Royal Porthcawl is a prestigious course with stunning views over 18 holes, and consistently ranks as Wales #1 golf course as well as being amongst the very best Britain has to offer. There's no better way to test every club in your bag.
The course has a magnificent setting sloping down to the seashore. The absence of sand hills usually found on links courses enables the golfer to see the sea from every hole and to enjoy memorable views south to Somerset and Exmoor, and northwest across Swansea Bay to the Gower Peninsula.
With holes facing into every point of the compass, the player is always tested by the wind and will probably need every club in the bag.
The status of the course is sustained by the many amateur and professional events held at the Club over the years.
The 7,000-plus yard course was laid out first on nearby Lock's Common until cattle, camping and carriage wheels combined to be too much of a nuisance and it moved a few yards to its present site, which contains rather more elevation than is present at many seaside courses. The routing of the course at first follows the sea and when played into a freshening wind the first three holes present a stern challenge. In such conditions the players who arrives on the fourth tee having taken no more than 12 strokes has played well indeed. The approach shots to the second and third in particular call for that rare combination of skill and courage as the greens lie perilously close to out of bounds.
Then the course turns inland and twists and winds over terrain that could be described as uplands. By the 18th, the hallmarks of a links course have reappeared and from the tee of that hole the fairway slides gently downhill towards a green that sometimes resembles an infinity pool as it merges into the water behind it.
Although the course is rarely becalmed, and indeed needs a decent wind to set the flags rippling and crackling, a climatic conundrum renders it more benign than might have been expected of one so close to the sea. Local lore has it that as storms blow across the south-west of England, they divide when they hit the foreshore, one section heading east to Cardiff and one west to Swansea.