Travelling with golfers but hate the idea of a golfing holiday? Not to worry – Snowdonia’s got you covered!
We’ve all had that awkward experience of going on holiday with a group of friends or family members, and some members of the group have had a strong interest in one activity that other members of the group don’t share.
Take golf, for example. It’s not for everyone. You may be part of a group that includes several passionate players, but have little interest in playing or watching the game yourself. What do you do? Forego a weekend away, or tag along and sit in the club house, drumming your fingers on the bar until the game is over?
In Snowdonia, you’ll be pleased to know that as well as many fantastic golf courses to satisfy the golfers among your group, there are plenty of other ways to keep yourself entertained without setting foot on the course.
Royal St David’s Golf Club
Why golfers like it: This par 69, 6,629yd championship course, known as one of the hardest in the world, is one of Ian Woosnam’s top five UK courses. A formidable course with large greens that’s arguably one of the world’s finest traditional links golf courses, set against some really spectacular scenery. royalstdavids.co.uk
Why non-golfers like it: Historic Harlech Castle will keep you occupied for a good few hours. Harlech beach is large and sandy and backed by wonderful dunes – perfect for walking, watersports or just relaxing. Further along the coast is the little ancient church of Llandanwg which nestles in the sand dunes. Shoppers love the little craft shops in Harlech – you’ll have no difficulty in picking up a souvenir or two. For even more shopping head south to Dolgellau, a beautiful old town with many listed buildings and great shops; here you can also visit the Quaker Heritage Centre or, if you’re feeling energetic, head out of town to Coed y Brenin Forest Park for walking and mountain biking. It’s also worth visiting Corris, home to a number of excellent attractions including Corris Craft Centre, Corris Mine Explorers, King Arthur’s Labyrinth and the Centre for Alternative Technology.
Nefyn and District Golf Club
Why golfers like it: Part of the James Braid North Wales Golf Trail, Nefyn and District Golf Club is a unique par 71 championship links course with 26 holes. The scenery here is just outstanding, with every tee providing a spectacular sea view. nefyn-golf-club.com
Why non-golfers like it: The scenery is amazing – perfect for photographers and artists. The beach at Porthdinllaen is beautiful, sandy and accessed via the golf course; there’s a nice pub on the seafront where you can watch boats coming and going. Take a drive through the countryside of the Llyn Peninsula and visit some of the gorgeous little ‘porths’, or coves – Porth Iago, Porth Colmon, Porth Oer, to name just a few – or head down to Aberdaron and visit the brand new Porth y Swnt visitor centre. From Aberdaron you could also take a boat trip to Bardsey, the historic ‘isle of 20,000 saints’.
Abersoch Golf Club
Why golfers like it: This par 69, 18-hole links and parkland course has been described as ‘the friendliest golf course in Wales’ and ‘a jewel on the Welsh Riviera’. High praise indeed! Suitable for golfers of all abilities, the course offers great coastal views, tough risk and reward par 4s and interesting and varied par 3s. abersochgolf.co.uk
Why non-golfers like it: Abersoch is a very trendy resort and, although small, it has a great choice of shops and restaurants as well as regular craft markets. Abersoch’s beaches are excellent, and are ideal for watersports or topping up tans. Head to nearby Pwllheli for more traditional seaside fun – amusement arcades, a small funfair, sandy beaches, great ice creams – as well as a world class marina, a great choice of independent shops, a market (weekly in the winter, twice a week in the summer) and a fantastic art gallery, Plas Glyn-y-Weddw. Continue your journey north along the A499 and visit Glasfryn Parc for go karting, archery, wakeboarding and a truly superb farm shop.
Porthmadog Golf Club
Why golfers like it: Porthmadog Golf Club, part of the James Braid North Wales Golf Trail, is a par 71 course boasting an interesting mix of heathland and linksland set among beautiful scenery. This 18 hole course has 9 holes of links through the sand dunes of Tremadog Bay, and 9 holes of heathland. porthmadog-golf-club.co.uk
Why non-golfers like it: Porthmadog has plenty going on to keep everyone entertained. Try a steam train ride to Blaenau Ffestiniog and back on the Ffestiniog Railway, or to Caernarfon on the Welsh Highland Railway. This is one of the most pleasant ways to see Snowdonia’s spectacular countryside. Just outside Porthmadog is Portmeirion, the famous Italianate village which featured in the 1960s TV series, The Prisoner. Porthmadog has an interesting maritime museum and some excellent shops and places to eat. A little further afield is Criccieth, with its imposing medieval castle atop a rocky headland jutting out into the sea; time your visit well and you’ll enjoy a spectacular sunset photo opportunity. A few minutes’ drive north of Criccieth is Llanystumdwy, where attractions include David Lloyd George’s childhood home, Highgate, and the Dwyfor Ranch Rabbit Farm which is ideal for younger visitors.
Bangor St Deiniol
Why golfers like it: Bangor St Deiniol Golf Club, considered one of the best in North Wales, offers spectacular views of Snowdonia’s mountains. This 18 hole, par 68 course is part of the James Braid North Wales Golf Trail and its 5,652 yards of parkland and heathland, which cover 120 acres of land including Bangor mountain, overlook historic Bangor City and the Menai Strait. bangorgolf.co.uk
Why non-golfers like it: The university city of Bangor is the main hub of activity in this part of Snowdonia. The city boasts the region’s largest shopping area which offers a great mix of high street giants and independents, as well as out-of-town retail parks. For history enthusiasts Bangor Cathedral is worth a visit, as is the Gwynedd Museum and Art Gallery. Penrhyn Castle is just a short drive away, as are the towns of Conwy and Caernarfon which both boast medieval castles and town walls, great places to eat and drink and, of course, the excellent little independent shops that are so well loved by locals and visitors alike. Bangor is also a convenient base for visiting other Snowdonia attractions including Snowdon, GreenWood Forest Park, Electric Mountain, the National Slate Museum and ZipWorld – so why not stay a few days and explore properly?
The Welsh Team Championship takes place at Pwllheli between 14 and 17 August 2014. For more information, visit www.golfunionwales.org/welsh-team-championship-2014-2014.