Prestatyn Golf Club
This is a very impressive links course that combines features of the best of North Wales and Conwy. Think flattish landscape, more big sky Brancaster than gorsey tight fairways. However there was definitely snow on the hills to the west. It was the last day of four and the best round played in sunshine and sharp, crisp, air.
I was able to play at my own pace from the 7th whilst a Monday roll up took on the first. The fairway is below the high banked dunes and the subtle contours hide the dangers of bunkers and a stream. The wind was at my back and the sun was on my face to play a pretty hole with a two green options well set above the fairway. A Monday morning to beat the week.
At the ninth you turn back towards the clubhouse on the inland side adjacent to the Prestatyn gutter, a wide canal of water, which has a tributary guarding the front and right of the green. The drain accompanies you to the 11th where your tee shot has to carry it to reach a sideways green protected also by two bunkers. On this, far, side of the gutter the pressure increases with every hole, 13 is a tough par 3 with a very well secured green and then a succession of par 4s that will make or break your round including the signature 15th and the elevated green of the 16th all played with out of bounds down the left. These holes are in the lee of the westerly but it hits you again on the short 17th before the glorious 18th.
The 18th is usually played down wind so you have to calculate which of the fairway bunkers you will take on and which bunkers you lay up. Keep left up the fairway and right when you get close to the green. This is reachable in two and is well bunkered if you stray. This is a classically bunkered hole where all bunkers have evil intent. It was sad that around the course a few marked bunkers have lapsed and been grassed, and a few more looked as if they had once been revetted. A well kempt bunker is a thing of beauty but they need expensive maintenance and the economics of clubs puts pressure on resources.
I then followed the players off the first tee through 6. The first is essentially a gentle dog leg left and is followed by two more holes heading west and into the prevailing wind. These are the least visually attractive holes played on lusher, richer turf before you turn back towards the sea at 4. Here it is once again classic springy turf under the watchful dunes and dog walkers, two good par 4s, well bunkered and pinched at the front of the green. They are a real pleasure. And six too is a good par 3 with a green set diagonally to challenge your club selection in the wind.
I was six over for 7 through 18 but lost concentration/my shape/my head/the will to live by waiting for the group in front and dropped 8 shots on the next five. Infuriating.
The club were most generous and helpful and allowed me to donate my green fee to Alzheimer’s Society. Thank you.
My three rounds in North Wales were great fun, offered a wide range of links golf at reasonable prices and come highly recommended. Two of the clubs hold leading Amateur competitions and are a challenge to play and the other showcases the huge variety and drama of links golf. We stayed at Conwy which is a perfect base offering something for everyone and where the car is redundant!