Nefyn & District in north Wales: Put this on your list of 'play before you die' golf courses
NEFYN, WALES – There is a course out there you have probably never heard of, unless you’re one of those golfers well versed in the many lesser-known gems of the British Isles: Nefyn & District Golf Club.
I played it yesterday and was blown away.
Not literally. In fact, winds were unusually tame on this exposed peninsula on Wales’ north coast, where in the winter time can see gusts up to 100 miles an hour. But Nefyn will go down as one of the most memorable rounds I ever play.
It isn’t your traditional links amongst sandy dunes, but more like a clifftop parkland. It’s also not on any Top 100 list I’ve seen, but in a way, that’s a good thing. My main problem with most “Top 100″ lists is they worry too much about the scratch player teeing off from the back tees and not enough about the travel golfer who just wants a memorable experience complete with local, unique flair and some great holes and scenery. Look at the top of Golf Magazine’s Top 100 in the World list and you have predominantly major championship venues and private clubs.
Last I checked, 95% of us golfers are duffers on a budget, so there are a lot of courses in the British Isles and the rest of the world we would probably enjoy more compared to your more prestigious venues with greater difficulty but lesser scenery and homegrown quirks. To me, Nefyn & District is the perfect example of a golf course that isn’t suitable for a major or a Ryder Cup, but no visiting golfer will leave disappointed. In fact, it exceeded my expectations.
It’s design has flaws, sure. The greens are all pretty small and flat. The 12th hole, as I can most politely describe it, is nuttier than your Aunt Betty when she forgot to take her pills after dinner. The tee shot is partially blind, a public thoroughfare with loads of pedestrians (and on this day a horribly-placed parked truck) splits the fairway, to the left there is an ever-growing sink hole about the size of the Sarlacc sandpit on Tatooine in Return of the Jedi, and the 16th green is in effect, “position A” off the tee.
As you can see, no course rater would be able to give Nefyn high marks without facing inevitable wrath from their rater colleagues.
But to the tourist golfer, it’s quirks simply add to the magic. You’ll never play another course like Nefyn & District. Here is what Nefyn has to offer: coastal views at every turn, including two stretches, No. 1 thru 5 and No. 13 thru 15 that hug the cliffs and are as jaw-dropping as you’ll find in golf. I giggled with delight as my errant tee ball danced around cliffs before falling into the surf on the second hole, which doglegs tightly around the sea.
And Nefyn’s icing on the cake: after the 15th hole, you can walk down to the beach, where a tiny village awaits, along with a pub, where you can take in a few pints and try and sort out the nutty 12th and the incredible holes along the “Point". Take your time, too. Club officials say it’s practically assumed foursomes will find their way down to the pub for a pint or two, so don’t worry about keeping pace. Just fall back into the course when you please. “18 holes turns into a 12-hour round sometimes,” the course manager told us with a laugh yesterday.
How many courses in the Top 100 can offer that?
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