history at Aberdovey that you cannot help but fall in love with the place. Running alongside this classic out-and-back links is the railway line, reminding us of the days when the trains were full of travelling golfers.
Despite its old age Aberdovey is no shorty, measuring over 6,700 yards from the new back tees. It has tested the very best golfers playing host to a number of amateur championships over the years and it was here, as a youngster, that Ian Woosnam developed his craft. It isn’t the hardest links course in the British Isles by any stretch of the imagination but when the wind blows it can throw the ball off line and into the rough. The club is renowned for its warm welcome and the clubhouse offers full catering facilities as well as having ten twin ensuite bedrooms onsite.