Before the Ryder Cup dominated golfing natter in South Wales, just outside Chepstow a fine hotel and golf resort was making its mark – and it still does. The Marriott St Pierre boasts 36 holes, a spa, a gym and numerous other sporting facilities. It is the original 18-holes, however, that makes it a must for any serious travelling golfer.
The Old Course at St Pierre winds its way through ancient trees evoking thoughts of some of the finest British inland courses. Completed in 1962, designer Ken Cotton made the most of the natural landscape, which has a distinct rural charm – the course sits on two levels with a fantastic elevated drive from the 7th tee connecting the sections.
It remains in famously good condition for most of the year ? unlike many of the courses in rain-soaked Wales. The closing holes, in particular 15, 17 and 18 are where you’ll have to roll your sleeves up. The greens for both 15 and 17 back onto a lake, while the 18th is a brutish par-3, requiring a long-iron or fairway wood to a small green – not what you want if you need a par for a respectable total.
The course has evolved for the better over the years, and, although the middle of the back nine is a touch bland, the front half enjoys spectacular views of the estate and the Severn estuary, while providing a test of golf you would expect from a Marriott venue.
Best Hole: The 7th tee offers up an interesting challenge. Keep it on the short stuff and you’ve got a chance of making birdie.