From the Senior Open links at Royal Porthcawl to the Ryder Cup layout at Celtic Manor, South Wales golf courses are blessed with enviable variety

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Royal Porthcawl

The pick of the South Wales golf courses, and Wales’ highest-ranked course in Golf Monthly’s Top 100 at number 22, Royal Porthcawl has hosted countless top events over the years including the 1995 Walker Cup and last year’s Senior Open Championship. It is a links of true quality that maybe, just maybe could one day host The Open itself.

Royal Porthcawl is an excellent test of very fine links golf

Royal Porthcawl is an excellent test of very fine links golf

Pyle & Kenfig

P&K as it’s known locally is but a short par 4 away from Porthcawl at its closest point. The front nine has elements of links and heathland about it, but the back nine, which gets in amongst the tallest dunes, provides an exhilarating ride of pure links golf.

Pyle & Kenfig is blessed with a very fine back nine in the taller dunes

Pyle & Kenfig is blessed with a very fine back nine in the taller dunes

Southerndown

This rugged course set above Ogmore-by-Sea and the Ogmore estuary provides a truly links-like experience well above sea level and a little way inland. There’s something liberating about playing our great game where sheep are still free to roam at will.

Southerndown is a hilltop course that plays like a links

Southerndown is a hilltop course that plays like a links

Morlais Castle

The original front nine on this hilltop moorland course plays its way up to and around the ragged remains of a 13th century castle, while the newer back nine serves up some memorable moments where it plays around a vast former quarry.

The 2nd at Morlais Castle plays up towards the remains of a 13th century castle

The 2nd at Morlais Castle plays up towards the remains of a 13th century castle

Rolls of Monmouth

This majestic parkland layout plays around the former home of the Rolls family of Rolls-Royce fame, with the striking manor house forming a stirring backdrop to the final hole – a long and challenging par 3.

The 18th at Rolls of Monmouth is a tough par 3 with a grand backdrop

The 18th at Rolls of Monmouth is a tough par 3 with a grand backdrop

Celtic Manor

Much Ryder Cup drama ensued here in 2010 despite the weather’s best efforts. The Twenty Ten course in the Usk valley may be the star attraction but it is ably supported by the rolling Roman Road layout and the Montgomerie course that includes holes from the old Wentwood Hills and Coldra Woods layouts.

Water, water everywhere on Celtic Manor's Twenty Ten course

Water, water everywhere on Celtic Manor’s Twenty Ten course

The Vale

From the very tips, the Wales National is the country’s longest course, serving up a stiff test where accuracy and position are of paramount importance. The shorter Lake course features water on 12 holes, including the signature island-green 12th.

Water comes into play on both courses at The Vale

Water comes into play on both courses at The Vale

St Pierre

The Old course at St Pierre has hosted many tour events as well as the 1996 Solheim Cup, with water making its presence felt on the back nine. The long, closing par 3 playing back up towards the Marriott hotel is a fearsome finale. The Old is complemented by the shorter Mathern layout.

St Pierre: as tough a par-3 final as you'll find anywhere

St Pierre: as tough a par-3 finale as you’ll find anywhere