Why play here?

Recently described by Golf Monthly magazine as ‘a timeless classic’, Southerndown is the perfect example of a course in harmony with its setting. Part links, part parkland and part clifftop, Southerndown’s clever design blends seamlessly with the land’s natural contours to create a course of real variety and challenge. Watch out for the par-three fifth hole, a potential card-wrecker known as Carter’s Folly. Aiming for a well-bunkered green, players must use enough club to clear a steep sided valley which lies in wait to claim misplaced balls.

Did you know?

When Southerndown’s course was first laid out in 1905, it was one of longest in the Britain. Stretching for 6,900 yards, it exceeded famous peers like St Andrews, Prestwick and Hoylake. Unfortunately, size isn’t everything. For some years Southerndown held a reputation for being just too difficult, with the average player needing four or five hours to complete a round. As a result legendary course designer Harry Colt was brought in to fix things just after the First World War. It’s a testament to Colt’s skills that the course you see today remains largely unchanged since his revamp.

What the players say

‘Played here in September. Pro fixed me up to play with a Society as I was on my own and they were good company. Front nine parkland, good test, mainly due to wind, and it can blow. Back nine is links, with really deep stuff just off fairway. Slightest shot offline, into the thick stuff and it's reload time. The wind can make it really difficult. The greens were very good and I think the fairways are good, I just wasn't on them often enough. Friendly staff, particularly the pro. Great views. I would recommend it, but have plenty of balls if you aren't very straight.’

Balipete, www.tripadvisor.co.uk

Off the course

Now that spring is finally springing, the 323-hectare expanse of dunes at Merthyr Mawr is perfect for a spot of exploration. Wandering amid these 200-foot high mountains of sand, it’s easy to believe you’re in a far-flung desert rather than on the South Wales coast. While you’re there, nearby Ogmore Castle is also worth a visit. Reached by a series of picturesque stepping stones laid out across the River Ewenny, this ruined fortress’s position in the rolling green landscape gives it an unusual air of peace and tranquillity.

For more information, visit the Southerndown Golf Club website.