Golf on the Border
Hop across the Wales/England border and grab yourself some high-adrenaline, high-altitude hilltop golf (if you haven’t got a head for heights don’t worry – there are some lush, low-lying parkland courses too).
Making the cut
From Chester and the North West you’ll be at Hawarden Golf Club before you know it. This immaculately kept rolling parkland course is almost on the border. What’s more, its friendly, welcoming clubhouse is the perfect introduction to the Welsh ‘golf as it should be’ formula. Travel just a few more miles for more classic parkland golf at Northop Country Park, then hop over the Clwydian Range (an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) to a third gently undulating parkland course at Rhuddlan.
Rhuddlan’s famous – and testing – North Wales course, regularly chosen for county and national championship events, is set in a sheltered spot cradled by the lovely Vale of Clwyd. After you’ve packed your clubs away at the end of the round it’s time to get serious and head for the heights. Where better than Llanymynech north of Welshpool, where Ian Woosnam cut his teeth and honed his talent? This course straddles the border – quite literally. Perhaps we shouldn’t mention that it’s Europe’s only dual-country golf course, with three of its holes across the border in enemy country – on the fourth hole you tee off in Wales and putt out in England across Offa’s Dyke.
It’s a spectacularly lofty course perched on top of a prominent hill and surrounded by sheer cliffs. And it’s still one of Woosnam’s favourites. ‘The view from the 12th tee is one of the most magnificent you’ll see anywhere,’ he says.
Mind you, the airy views from Llandrindod Wells’s club will give Llanymynech a run for its money. Here’s another Welsh course with a unique character – Llandrindod is best described as an ‘upland links’ course, an unusual Harry Vardon/James Braid-designed course that offers links-style golf with altitude. Set high above the Victorian spa town, you’ll enjoy a ‘wild and wonderful golfing adventure in spectacular setting’.
Finish on another challenging high at Welshpool, a course perched on the roof of the world at Golfa Hill (no, that’s not a misprint, it really is called Golfa, a name that we don’t think has anything to do with our favourite game).
Need to know
Good overnight bases include Wrexham, Ruthin, Welshpool and Llandrindod Wells.