Borth & Ynyslas 
par 70, 6,041 yards

When

we rolled up at 9.00am on a beautiful, crisp morning for our game at

Borth and Ynyslas the car park was eerily deserted. Why? It was

Saturday, October 15, and those rugby-mad Welsh had other things on

their minds. Much like Gullane in East Lothian, the course isn’t

entirely as it might seem from the car. Yes, many holes do run adjacent

to the road and/or the beach, but the holes at the far end are a

revelation, as the high dunes make their presence felt visually after

the 6th. The par-3 11th is a kind of mirror image of Aberdovey’s 12th

playing from the top of a dune down to the green, while the short par 4

that follows is a real nerve-jangler with its blind drive fired over

daunting scrub. The run for home then combines scoring chances with

tougher tests like the 200-yard 14th, whose green sits worryingly close

to the beach. I will admit to visiting the beach twice on the 3rd hole,

though I did manage to steer clear of the road for the duration. That

said, it does prey on your mind at times, nowhere more so than on the

2nd where slicers’ thoughts will be on the tarmac, while hookers will be

eyeing the beach.

Aberystwyth 
par 70, 6,119 yards

The

holes I remembered most from my previous visit to this lovely little

course were the final three up and behind the clubhouse, where you gaze

out over the town and the expansive Cardigan Bay coastline. I certainly

didn’t recall the start being quite so tough – a pair of fearsome long,

uphill 430-yarders that play even longer. Off the back tees, two opening

pars must fill you with hope for the round ahead, for they’re surely

two of the toughest tests you’ll encounter. There’s generally room to

manoeuvre off the tee, but the almost ever-present views of the coast

threaten to distract you from the task in hand, especially from the

highest points, while the sloping greens form a strong defence too

should you be rash enough to stray above the hole. The short par-4 14th

is a real cracker. At just 290 yards downhill, you’ll probably be

fancying your chances… until you see the tiny green perched on a mound

that makes the approach shot tough to judge, however short a club in

hand. Aberystwyth is one of the friendliest clubs I’ve played in recent

times, and thoroughly deserving of its spot in last month’s ‘100 hidden

gems’ feature.

Cardigan par 72, 6,687 yards

For

Kevin and I, the trip ended with a final night’s stay at The Forest, a

tasteful period restoration at Kerry, near Newton, offering real

old-world luxury and style. But if you’re after one more round before

heading home, venture a little further south to Cardigan Golf Club where

the holes offer a wonderful blend of links, clifftop and heathland

golf. It’s just the sort of place you long to find on holiday, with

glorious views down over the bay, but should you get to play it at full

length it loses its ‘holiday golf’ credentials to a degree as it can

stretch to nearly 6,700 yards. The 3rd is one of the linksy holes,

blessed with a long, narrow, tucked-away green, while the signature hole

is the 16th, a downhill par 3 playing straight towards the bay, where

the intriguingly designed green boasts the capacity to unduly flatter

certain tee shots, while humbling others. Trying to make par should

yours fall into the latter camp can be fun, if that’s the right word!