A few weeks ago I posted on www.rookiegolfer.co.uk that I was on the search for a new golf club, I narrowed it down to two clubs Swansea Bay and Neath Golf Club. If you missed the post and want to know what I was looking for when trying to decide on my new golf club click the below link.
So I’ve made my decision, I’ve joined and got my bag tag and I’m now good to go and ready to start playing more golf!
I’ve joined Neath Golf Club, it was a close call but I’m going to list some of the highlights on both courses and why I made my decision:
Both are cheaper than what I was currently paying at the Grove Golf Club, Porthcawl. Swansea Bay is marginally cheaper than Neath but there really is not much in it.
Both clubs are close, Neath is 10 minutes and Swansea Bay with traffic is 15 minutes away. So again nothing really in it.
Neither of these two areas presented anything different from one another, but it has backed up my thoughts on value for money as they are cheaper and offer a lot more.
This is where there is some differences but not by much. Both have decent putting and chipping areas including a practice bunker. Marginally Swansea Bay’s layout of these is better as they are all in one place.
Both have a 100 – 130 yard target area, Neath Golf Club have this set up as remote practice facility about 2 minutes walk away from the putting green but its set up like a playing hole which I preferred.
Neither have a proper range but have nets.
There is no surprise here that both run competitions, in fact both clubs have a stones team (17.5 to 28 handicaps) that plays in two divisions in South Wales, I was part of the team at my old club and would love to carry this on.
I’m use to only one competition on a weekend both clubs run Saturday and Sunday competitions as well as some throughout the week which may be handy when I take time off work.
So when I’m ready to start playing comps again, there is plenty to go after and more than what was previously available to me.
- Junior Friendly
With my daughter and son taking some interest, I want a course that I can take them on and if they want to start to play when they are a little older they can
When I was at Swansea Bay each hole had junior tees, and when I was in the clubhouse having a well earned drink there was a lot of younger golfers turning up and going out on the course which was awesome to see that Swansea Bay are so supportive of junior golf.
Neath too had junior tees and boast a junior team and championship, when I was playing my round here they had the local school team out on the course which again was great to see the golf club engaged with schools and younger golfers.
I would say there is a slightly bigger presence of junior golf at Swansea Bay, but after a good conversation with the pro and management team at Neath i could see they support for junior golf and was happy with this.
- The Course
The two courses are quite different which made it pretty hard to judge them. However Swansea Bay is classed as a links course but 10 of the holes are actually parkland and away from the estuary that the course is on. Which then allowed me to compare apples for apples, as Neath is a parkland/heathland course.
Swansea Bay begins on the parkland side but they very much try to keep the links feel with undulating fairways and tight nit grass. From the 6th to 13th you are along side the estuary before coming back in land from 14th onwards. I have to honest here the Motorway bridge runs pretty much on top of one of the holes and along side some others. Which is a little off putting, not because its distracting but I like the feeling of being out in the countryside when playing golf an a 100 foot motorway bridge is a pretty big eye saw along with the factory on the other side of the estuary.
Apart from that the greens are in great condition and are massive, greens are a big part of what attracts me to a course, they should be for you too. The fairways are a little patchy but that’s the links aspect of the course.
Neath Golf Club, starts ¾ of the way up the valley so the 1st hole is a gentle climb, the walk to the 2nd tee is pretty tough going and leads to a blind par 3. Before I did the Rookie Tour of the top 5 courses in Wales I would have hated this, but I’m much more comfortable with these now.
From the 3rd tee onwards you are on top of the valley and its reasonable flat with a little bit of undulating fairways, they are still green despite the Weather and the green keepers were on course working away which is fantastic to see. The fairways are lined with mature trees but the fairways are petty forgiving which is a benefit for me. The greens were spectacular, I played Neath two days after playing Pennard as part of the Rookie Tour. There is a little spoiler if you are following the Rookie Tour but the greens at Neath were 10 times better than Pennard.
For me Neath ticked all the boxes; price, location and facilities was pretty much tied offering me a lot more than what I’ve been use, and offers me the option of just practicing rather than playing golf. I could see both support Junior golf which is really important to the sport and me, but it was the course that helped me make my final decision.
Neath just edged it on this, the course is really well kept it hosts county matches again my old club didn’t, it has some fantastic views from the top of the valley and has an amazing signature hole. Playing a par 4 from the top of the valley to a green that is over 80 feet below, Plus I can also see my house from up there!
So there you have it, Rookie Golfer has found a new home and one I plan on staying at for a good while. Watch this space as I may be inviting a few of you to come join me for a round!
Until Next Time, Happy Golfing