Tenby Golf Club A quart in a pint pot
I would be very proud to have Tenby as my home Club. It is in a glorious position below the town with fabulous views across the coast. A very warm welcome at the club and in the town with excellent seafood restaurants and accommodation.
Barring three holes that were born on the wrong side of the tracks this is proper links land. Of particular note was the green settings; in hollows, on plateaus, with cut in bunkers demanding all the challenging shots if you are slightly off-line.
I didn't fancy the driving range, it looked far too narrow for me but went straight to the first tee and duffed it into the bank but, eventually, thanks to a single putt I scrambled a bogey. I'm afraid to say that the greens had just been treated and were not as they should be although you could tell that the underlying conditions were excellent.
The second is a challenging par four into the wind and although the next went with the wind it is a fiendish hole, a narrow drive, and a tough green to find. A very notable hole. Four plays along the top of the dunes into a bowl green. I noticed three bells amongst the first five holes.
Six is a great short hole but slightly spoiled by the proximity of two other greens and two tee boxes in close proximity. Part of the solution could be to move the 14th tee shortening it to make it a tough par four and reduce congestion and delays in play. I fear that this is a consequence of modern equipment, particularly the distance modern balls fly. It is sad to see great golf courses compromised and humbled by technology. Perhaps like the clubs which hire out hickory shafts it will be possible to have open days using balls with the qualities of those used in the past so the course can be played from the original tees to replicate the challenge that these courses were originally designed to provide. It might be worth a try.
More modern links courses, like Waterville, cater for the greater length of the modern player but they often seem less attractive, too stretched and so lose the intimacy and intricacy of a traditional links course. There is more placement, craft and creativity, it seems to me, in the tighter twists and turns of a shorter course.
Eight is like the ranges beyond, the fairway runs up to the green which is tucked into the hill behind hillocks and bunkers before you climb to the top of the course. Stop and admire the views as you stand, as if on the meniscus of the bay, looking towards Tenby. Find the tight fairway to position yourself and earn a shot at the green. 10 and 11 take you inland and then back out to the shoreline which asks you to tackle the wind from opposite directions. 12 the second par three has little room to accommodate a miscue( especially not my salty shank!). 13 is a fun, short, par four asking you to challenge your confidence in going for the risk and reward of driving very close, or onto, the green if the wind is favourable. Arguably it is the first 'weak' hole though I think it fair enough after 12 testers, as your thoughts turn to your final score.
The 14th tee, flirts with the fifth green and although a good par five it could be a better par four for the sake of the course. 15, 16, 17 would be good enough holes on most courses but are a disappointment compared with what has gone before. A flat soufflé after the rarest of beef.
18 has a railway tight on your left, always a magnetic attraction, this is a bit like the closing holes at Aberdovey and I never fail to retain the fearful interest of passing passengers. No harm done, this time, closing with a bogey.
Weather conditions were good; sunshine and a light breeze, greens tined and slow, rough areas none too thick and all tended beautifully. A really wonderful place to play links golf. The club extended their generosity to rebate our green fees in favour of Alzheimer's Society for which a massive thank you. Of the top ten causes of death, dementia is the only one we cannot cure, prevent or even slow down. Your donations and support will make a difference.