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Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Lonesome LLANDRINDOD WELLS GC
« on: July 01, 2019, 07:26:00 AM »
In pursuit of a suitable Kington Buda Cup mate I have been meaning to visit the somewhat isolated Llandrindod Wells for some time. Famous as a Victorian spa town in which its curative waters were available in the pump room of the Pump Room Hotel, Llandrindod Wells is also well known as a centre for motorcyle racing.  However, more interesting to me are the two fomer art deco garages of Pritchard's and the marvelously named Automobile Palace. It was going to be difficult for the course to top these two buildings! Interestingly, it was none other than Tom Norton, the original owner of the Automobile Palace, who was the prime mover in recognizing the potential of golf and pushed for a new course to be built. 

Harry Vardon is credited with the original 1907 design situated in the hills above town.  Some 30 years later the great James Braid was called in to make alterations, what these were I don't know.  I suspect Braid didn't call for bunkers because there are none at Llandrindod Wells and there isn't any obvious evidence of lost bunkers.  The terrain is fairly hilly and there is an element of the rolly poly land so often associated with Ross designs, especially on the par 5s.  The fairways drape over the land in a very natural fashion, but many of the greens are built up and of the tiered style.  Consequently, there isn't much pressure on driving the ball except that caused by the oft employed blindness. 

Not surprisingly and like Church Stretton, Kington, Cleeve Cloud and Painswick, the opening holes are about climbing.  The biggest climb comes early.  A bit too ubruptly uphill, the 1st nevertheless provides an interesting option of safe left short of the trees or over the top of a ridge up the right.   


On a calm day, the short 2nd shouldn't offer too much resistance.


Crossing the road, the three-shot 3rd is more manly stuff.  Legging left against the run of the land, longer players can reach the green which is seemingly dug out of the hillside.




The 4th is about as severe as it comes for an uphill short hole.


More to follow.

Ciao
« Last Edit: November 09, 2021, 03:43:02 PM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies, Meadowbrook, Dunes Club & Crystal Downs

Mark Pearce

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Re: LLANDRINDOD WELLS GC 1-4
« Reply #1 on: July 01, 2019, 08:02:53 AM »
The 4th is about as severe as it comes for an uphill short hole.
We need to get you to Bamburgh Castle this September.  The 6th there eats this for breakfast.  Which doesn't make it a good hole.
In July 2022 I will be riding 3 stages of the Tour de France,  in the Alps, to raise money for the William Wates Memorial Trust which is dedicated to providing opportunities for under privileged young adults.  To support the Trust, please visit https://fundraising.wwmt.org/fundraisers/MarkPearce/rid

Richard Fisher

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Re: LLANDRINDOD WELLS GC 1-4
« Reply #2 on: July 01, 2019, 10:07:43 AM »
So pleased that the Arble Adventures have now reached Llandindrod Wells, a course for which I have long had a soft spot. At one time the spa town accommodated 45 holes of very varying quality, but the surviving 18 have always had a distinctive place in Welsh golf, not least as for many years until the1960s the Wells was the venue for the Welsh Boys Championship (for the simple reason that it was ajudged the most central location in a country in which north-south communication has never been very easy. It was also the original home club of John L Morgan, the first Welshman ever to play in the Walker Cup (1951-1953-1955) in which, by the British standards of the time, he performed rather respectably.

Much looking forward to the rest of Sean's tour...

Thomas Dai

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Re: LLANDRINDOD WELLS GC 1-4
« Reply #3 on: July 01, 2019, 10:39:31 AM »
Looking forward to viewing the complete tour. Splendid part of the world .. particularly if you’re keen on tractors, quad bikes with sheep dogs riding pillion and of course, Ifor Williams trailers!
As to the golf, very Welsh Marches is my recollection, ie up the hill, around the roly-poly plateau and back down again. Very annoying that I wasn’t up to coming along. Great weather day too. And wonderful views.
Atb


Later edit - some re-coloured photos of LWGC in past times -

« Last Edit: July 14, 2019, 06:46:09 AM by Thomas Dai »

Sean_A

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Re: LLANDRINDOD WELLS GC 1-4
« Reply #4 on: July 02, 2019, 06:09:15 AM »
Richard

I read somewhere that LWs was also used for News Of The World qualifying!

ATB

LWs is certainly hilly! 

Landrindod Wells Tour Cont

One of the better holes on the course, the 5th is a roller coaster ride par 5.  A blind tee shot, I thought the hole turned left, but no. The hole slips slightly right, but the left side is where you want to be.


Playing downhill, on many days, many people will have the length to reach the green in two with an iron.  Noticing the rather odd cut line I thought it best to play right and wait for the KICK.


Not a hole to miss left.


The 6th & 7th are not up to much.  A bit tighter with marshy ground and a pond left, the 8th has a cool cops which I bet used to cover the entire front of the green.  I wonder if some of these more basic, but lovable features have been removed?


The side closes with an excellent hole which is blind from the tee.  Visually, the hole looks very narrow, but there is more room on the left than it appears. Below is a look at the green from about 200 yards out. The tilt left is clearly the green's main defense.


I have taken a strong liking to long par 3s in the right situations.  These hill top courses are often short so may benefit from one or two such par 3s.  The interesting aspect of the 10th is the presence of fairway for the many golfers who cannot reach the green.


The hole is loooong, some 230 yards.


Turning back, the short 11th is fairly long as well....not to mention busy looking. This hole is an extreme example of the many two tier greens.  Looking back to the tee.


Playing downhill enough to be blind, the 12th green runs quite harshly away from play.


An odd looking hole, #13 must be one of the par 4s which can be driven even with fairways that are kept fairly long.




Back to back long holes follow.  Often times par 5s are left to cover less interesting terrain and can essentially act as links to good terrain.  It seems to me there was a concentrated effort at Llandindod Wells for the long holes to cover much of the best terrain.  All are interesting and use the land well in terms of offering a clearly better side of attack.  That is except for the 14th.  Yes, it runs over very good land, but the hole remains straight-forward.  The overly used two-tier green caps the hole which borders beautiful countryside.


However, #15 is a good hole turning a bit against the grain of the terrain. 






Another blind tee shot, there is loads more room than it appears on the 16th tee. 






An odd and rugged looking par 3 takes us back up to high ground.


The apparent signature hole, Death or Glory, is a short par 4 which requires playing over a road. The carry is about 250 yards so a large percentage of golfers will play blindly over the road!  I looked at the hole from the ladies tee and I must say this would make for a terrific long par 3.  All is not solved if one does drive the green.  The surface runs hard away from the tee and is sort of reverse tiered.  Its a shame we had to wait until the 18th for a highly entertaining green.


For sure Llandrindod Wells is too hilly with too many blind tee shots to be anything but holiday golf.  But good holiday golf it is with an enticing green fee to match!  Should anyone care to suggest that the holiday golf label is not quite representative of Llandrindod Wells, there are numerous good holes in 3, 5, 9, 10, 11, 13 & 15 to support such a claim.  Unfortunately, being 30 minutes from my favourite course makes it difficult for me to pass up a game at Kington for the pleasures of Llandrindod Wells. But for those who like to spread the wealth, the two make a natural pairing for an overnight trip.  2019

Ciao
« Last Edit: December 27, 2021, 12:31:48 PM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies, Meadowbrook, Dunes Club & Crystal Downs

Thomas Dai

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: LLANDRINDOD WELLS GC
« Reply #5 on: July 04, 2019, 07:18:14 AM »
Well done for the tour. I'd go along with in that Kington (and Welshpool) are superior. I'm never like the term 'holiday golf' in relation to a Club that has members who live locally but I get your drift.
A zillion years ago when I first played "Llandod" as some call it, there were pretty much no trees on the property, plenty of heather and ferns though.
atb

Some further re-coloured old photos of the course and Clubhouse in earlier times -


« Last Edit: July 14, 2019, 06:47:01 AM by Thomas Dai »

John Mayhugh

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: LLANDRINDOD WELLS GC
« Reply #6 on: July 05, 2019, 12:35:21 PM »
Whether for economy or challenge, I love the restraint shown by not bunkering drop offs. I would be delighted to see Buda visit here along with Kington.

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: LLANDRINDOD WELLS GC
« Reply #7 on: July 11, 2019, 02:26:40 AM »
Tucky

I too like the open low sides of greens, but the course would be much better with a concentrated selection of bunkers.

Ciao
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies, Meadowbrook, Dunes Club & Crystal Downs

John Mayhugh

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: LLANDRINDOD WELLS GC
« Reply #8 on: July 11, 2019, 12:33:36 PM »
Tucky

I too like the open low sides of greens, but the course would be much better with a concentrated selection of bunkers.

Ciao
Is this the first ever instance of you advocating for adding bunkers?!

Sam Andrews

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: LLANDRINDOD WELLS GC
« Reply #9 on: July 11, 2019, 01:28:29 PM »
Is this the first ever instance of you advocating for adding bunkers?!



Somebody needs to take Sean's temperature. I think he's sick.
He's the hairy handed gent, who ran amok in Kent.

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: LLANDRINDOD WELLS GC
« Reply #10 on: July 15, 2019, 04:27:35 PM »
Tucky

I too like the open low sides of greens, but the course would be much better with a concentrated selection of bunkers.

Ciao
Is this the first ever instance of you advocating for adding bunkers?!

Tucky

Look, I know bunkerless courses are cool and all that, but lets be honest, every bunkerless course I know would be better with bunkers.  The issue really comes down to adding meaningful bunkers without spoiling the vibe.  In the right hands, I am confident a good archie could accomplish this very easily just by adding 10-15 bunkers. Llandrindod Wells is no exception.

Ciao
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies, Meadowbrook, Dunes Club & Crystal Downs

Thomas Dai

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: LLANDRINDOD WELLS GC
« Reply #11 on: July 15, 2019, 04:39:18 PM »
I can understand where Sean is coming from but imagine circa 90-110 yrs ago a fleet of horses pulling carts full of sand up a hill as steep as those hills at Llandrindod Wells GC (or Kington, Church Stretton, Welshpool etc). And in later years primitive low powered trucks attempting the same. Quite a feat of strength and endurance and costly too. And once in place the ongoing top-up and upkeep generally during the periods of the two world wars and the economic downturn years plus the reaction of the sheep, their droppings and the wind. Sometimes needs must.

Atb

Duncan Cheslett

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: LLANDRINDOD WELLS GC
« Reply #12 on: July 15, 2019, 05:27:08 PM »
We all know that bunkers have their origins in the holes that sheep scraped out in the dunes to find protection from the wind. Natural bunkers then, were a feature of early links courses.

By the time golf moved inland and then across the pond, artificially placed bunkers had become an accepted norm on nearly all golf courses.
When you stop and think about it though, why do we have bunkers at all on inland courses? They are unnecessary, they are expensive to build and maintain, and they are a completely unnatural feature.


I like it that courses such as  Llandrindod Wells have no bunkers. Courses like this can live quite happily without the visual bling. It would probably have been better if no inland courses had bunkers at all.

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: LLANDRINDOD WELLS GC
« Reply #13 on: July 15, 2019, 06:47:26 PM »
I guess my counterpoint would be what is necessary for golf and is this bare necessity enough to maintain interest on land which is not inherently interesting for 18 holes?  Why is shaping the land considered more natural when often times it is obvious this isn't the case?  I am always going to plop for variety and that is exactly what bunkers provide.  At a course such as Llanadrindod Wells, many of the drives and approaches look very similar because they are similar.  Now some of that is down to less than stellar green locations and/or not terribly inspired shaping around the greens.  That said, some holes with bunker(s) to break up the singular look and playing characteristics would be very beneficial.  The same could be said of earthworks, mounds, hollows, cops etc.  It all adds to the melting pot of variety.  Now, I am only advocating such where bunkers are concerned if the work is of decent quality and the placement of the hazards is well reasoned for maximum effect.  There isn't much point in producing many of the bunkers we see at Cleeve Cloud.

Ciao
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies, Meadowbrook, Dunes Club & Crystal Downs

Thomas Dai

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: LLANDRINDOD WELLS GC
« Reply #14 on: July 16, 2019, 03:09:48 AM »
Earthworks, mounds, hollows, cops etc to add to the interest and variety - absolutely.
No point in producing many of the bunkers we see at Cleeve Cloud - agreed.
Even include the occasional natural pond or wet area like at Welshpool.
atb



Thomas Dai

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: LLANDRINDOD WELLS GC
« Reply #15 on: November 09, 2021, 03:19:18 PM »
Had a misty game at 'Llandod' recently, and what a delight it was to play. Immaculate fairways, no lift, clean and place as there was no mud to gather on the ball, and superb greens ...... all in November. And the added bonus of red kites flying overhead.
Some photos below.
atb




Amazing birds Red Kites. The way they 'float' effortlessly in the sky, eyes ever searching for prey. The species was nearly obliterated from the UK at one stage but now reintroduced are flourishing, overly flourishing some may say.
Not far from 'Llandod' is a Red Kite Centre at Rhayader. Worth a visit.
Here's a web-link to the RK-Centre and a close-up photo per their website - https://www.gigrin.uk/
« Last Edit: November 10, 2021, 04:43:08 AM by Thomas Dai »

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Lonesome LLANDRINDOD WELLS GC
« Reply #16 on: November 15, 2021, 03:15:46 AM »
Cheers Welsh Wizard. I didn't realize there was a Red Kite Centre out that way. Beautiful birds!

Ciao
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies, Meadowbrook, Dunes Club & Crystal Downs

Mike Dutton

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Lonesome LLANDRINDOD WELLS GC
« Reply #17 on: November 28, 2021, 10:42:07 AM »
Sean, Thomas and Richard,

No talk of Llandrindod Wells, both the town & its special golf course, should be done without alerting all to a visit to the singular Arvon Ale House.

One of the best pub experiences of my life while traveling...talking with people there, some called it their local although they lived miles afar!

Mike
« Last Edit: November 28, 2021, 10:53:29 AM by Mike Dutton »

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Lonesome LLANDRINDOD WELLS GC
« Reply #18 on: December 06, 2021, 04:14:17 AM »
Sean, Thomas and Richard,

No talk of Llandrindod Wells, both the town & its special golf course, should be done without alerting all to a visit to the singular Arvon Ale House.

One of the best pub experiences of my life while traveling...talking with people there, some called it their local although they lived miles afar!

Mike


Now you tell me! I do like a small micro beer pub.

Ciao
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies, Meadowbrook, Dunes Club & Crystal Downs

Thomas Dai

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Lonesome LLANDRINDOD WELLS GC
« Reply #19 on: July 08, 2022, 05:23:29 PM »
A recent visit during a Mid-Wales version of 'scorchio' conditions to play the ever splendid course at Llandrindod Wells.
The course was in wonderful condition as usual, note they only have 3, yes only 3, greenstaff, and on this occasion turf conditions were getting pretty browned-up, firm and very bouncy.
The roly-poly nature of parts of the course reminds me of the Kings Course at Gleneagles, maybe it's the Braid influence?
Not many Red Kites to be seen during this visit however.
Some course pics below.
atb




Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: LLANDRINDOD WELLS GC 1-4
« Reply #20 on: July 09, 2022, 03:42:05 AM »
The 4th is about as severe as it comes for an uphill short hole.
We need to get you to Bamburgh Castle this September.  The 6th there eats this for breakfast.  Which doesn't make it a good hole.

I agree, Bamburgh's 6th is beyond the pale.

Ciao
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies, Meadowbrook, Dunes Club & Crystal Downs

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