All work (if golf can ever be classed as work even for a journalist!) and no play make Jack a dull boy though, so you should also make time for the region’s many off-course attractions, some of which might just surprise you. Let’s start with whisky. Wrong Celtic country, I hear you say. Well, Penderyn Distillery in Aberdare has been making one cask a day since 2004, and a trip to the visitor centre is a must for any malt whisky lover.
Thirty miles south of Penderyn, Llanerch Vineyard not only produces a wonderful range of crisp and highly drinkable Welsh wines under its Cariad label (Welsh for ‘sweetheart’), but also offers vineyard tours, exceptional accommodation and a very popular bistro. A short drive away, Cardiff Bay is Europe’s largest waterfront development, and here you’ll find countless shops, all manner of restaurants and eateries, and a multitude of water-based activities and other attractions ranging from the Wales Millennium Centre to the lovely little Norwegian Church, which was once a place of worship for visiting Scandinavian sailors, but is now home to art exhibitions, concerts and a very cosy waterfront coffee shop.
But of course, golf is what you’ve come for first and foremost, and South Wales’ enviably varied line-up boasts much to tempt you, whether you’re a lover of classic links golf, wonderful hilltop tests, stunning parkland layouts or modern championship courses. This really is ‘golf as it should be‘ in every sense, and just what every golfer craves – beautiful and majestic scenery, an unhurried pace, no unnecessary airs and graces, and green fees that are unexpectedly kind on the wallet.
Add in that renowned Welsh welcome, and you really can have it all, it would seem. There…I fear I may have said too much now about the golfing secret I first discovered a quarter of a century ago – but to keep it all to myself any longer would be just a touch selfish, wouldn’t it?
Where to stay, play ad visit in South Wales: