James Braid, the famous Scottish golf course architect, designed the ten courses that make up the North Wales James Braid Golf Trail. Here, we look at Braid’s course at Holyhead.
James Braid, a Scotsman who lived from 1870 to 1950, was five times winner of the Open Championship. He was also one of Britain’s most famous golf course architects, and was responsible for designing or redesigning many of the UK’s best known golf courses, including Gleneagles and Carnoustie.
Braid’s courses all had common features. Braid liked to design his courses around the land’s natural lie, incorporating existing geographical features, layouts and obstacles in a way that rewards players for their accuracy. The use of dog legs encourages playing for position too, though it’s worth noting that even with their common features, holes on James Braid golf courses can still be relied upon to vary in character and length.
All over Britain there are a number of golf courses that James Braid had a hand in – either designing or redesigning them as necessary. Of these courses, ten can be found in North Wales, and in recent years these courses have been joined together to form the North Wales James Braid Golf Trail. Players who wish to play all ten courses in the trail can have a special card stamped at each course, and when all ten stamps are collected the card can be exchanged for a special certificate.
Holyhead Golf Club
James Braid designed Holyhead Golf Club in 1912 – just one of some 200 courses designed by the great man during his illustrious career. The course is located on Anglesey with outstanding views towards Snowdonia’s majestic mountains, and is within a mile of the port of Holyhead, the gateway to Ireland.
Looking at this heathland championship course from a distance, you might be tempted to think it looks a little on the tame side, with only one serious hill to navigate. Don’t be fooled by this, though; on closer inspection it soon becomes apparent that with its extremely narrow, undulating fairways and a rough that’s characterised by gorse, heather and bracken, Holyhead presents more of a challenge than you’d think on first impressions. Add to this the wind whipping across the Irish Sea, and you can look forward to a very testing game across 18 very different holes.
Holyhead Golf Club’s signature hole is the second, whose par 3 green is on the top of a hill, guarded by a bunker on the left and a cliff edge on the right. Described by the club as ‘unbelievably tough’, the hole ‘comes far too early in the round for most golfers’.
At Holyhead you can expect excellent facilities, including a clubhouse offering a choice of bar meals or an a la carte menu when a special meal is called for – ideal if you’re celebrating a big win! The clubhouse also has a 50-inch television and a full-sized snooker table – so the entertainment doesn’t stop when your game of golf has finished.
Holyhead Golf Club also offers on-site dormy accommodation with package deals including breakfast, dinner and of course plenty of golf. This accommodation sleeps up to 14 people in seven twin-bedded rooms, with tea and coffee making facilities provided in each room.
Deals and offers
With the dormy house package you can enjoy 18 holes of golf on the afternoon of arrival, as well as dinner, bed and breakfast and 18 holes of golf the next morning. Prices for the dormy house package start at £67.50 per person per night.
Facts and figures
Size: 18 holes
6090 yards par 71
Address: Trearddur Bay, Anglesey, LL65 2YL
Tel: +44 (0)1407 763279
In the area
Holyhead Golf Course is situated on the historic and beautiful Isle of Anglesey, within easy reach of the port of Holyhead and the island’s major towns and attractions. Just across the Menai Strait are the city of Bangor, the medieval walled town of Caernarfon, and the mountains and coast of Snowdonia.