Family golfing holiday
Golf Monthly associate editor Jeremy Ellwood goes in search of a family-friendly golfing holiday in North Wales.
Where can you play five different seaside courses without denting the petrol gauge, take a cablecar up a hill and a Victorian tram back down, and be within easy striking distance of myriad family attractions? It is, of course, Llandudno.
Ellwood holiday Utopia would be golf and family in perfect harmony, with our Llandudno challenge to keep golfers (me) and non-golfers (wife Stella, 11-year-old Oliver and four-year-old Isabelle) equally happy.
North Wales Golf Club
Jeremy Ellwood, North Wales Golf Club, Llandudno
My first port of call was North Wales Golf Club, a links course is perhaps best known for the duo of criss-cross par-threes on 16 and 17, intriguingly name O.L. and then L.O. I’m not sure about the origins of these names, though I can imagine many a player with a good scorecard in his hand uttering something similar to O.L. standing on the 16th tee, where you can’t see much more than the very top of the flag. The greens were in superb condition, and the setting took some beating, with the Great Orme headland’s rocky outcrops above Llandudno glinting in the sunlight.
The family weren’t so lucky. ‘Everyone soaked right through, but kids won’t come in!’ my wife’s text read – a glowing tribute to GreenWood Forest Park’s fun factor. Later, we strolled along the prom beyond Wales’s longest pier up to the cablecar station to take the aerial route to the Great Orme’s summit. I spent the journey looking for telltale signs of a long-lost golf course; Stella, who doesn’t do heights, stared intently at her feet throughout.
Links at Conwy
Jeremy at Conwy Golf Club, North Wales
The next day, while the family explored Llandudno, it was an early morning visit to the highly regarded links at Conwy for me. Conwy is a links of some considerable repute, its excellent layout complemented by the views, whether out to sea or inland to the majestic bulk of Snowdonia. Again, the course looked a real vision in the morning sun, with its verdant fairways and that stirring mountain backdrop, nowhere more prominent than on the testing par-three 13th with its two-tier green. In the right light, the mountains seem so close that you feel you could almost reach out and touch them.
Next stop was en famille at the Ropes and Ladders high-ropes adventure centre in Llanberis, our pick of the town’s many attractions, which include the Snowdon Mountain Railway. Selflessly, we let the kids lap up all the high-wire fun while we stayed on terra firma in a supporting role.
By the time we left Llandudno, we had much unfinished business. For me, three more courses in Maesdu, which plays right alongside North Wales, Rhos-on-Sea just beyond the Little Orme and Penmaenmawr, a gem of a nine-holer a couple of miles west, right at the foot of those mountains you see from Conwy. For the kids, there was so much else, I wouldn’t know where to start. But I wasn’t allowed to go to sleep that night until I’d promised we’d go back soon.
This piece is based on an article in the current Wales Golf guide. Request your own copy here or view the entire publication online.