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Nefyn Golf Club: Wales’ Best Kept Secret

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Nefyn Golf Club, also known as Nefyn & District, is situated on the stunning Llyn Peninsula in the picturesque coastal town of Nefyn in North Wales and dates back to 1907 after a meeting at the Tŷ Coch pub led to the establishment of a rudimentary nine-hole course. Nefyn has been dubbed the “Pebble Beach of Wales” due to its striking similarities to the iconic California course. Called “Wales’ Best Kept Secret,” it has also drawn comparisons to Ireland’s Old Head due to its location on the Porthdinllaen headland.

The course winds its way along the rugged coastline, with several holes playing directly along the edge of the cliffs. The crashing waves below and the ever-present sea breeze add to the challenge. The dramatic landscape, with its rocky outcrops and sandy coves, provides a stunning backdrop, while the layout is defined by undulating fairways, strategically placed bunkers, and challenging greens.

The great Peter Alliss called Nefyn “a truly spectacular golfing location in North West Wales. It boasts a rich variety of majestic and challenging holes on its 6,500-yard Championship course, set against the stunning backdrop of Snowdonia and the Irish Sea. The welcome and sheer beauty of the place will take your breath away.”

In this post, we’ll discover Nefyn, the cliffside course that draws rave reviews from all who make the trip. We’ll learn its origins, explore the course, and its three nine-hole loops. We’ll close with further reading suggestions and videos that will bring the course to life.

If you enjoy these course writeups, consider subscribing to our weekly newsletter to receive updates on new posts, partners, and discount codes. For more information, check out the other courses featured in our Legendary Links series, which will soon be published in a book, “Links Around the World.”

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History

The initial 9-hole routing, known today as “The Point,” was laid out on the rolling terrain of the Nefyn headland. It offered breathtaking views of the Irish Sea and the nearby Llŷn Peninsula. The course quickly gained popularity among locals and visitors, drawn by its challenging layout and stunning coastal scenery.

nefyn golf club origin

As golf’s popularity grew, the need for expansion became apparent. In 1912, the club acquired additional land, allowing for the extension of the course to a full 18 holes. This ambitious project was overseen by James Braid, who skillfully incorporated the natural contours and hazards of the landscape into the design.

The new layout opened in 1914 and quickly garnered acclaim for its unique character and distinctive features, including undulating fairways, deep coastal rough, and treacherous pot bunkers, all testing the skills of even the most seasoned golfers. J.H. Taylor and James Braid contributed to the course, and in 1933, a third 9-hole loop was added, completing the 27-hole layout. Tayor stated Nefyn was “situated on one of the most beautiful sites I have ever seen.” Further alterations would be done by Fred Hawtree, Howard, and William Swan.

Throughout the 20th century, Nefyn Golf Club continued to evolve and adapt to the changing times. Improvements were made to the clubhouse facilities, and the course underwent periodic renovations to maintain its challenging yet fair character. In 2013, storms damaged the greens on the peninsula holes, causing them to close for 18 months while the holes were redeveloped. 

Tom Doak has praised the routing and called Nefyn “one of the most spectacular courses in the world,” and Welshman Ian Woosnam, a former Masters champion who holds the course record, ranks Nefyn among his favorite courses.

Did You Know?

Nefyn Golf Club’s location on the Llŷn Peninsula in North Wales is steeped in rich history and cultural significance. One fascinating fact about the area is its connection to the ancient Celtic language of Brittonic, which was spoken in the region during the Iron Age and Roman periods.

The name “Nefyn” itself is derived from the Brittonic words “nev” meaning “shore” or “beach,” and “yn” meaning “place,” reflecting the town’s coastal location. This linguistic heritage is a testament to the deep-rooted cultural traditions that have shaped the region over centuries.

Moreover, the Llŷn Peninsula is renowned for its stunning coastal scenery, including the iconic Whistling Sands beach, where the unique composition of the sand causes it to emit a distinctive whistling sound when disturbed. This natural phenomenon has captivated visitors and locals, adding to the area’s allure and mystique.

Another intriguing fact about Nefyn is its connection to the legendary Welsh prince, Llywelyn the Great, who ruled in the 13th century. It is believed that Llywelyn had a stronghold in the area, and the nearby Nefyn Headland was a strategic location for defense and observation.

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The Course

Nefyn offers three separate nines – the Championship Front Nine (Yellow), Championship Back Nine (Red), and the Point (Blue). The Championship course is 6,761 yards and plays to a par of 71, while the “Point,” which can be played as an additional nine, plays to a par 33. All three offer a wide variety of breathtaking views and scenery and a constantly changing set of challenges.

The Championship Course stretches across the rugged coastline of the Irish Sea. The front nine begins with a gentle downhill par 4, setting the stage for demanding holes requiring precision and strategic play. Along this stretch, accuracy is crucial, as any deviation could result in the ball being lost to the sea. The par-5 4th hole, though short, is often played against a prevailing westerly wind, adding an extra layer of challenge. The front nine concludes with an uphill shot to an elevated green on the 9th, marking a tough finish to the outward half.

Transitioning to the back nine, the course moves inland, with wider fairways and an array of bunkers and gorse bushes poised to penalize any errant shot. It starts with a gentle uphill par-4, followed by six par-4s, one short and one long hole.

Nefyn’s classic nine, “The Point” or the “old front nine,” is set high on the seaside cliffs overlooking Porthdinllaen Bay. Situated on a narrow peninsula, it features tight fairways, elevated tees, and greens. The routing offers visual splendor and a rigorous test, especially with the prevalent westerly winds. The 411-yard 4th, demanding a long carry over the bay from an elevated tee, has been compared to the opening shot at Machrihanish, and the short, uphill 6th utilizes the Cape template with a blind approach to cliffside green. This nine underscores Nefyn’s reputation, embodying the essence of coastal golf with its natural beauty and cliffside views.

Visit Nefyn online at https://nefyn-golf-club.co.uk

nefyn golf club history

PuttView Golf Books

PuttView Books are detailed yardage and green maps designed to help golfers save strokes, especially under tournament conditions. They offer precise visual representations of courses, including topographic slope percentages, fairway arrows for slopes over 4%, and a dual view of greens accurate to the millimeter. The books are printed on high-quality waterproof paper, sized to fit traditional yardage book covers, and are USGA legal. 

Customers praise PuttView Books for their stunning detail, stylish presentation, and the confidence they instill in decision-making on the course. With 30,000 courses represented, your home course is bound to be available, as is Nefyn!

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Further Reading

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Classic Golf Links
by Donald Steel

Summary: Classic Golf Links of England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland by Donald Steele is a guidebook featuring 75 spectacular links golf courses in the British Isles, covering their history, design, and challenges. The book includes scorecards, hole maps, photos, and playing tips for each course, providing key information for golf travelers while celebrating these revered seaside tests.  With writing by Donald Steel and photos by Brian Morgan, Classic Golf Links is considered an essential reference for experiencing the best of links golf.

This book is a must for anyone with an affinity for links golf. I bought this book years ago and still return to it often. The pictures are amazing and they alone will make you fall in love with these courses.

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Golf Courses of the British Isles
by Bernard Darwin

Summary: “Golf Courses of the British Isles” by Bernard Darwin is a classic text that explores and celebrates the unique beauty and challenges of golf courses throughout the British Isles. Darwin, a revered golf writer and grandson of Charles Darwin, provides insightful commentary on the architecture, history, and character of iconic courses, blending personal anecdotes with expert analysis. His vivid descriptions transport readers to the very greens and fairways of famous venues, highlighting their natural beauty and the intricacies of their design. The book, illustrated with evocative drawings by Harry Rountree, remains a timeless tribute to the game of golf and is considered a must-read for enthusiasts of the sport and its storied landscapes.

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Sand and Golf
by George Waters

Summary: “Sand and Golf” explores how sandy terrain uniquely suits golf, studying similarities and differences between courses worldwide with sandy features. It examines all aspects of the relationship between sand and golf, from the sport’s origins in Scottish coastal dunes to its global spread onto sandy sites. Written by golf architect George Waters with a preface by renowned designer Tom Doak, it details through examples and illustrations why firm, rugged, windy sandy terrain makes creative shot-making integral to the game. The book appeals to knowledgeable golfers interested in course design and architecture, analyzing the art and science behind why golf belongs on sand.

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True Links
by  Malcolm Campbell & George Peper

Summary: True Links by Malcolm Campbell and George Peper profiles over 240 of the world’s top links golf courses across the British Isles and beyond, examining their history, design features, and status as an authentic “true links.” Organized geographically, the book offers photos, maps, scorecards and playing tips for renowned seaside tests like Royal County Down, Ballybunion, Cabot Links, Barnbougle Dunes and others that meet the authors’ criteria.  For links golf aficionados, True Links serves as an illustrated guidebook for experiencing the unique joys and challenges of the game’s most revered coastal courses.

Videos

Welcome to Nefyn
Nefyn – Hidden Gem
Nefyn Golf Club

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