The North Wales James Braid Golf Trail comprises ten courses designed by the great golf course architect James Braid, spread across the North Wales region. Here we look at Braid’s Bangor St Deiniol golf course.
Famous Scottish golf course architect James Braid (1870-1950) is remembered for his work in designing many well-known golf courses during his lifetime, including work at Gleneagles and Carnoustie. He also won the Open Championship five times, so he was as celebrated a player as he was a designer.
Braid designed a number of excellent golf courses throughout North Wales, and in 2012 these have been linked together as the North Wales James Braid Golf Trail, which comprises ten of Braid’s golf courses in the North Wales area.
While all of Braid’s courses were different in layout and design, they shared several common features. For instance, the ‘lie of the land’ was an integral part of each course’s design, with natural features and obstacles being incorporated into the course to provide satisfying rewards for accurate play. And while at a typical James Braid golf course each hole varies in length and character, dog legs are a common feature – a shape which encourages playing for position.
Bangor St Deiniol Golf Club was opened in 1906 and re-designed by James Braid in 1909, and has been extended several times since. The mature 18-hole course covers 120 acres of grassland overlooking the city of Bangor, and boasts outstanding views of Snowdonia from almost every hole.
With the rise and fall of the land at Bangor St Deiniol, forget about brute force – it’s control and course management that you’ll need here. With so much greenery, gorse and woodland at Bangor St Deiniol, it’s a course that is best suited to golfers that can exercise control. Most fairways offer risks and there are blind holes to provide some very satisfying challenges.
Despite advances in golf technology, with Bangor St Deiniol’s tight fairways, hidden greens and strategic hazards good ball placement is essential. Although today’s equipment provides extra length, this is no substitute for accurate play!
Only snow stops play at Bangor St Deiniol, where the course is playable virtually all year round. The course dries very quickly after rainfall, and winter greens are unheard of.
Bangor St Deiniol’s signature hole is the third, which boasts several typical James Braid course features such as slopes, gorse bushes, a dog leg and a narrow fairway – and an elevated green to challenge players even further. This hole plays tough against the prevailing westerly wind, and when you take on the elevated green you’ll need to be into or through the gap; if you’re short of the gap, you risk taking on the bank 70 yards short of the green.
The view from the 16th tee is fantastic; it looks out to Llandudno, with Puffin Island and the Great Orme prominent. This par 4 hole is the easiest at Bangor St Deiniol, but it still offers both risk and reward, and a shot that slips down the back of the green will leave a difficult recovery.
The 12th is a firm favourite – all downhill, with a blind tee shot and gorse to both left and right, a large oak tree guarding the green, and a grass bunker.
The par 5 14th has two bunkers short of the green, but these don’t draw the ball in. The shot from the top of the bank provides a good challenge, and the views are excellent too – this is the highest point in Bangor, offering a great view of Bangor Cathedral.
Bangor St Deiniol also has six par 3 holes, at least one in each direction – north, south, east and west – requiring the golfer to play downwind, upwind, and in both side winds.
Facts and figures
Size: 18 Holes – 5652 yards par 68
Address: Pen y Bryn, Bangor, Gwynedd LL57 1PX
Tel: +44 (0) 1248 353098
Fax: +44 (0) 1248 370792
In the area
Bangor St Deiniol Golf Club is on the outskirts of the historic cathedral city of Bangor. On days when you’re not golfing – or if there are members of your party that prefer not to play golf – there is plenty to see and do in the area. Bangor has an excellent high street shopping centre and there are several retail parks nearby. Bangor is within easy reach of other Snowdonia towns and villages such as Llanberis and Caernarfon, where there are many excellent attractions and activities to be enjoyed.