Last month I reflected on my earliest golfing holidays to South Wales with friends, but like all youngsters, eventually we wanted to spread our wings for golfing pastures new. We began to venture a little further west, enjoying a couple of wonderful golfing trips in delightful Pembrokeshire, where we tested our fledgling golfing skills at the likes of Haverfordwest, Milford Haven, Newport and St David’s City golf clubs. What we didn’t do was stop at any courses en route, among them James Braid’s hilltop treat at Neath, which recently reinstated a once-abandoned Braid tee on its 3rd hole to create a living link with the course’s past.
This omission was remedied on my recent Wales trip, and I’d encourage any lovers of hilltop golf to do the same. Braid spoke of Neath’s setting in glowing terms, and he wasn’t alone, for the great Henry Cotton went as far as to say he’d “never before seen such golfing beauty as at Neath”. Both probably had the 10th and 11th in mind when penning their tributes – holes that hug the edge of the highest plateau with views to die for – and the dramatic 15th which descends to the lower ground some 80ft below in truly rapid fashion. There’s a tremendous sense of freedom to be had high above the hustle and bustle of the town, and we still had that feeling later in the afternoon as we drove on to Tenby, Wales’ oldest club.
A trip to Neath Golf Club: