Pyle and Kenfig Golf Club, commonly known as P&K, is one of Wales’s finest links courses. Its famous regal neighbour, Royal Porthcawl, lies next door. But make no mistake, Pyle and Kenfig is almost as great as the mighty Porthcawl.
Breathtaking views of Welsh mountains, Rest Bay and the Bristol Channel can be seen from this old links course, which was founded in 1922 and originally designed by Harry Colt. Nine holes were commandeered by the military during World War II, but after the war, it was decided to extend the course to 18 holes once again. With great foresight, some wild linksland was identified, which lay closer to the sea. Philip Mackenzie Ross (the architect behind Southerness) was asked to design the new holes…and what a job he made of it.Colt’s front nine is good, but Mackenzie Ross’s back nine, routed through the dunes, is simply outstanding.
Unusually for a links course, Pyle and Kenfig is laid out in two loops of nine. The original front nine is where to make a score because the back nine is a very stiff test, especially when the wind is up.The 11th hole, a 525-yard par five known as the Valley Hole, is where the dunes come in to play – from here on in, it’s sheer entertainment. Drink in the view from the 14th tee, a 416-yard par four – the panorama towards the Gower Peninsula is stunning. Pyle & Kenfig’s last three holes (all long par fours) are amongst the best closing holes in golf. They will severely test the mettle of the very best golfers.
Solid driving is key to a good round at Pyle and Kenfig. If you can avoid the trouble and find the fairways, scoring well will be a real possibility.From the regular tees, the course measures a lowly 6,122 yards against a par of 71. Step back onto the medal tees and it’s a different proposition – 6,728 yards and the par is still 71. The club has hosted a number of important events, including the Amateur Championship in 2002 (with Royal Porthcawl) and the Girls Home Internationals in 2003. Additionally, in 2006, they will play host to the Men's Home Internationals.
Good shot making will be rewarded at Pyle and Kenfig - it’s a fair golf course without any unforeseen tricks up its sleeve. Additionally, it’s a fine traditional links, believed by many to be an epic. Ensure that P&K is included on any golfing itinerary to South Wales – we guarantee you’ll thoroughly enjoy this overshadowed gem.
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Average Reviewers Score:
Great links golf course that never seems to be closed whatever the weather. Can build up a decent score on the front nine then try to hang onto it on the back nine as the course twists thru huge dunes with spectacular views of the sea and surrounding dunes area. Great finish - expect nothing less from the designer who built the Ailsa course at Turnberry. Even better they now have en suite accommodation for golfers and non golfers alike for a fantastic break whether you play or not.
Nice to see that the P&K members have learned how to use a computer!
Would have to agree that the course was not in the same league as Pennard. That said some enjoyable holes on the inward 9 that were let down by some rather dull ones on the outward stretch. Friendly staff and members alike and a good pint of Guinness served in the bar afterwards.
Played P&K recently in a very strong southerly wind and severe rain. The course held up extremely well. No puddling on the greens at all. The back-9, especially the section in the bigger dunes and the final brutal finishing holes, is obviously more dramatic and as such is likely to remain in the memory longer, but I thought the front-9 was far, far better than I'd expected it to be after reading the comments of others. The front-9 is significantly flatter, although not that flat, but not many courses aren't flatter in comparison to P&K's back-9. The front-9 has lots of gorse, strategic fairway bunkering and the green complexes, with the slopes and angles and bunkers were first rate and taxing to play into. The greens were true rolling and firm. I look forward to returning to P&K.
Played P&K in March 13 as part of a short golf tour in South Wales. I would have to say that I agree with many of the earlier reviews, aside from holes 11-15 this is a very average course and am surprised that it is rated 11th best in Wales on this website. I haven't played a great deal in Wales but I would be amazed if there aren't more than 10 courses better than this one. At the price it is poor value and would suggest there are better options elsewhere in the area notably Pennard.
So what a disappointment. I have now been to PandK twice and both times have left incredibly frustrated. I am now able to say that I have played the course although it hasn't been easy. I should say, as objectively as I can, that the layout is one of two halves. The first 11 holes and the last two are ok - but nothing more. However, the stretch from 12-16 is jaw droppingly sensational, out of this world, and would comfortably sit alongside any other selection of 'through the dunes' links holes anywhere in the world. In terms of the golf course and nothing more I would recommend the course on the merit of these 5 holes alone.
However, my sense of abject disappointment remains. Why? Here's the reasoning: the first time I went to pandk was May 11. I arrived at about 0830 and was set out from the 10th soon after. I had the glorious back 9 seemingly to myself and revelled in it. Unfortunately my return to the 1st less than 1:30 later coincided with the start of a lady members event. With 4x 4balls still to go out and 2 groups on the 1st already, it was made particularly clear to me that I would not be let on, and would subsequently not be invited through. Regrettably I therefore had to walk in but at least the professional had the kindness to apologise and refund 50% of my green fee.
I assumed that this course of events must be an anomaly and so returned, full of excitement at the prospect of playing the WHOLE course last Monday. When I called ahead to check my booking I made sure that I specifically asked if there were any members events on. I was reassured by the pro that the course was looking quiet - I'd have no issues what-so-ever. Fantastic!
Starting this time at the 1st I was soon let through a four ball and was thoroughly enjoying myself and scoring well, that is until I finished the 8th. From the 9th to the 12th I was stuck behind the most ignorant idjits I have ever had the misfortune of seeing on a golf course. Having spent 1:10 playing the first 8 holes I became so frustrated at having to wait up to 20 mins to play each shot that I walked in. It took a further 1:15 to play 9-13! Barking!!
After a long lunch and a read of the papers in the very friendly clubhouse I walked back to the car park and bumped into the offending 3-ball as they came in. I asked one of them if they were members - they were - and why they hadn't let me through? The answer was that they were playing in a club Christmas Texas Scramble competition. I suggested that they could still have let me through but all I got was a slightly vacant look and, in the spirit of fairness, an apology.
My sense of disappointment was compounded by the fact that I had specifically asked the pro if there were any events on. His answer had been a categoric 'No'. This in itself is a simple mistake to make, what really annoyed me was the fact that I couldn't actually play the proper course - and wasn't told before I left home 60 miles away. Had I known that the club close the beautiful 5 holes I described earlier then I would have gone elsewhere anyway. But I wasn't. It was only after I had paid my green fee that the pro explained that I would be playing the 'loop' of 5 temporary holes (12-16).
So, I will not go back to pandk. I have spent too much hard earned cash on two really disappointing experiences. My recommendation to you is to also avoid it. Go to Southerndown, or better yet Porthcawl. Both are less than 10 mins away and both are far superior venues. Porthcawl in particular is magestic in every regard.
Although it was back in 1992, I had EXACTLY the same experience upon my one and only visit. Starting on Hole 10, my group were really impressed with the holes through the dunes. Upon our return to the 1st, having been held up all the way round the back 9, we were met by a very large number of members queuing up on the 1st tee and were told that we could slot in on an alternate basis (fair enough). We were then subjected to the one of the slowest nine holes of golf that I can ever recall but this did not stop the group behind us constantly attempting to play though us even though we had "nowhere to go" ourselves. It led to a quite bad tempered round of golf which spoilt the whole experience. Clearly, the Club has still not learnt how to manage their tee off times adequately. But, I would start by encouraging P and K members themselves to play at a better pace. The problem on our visit was members not guests and they were not very friendly at all as I recall. Having said all this, P and K is a splendid course and it is well worth a visit - just throughly check what else they have on when you plan a visit.
28 December 2012
Tried to play at P+K 3 years ago only to be told we were not permitted to play 36 holes in one day due to "the slow play of visitors". Ironic really given the comments of so may others!! We took our hard-earned cash to Pennard instead (where we received a very warm welcome) and have never regretted it since.
30 June 2013
What a moan you are, maybe find a companion to play with and take the time to enjoy your round. I hate slow players too but you can't be expecting to go round in 2.5 hours every time! 1 balls have no right to play through anybody anyway.
Played the course last week and thought the course was in excellent condition. The back 9 in particular was a true links experience. The last 3 holes were a true test of golf made slightly easier by the prevailing wind. Myself and my 3 playing partners enjoyed the test and the quality of the course. The Clubhouse was slightly tired but the hospitality and standard of the food was excellent.
P&K was the 3rd leg of our annual tour after Pennard and Ashburnham. Generally rated by the guys as the best of the three, a view with which I would concur. Remarkably the total stableford points scored by the11 players was 323 here and 322 at both the other courses. We’d played it before in 2007 but in the rain and our impression was of a terrific back nine but average front. I would change that now and say that the front nine is good in its own right but not as good as the spectacular back. It just shows that the weather conditions can influence your opinions. It is a tough course but if you hit the ball well you can score. The greens were even quicker than Ashburnham and there were plenty of nice views of the sea. Our favourite holes were 11 through to 16 which included two awesome Par 3s and two lovely dogleg 4s through the dunes. A truly great stretch of holes similar to 10 thru 16 at Porthmadog. The clubhouse is very modest but the staff and members very friendly - a world away from the ghastly Celtic Manor (see other review below) – the post-round Steak & Ale Pie was superb. My favourite course in the area (not played Porthcawl) and I’ll be back!
This course is pure rubbish. The front nine may be the worst nine holes I have ever played...it is literally a cow pasture with nine tee boxes and greens...really horrible. The back nine in the dunes are nine truly fine links holes. This should be a nine holer where one plays the back nine only and the front nine is returned to the livestock. Cows and sheep would better enjoy this land any true golfer.
If the front nine at P&K is the worst you have ever played, all I can say is that you have been very privileged and have played many great courses. Sure the front nine does not compare with the back, but saying the course is rubbish is not only unfair but also untrue.
The front nine is nice enough, but, like Porthmadog in North Wales, it is all about the back nine. A genuine test with windy links conditions requiring use of all the clubs in the bag. Lovely views and greens to compare with the best. Cosy clubhouse with a very genuine welcome extended by the staff and members. Food to cater for the hungry golfer. Asked a number of members which golfer in history they would like to share a round at P&K. Bobby Jones, Jack Nicklaus and Dai Rees were the popular answers. A proper members club. Popped into Celtic Manor on the way home to have a look around. Busy car park; Ian Poulter collection and Blackberrys were the order of the day. Had heard of the wonderful views, but my eyes were drawn to the snake of cart paths weaving through the course. Why would anyone want to be here, when Pyle & Kenfig is down the road and at a fraction of the cost? I suspect the same golfers that take 5 hours for a round and believe Tiger Woods is the greatest player ever to play the game.
As the previous reviewer stated, the course is a very much a hybrid of heathland, parkland and links. A little harsh to call it a mongrel but I can understand where he is coming from. The front nine is very bland for a self proclaimed "championship course" with nothing of note really going on. The course only really comes alive when you stand on the intimidating 10th tee, a long narrow driving hole with trouble left and right. From there, the stretch from 11 to 15 are really superb holes meandering through classic links land. The last 3 holes are real brutes if you are playing into the breeze. Overall, P&K is a very good challenge but for me, there are too many unmemorable holes. Effectively you are only paying the green fee for the challenge and the beauty that the back nine presents. Worth a visit, but as has been previously stated not in the same class as Pennard or it illustrious neighbour Royal Porthcawl!
Pyle will always split opinion amongst the golfing purists because it is difficult to categorise it. Neither parkland, heathland or links, I have heard some go as far as “mongrel”, which I feel is a little harsh. The front nine is a little bland in nature, but there are a couple of strong holes including the 2nd, 6th and 7th. The course comes alive on the back between 11th and 14 th, which have a linksy feel and the finishing 3 holes can play long into the wind. Although the greens are normally relatively quick and true, they again can confuse the visitor who expects to play hard, fast running links greens. A good track, worth a visit but, as this site suggests way behind Royal Porthcawl, Harlech, Pennard and Aberdovey when it comes to great courses in Wales.
A course well worth playing in my opinon. The two nines are both good - holes 11-15 really stand out as classics. The first nine, although not dramatic, is more links than parkland - elevated greens, deep bunkers etc - do not be put off by the reviews. The 6th is a great Par 3 and the green on the 5th is very tricky. It's never going to be on the open rota but if you are in the area it is a must.
"A course of two nines".You keep hearing this.You expect a fairly ordinary front nine but an exceptional back nine.Well,the front nine is fairly ordinary,though pleasant enough on a nice day,but the exceptional back nine ? In reality it has two outstanding holes(13&14)which go through the high dunes,but the other holes don't use this wonderful terrain.The 11th is very good;12,15,16&17 good but hardly outstanding;10&18 frankly plain.
Of course,how much you enjoy something often depends on your expectations..I came away sadly disappointed with Pyle & Kenfig.Trying to be positive,the greens were superbly fast and true,the green fees were very reasonable,the Pro was very helpful and friendly and yes,the 13th and 14th will linger in your memory a long time.So by all means give it a go,but just don't have those expectations set too high !
The links element last from the 11th to the 17th so really i think this is just parkland with a few holes on poor land. the greens were more yellows than anything else altough in fairness they putted to a good speed and were true. good use of bunkers but quite a few in need of repair. perhaps one needs to play this course several times to appreciate its wonders. It didn't happen for me this time!
The previous review is a bit harsh, but it has to be said that the first 10 holes and the last hole are not classic links holes. 11 through to 17 are about as good as it gets through. For me, this is one of those courses that falls into the "if only" bracket. Loads of cracking land all around but sadly not enough of it is being used for golf.
Played this course again recently and enjoyed, but is it a links though.? Course of two distinct halves and fast becoming less links like. Not in the same division as its near neighbour, the Royal, despite the slick greens.
Two distinct nines at P&K with the second half the better of the two. Reason being the holes
are played in and around the dunes and you get that special links feeling.
The 11th and 14th being all that links holes should be, in fact the 14th goes into my top 20 holes played.
Great memories of that hole with a smart up and down to secure my par.
Greens on all holes are in tip top condition and the Pyle and Kenfig experience is a must when in the
area. Passing note .... great welcome from the members but a little colder from the bar staff and catering staff - not sure if we caught them on an off day ...... we certainly did not eat all the pies !
NB - Would like to see this rated higher in the list .....
Pyle and Kenfig is undoubtedly a heroic links. The back nine is dazzling, set amongst towering dunes. The greens are as true and as fast as those at Burnham & Berrow - and that's saying something. If they could somehow utilise some of the vigin duneland and move the front nine, this would be the Ballybunion of Wales and it would put Porthcawl firmly in its shadow. Truly magnificent experience...and very, very tough. Oh to be a member here...this is a Top 100 course, no question.