The Takeaway: Aerial photos make Aberdovey look like an inspiring golf site, however from the ground it is mostly flat and not as distinguished one might hope. However, there are a trio of top shelf holes. Grade C+
Designer: James Braid 1892 (Herbert Fowler 1893, Harry Colt 1910)
Cost: £40 - £70 Click for current rates
Phone Number: +44 1654 767493
Course Website: Official Website - Visit Aberdovey Golf Club's official website by clicking on the link provided.
Directions: Get here! - Station road, Aberdyfi, Aberdovey LL35 0RT – WALES
What to Expect: From the air, Aberdovey enjoys a brilliant links location laid between the railroad tracks and the sea. From the ground, it is a mostly flat property and you wouldn't know the sea existed other than the faint sound of waves crashing on the other side of the large line of dunes that separate the course from the beach. The out-and-back figure eight routing works around a bend in the central Wales coastline with the opening half of holes enjoying great terrain reminiscent of Enniscrone in Ireland before crossing over to much less inspiring property for the rest of the round. The 2nd, 3rd, and 12th holes standout as the best offerings but many of the remaining holes left me wanting to be more inspired than I was. As is common with most courses in the UK, players will be required to walk but can rent a trolley to help tote their clubs around.
By the Numbers
Individual Hole Analysis
Signature Hole: 12th Hole – 150 Yard Par 3 – The furthest spot from the clubhouse but also the closest to the sea, the short uphill 12th plays similarly to the 11th at Shinnecock Hills. The bunkerless hole relies on the elements, surrounding fescue, and sloping edges to deliver enough trouble that sand isn't required to make this a test, even at 150 yards. Missing short or left will see your ball tumble down the sharp terrain to an unsavory lie while missing to the right can leave your ball on the beach. With over 30 yards of green depth to work with, there is more putting surface to hit than meets the eye so trust your swing here so that things don't get squirrely.
Best Par 3: 3rd Hole – 167 Yards – Aberdovey's version of a Dell hole, the blind par three 3rd requires some faith to play. A dune separates the green from the tee to the point where you might catch a glimpse of the top of the flag depending on that day's position. The putting surface sits in a shallow bowl and helps feed balls towards the green if slightly off line. With no bunkers to contend with, the 3rd relies on wind and the dunes to create the biggest challenge.
Best Par 4: 2nd Hole – 335 Yards – The 2nd and 3rd holes easily stand as two of the best and most memorable holes at Aberdovey with the dunescape being utilized in impressive fashion. This short two-shotter presents a risk/reward scenario as players have to decide how aggressive to be with their tee shot. The fairway plays out to the left slightly before bending back to the right where the green is tucked in next to the dunes. Only the first of the fairway is visible from the tee before the short grass tucks behind the fescue covered dunes out of view. A trio of bunkers are carved into humps right of the green and lie in wait to catch balls that may get tossed that direction as the wind comes off the sea from the player's left. It is a fun and strategic hole that is a great way to get rolling early in the round.
Best Par 5: 15th Hole – 504 Yards – The final par five on the course and the second in a three hole stretch, the 15th is reachable in two with the hole tipping out just over 500 yards. The tee shot plays towards the train tracks before turning back to the right and driving towards the green that is protected on the sides by three sand bunkers and a pair of grass bunkers. The undulated surface in front of the green encourages players to bring their approach shot in aerially to avoid any unlucky bounces.
Birdie Time: 16th Hole – 289 Yard Par 4 – This short fairway follows the train tracks on the left as it bends around a walking path that mirrors the track's course. The bunkerless hole counts on players to be able to shape the ball as its primary defense, but with no aerial trouble to be concerned with, players can simply start their tee shot left of the path and cut it towards the green if they aren't comfortable drawing the ball. A series of moguls protect the front of the green, but even if your tee shot ends up in them there should be no trouble chipping your second shot close to the pin and rolling in a birdie.
Bogey Beware: 18th Hole – 449 Yard Par 4 – Two creeks come into play on the final hole, one on each side of the fairway, on the lengthy closing hole. With the prevailing wind coming off the player's right, tee shots must be driven towards the right creek and trust that the wind will move the ball back towards the left. Four bunkers are peppered across the later half of the hole and the green is tucked in tight next to the clubhouse which can cause some trouble when attacking pin positions on the left side of the putting surface. It is a stout finish where carding a par should put a smile on your face.