Round 4 of the Rookie Tour was held at The Royal Porthcawl, the sun was shining and the wind was up a little bit so there was going to be a little bit more of a challenge than just navigating the course.
On arrival we headed over to the pro shop to sort everything out, right on the entrance is the history of the head pro’s at Roayl Porthcawl. Since 1891 it’s only had 4 head professionals that’s pretty impressive!
After picking up the score cards we head over to the club house which is just amazing, have a look at the views from inside and out. Also there was a welcome note for me on the day!
With a quick cup of coffee out the way, we headed up to the practice facilities, these are by far the best of the tour so far. With over a 300 yard grass driving range, a massive putting green with undulations to mirror what some of the greens on the course would be like.
The chipping area had 3 practice bunkers including two pot bunkers and again the chipping green was set up to give you a flavour of what you would be facing during your round. There is a little down side to the facilities though, you can’t walk to them from the 1st tee or the car park. Well you could but it would take you 15 minutes, so it’s a short car ride to get to them.
After a good 40 minute warm up we headed to the 1st tee, the view is just WOW! Have a look for yourselves
It’s just a pretty and inviting hole to start, with the beach to the left and on a clear day you can see the Devon coastline! By far the best 1st hole I’ve ever see and played. The 2nd hole is a slight dog leg left and the green is tucked right up against the beach… go long or too far left and you are in rest bay!
The condition of the greens and fairways were unreal, we bumped into a green keeper on the 6th and he explained that due to the hot weather last year they’ve done some extra prep for this year and have over feed the fairways to help them. It shows take a look at this picture looked back down the 6th, there is no filter on this.
One of the things i couldn’t get over is the views, the sea is visible on every hole. Playing Averdovey and Royal St Davids the month before I didn’t really see the beach or the sea but at Royal Porthcawl it’s in sight all the time! It’s pretty special to be honest.
The par 3’s on the course are fairly short which makes you feel as if you can attempt and take a shot or two back off the course the longest par 3 being 180 yards and the shortest 116 off the yellows. Tom Watson has one of his favourite holes in the World here the 7th it’s the shortest par 3 at 116 yards and boy does it look inviting. Defended heavily by bunkers and a truly undulating green it just screams attack! Needless to say I ended up in a bunker! Anyway take a look at the green.
The flow of the course works really well, it’s signed posted to the next tee and there are some little walks from green to tee but it’s not too bad.
The feel of the course changes a little on the back 9 with holes 15, 16 and 17 presenting some big sand dunes to contend with. When stood at the bottom of them they were like walls of death! They bring a challenge that got the better of me, but was pretty cool trying to navigate them.
The finish on the 18th plays you down hill back towards to the beach with the club house on your left. It’s a tricky hole with gorse and some small dunes that will catch the big hitters but make you doubt your second shot towards the green if you lay up.
Overall I loved my round and time at Royal Porthcawl, the time flew by. Don’t get me round the back 9 beat me up a little bit so I was happy to walk off the course but it was just a really memorable and enjoyable experience. A bit like Celtic Manor the golfers who have walked the fairways of Royal Porthcawl is incredible
Favourite Hole: 17th Par 4 (488 yards)
With a blind tee shot over a dune and only a mark for a target line it’s a good challenging tee shot. The hole is a slight dog leg left, depending on where the tee shot ends up the green is a small and well protect target. I ended up left, which brings too many bunkers and a small ravine into play. Even for a higher handicapper like me, it felt like an attackable hole. I walked off with a par so got to be happy with that!
Welcome/Hospitality: 8 out of 10
Practice facilities: 10 out of 10
Course condition: 8 out of 10
Greens: 9 out of 10
Flow of course: 9 out 10
Course Ranking in Wales (as per golf monthly at time of booking): 1
Until Next Time, Happy Golfing