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!