Scottish golfer and golf course architect James Braid is credited with designing many outstanding British golf courses. In this article we look at Braid’s course at Aberdovey in Snowdonia.
Championship golfer James Braid (1870-1950), a Scotsman who won the Open Championship five times, was also one of the twentieth century’s most celebrated golf course designers. Braid’s best-known work as a course designer was at Gleneagles and Carnoustie, but he can also be credited with designing many more of Britain’s finest golf courses.
Braid’s courses share several ‘trademark’ features. Braid is well-known for his preference of working with the lie of the land on which the course was built, incorporating the land’s natural features and layout. What’s more, most of his courses utilise dog legs, encouraging playing for position and rewarding accurate play.
But even with this range of common features, Braid’s courses all vary in length and character.
James Braid’s courses can be found all over Britain; as well as designing new courses, he redesigned and improved many existing courses.
In North Wales, there are ten golf courses that James Braid either designed or redesigned. Today, these can be played as a series in the North Wales James Braid Golf Trail. Golfers playing all ten courses are invited to swap their stamped trail cards for a special certificate – a worthy addition to any scrapbook or trophy cabinet!
Aberdovey Golf Club
Aberdovey is rated 11th in the top 30 James Braid courses. The course’s original 18 holes were laid out in 1892, and the course was later remodelled by Harry Colt in 1910, by Herbert Fowler in 1920, and finally by James Braid in 1931.
Aberdovey’s coastal setting, with its changing tides and unpredictable winds, means that conditions can be interesting, to say the least. Selecting the right club is important; you’ll need every club in your bag when you play at Aberdovey, and it’s said there’s probably more than one way to play them. Try not to think of Aberdovey as just one big challenge, though; it’s really 71 different adventures, which you’ll want to experience again and again.
The green of the 12th hole at Aberdovey is one of the UK’s hardest par 3s. As the course management team explain, Aberdovey’s 12th is “a par-3 of unrivalled stature… Turning homeward for the long-run in, this relatively short hole sees the green perched atop the dynamic dune system with no bail-out options. Short or left sees the ball scampering down the side of the landform to an almost irrecoverable position whilst right is lucky to avoid falling off the edge of the course entirely! The green itself is benign and flat so, like many other holes on the course, birdie and bogey (or worse) go hand-in hand.”
Aberdovey’s large, modern clubhouse offers a fantastic range of facilities, including a dining room, bar and lounge; free wi-fi connection; a TV lounge with a variety of satellite channels; and a meeting room.
In addition, Aberdovey Golf Club has ladies’ and gents’ locker rooms, an indoor practice putting area, a professional’s shop and dormy bungalow accommodation.
Deals and offers
A four ball with coffee and a bacon bap and a two-course meal costs just £49 per person.
Facts and figures
Size: 18 holes
6,454 yards par 72, SSS 71
Address: Station Road, Aberdovey, Aberdyfi, LL35 0RT
Tel: +44 (0) 1654 767493
In the area
Aberdovey is situated on the beautiful Cardigan Bay coastline in the southern end of the Snowdonia region. Within easy reach are the ancient town of Harlech with its impressive medieval castle; the delightful seaside resort at Barmouth; the charming old market town of Dolgellau; and one of Snowdonia’s best-loved mountains, Cader Idris, of which it is said that any person who spends a night on the mountainside will awake either a poet or a madman.