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Sean_A

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Natural NORTH WALES GC New
« on: August 21, 2020, 08:37:48 AM »
Llandudno, Queen of the Welsh Resorts, is the largest resort in Wales and has a certain charm with its pier, the Great Orme, two beaches and many attractive buildings. Laid out on Llandudnoís quieter West Shore (Penmorfa Beach), North Wales was designed in 1894 by Tancred Cummins with assistance from Harold Hilton.  It must also be noted that Mr Cummins served the club as its Secretary for 38 years! John Ball visited the course often and donated a putter which is played for annually as a club competition.  There is another Hoylake connection, the club borrowed Hoylakeís motto of ďFar and SureĒ for its badge! The course has been altered over the years due to surrounding housing and erosion, but most of the current holes of high character are original stock. 

It would be remiss of me not to spare a few words for the remarkable Harold Hilton. Born in West Kirby and a long-time member of Hoylake, Hilton was an extraordinary golfer in his day with a stellar record. He won two Opens, four Amateurs (and lost three finals), one US Amateur, four Irish Amateur Open Championships, one Golf Illustrated Gold Vase, countless club competitions, including the St Georges Challenge Cup twice, was the only British golfer to win the US Amateur and Amateur in the same year (1911 at the age of 42), and only one of three amateurs to win the Open (the other two being John Ball and Bobby Jones).  It is said the only player to get the better of Hilton was the beloved Scotsman Freddie Tait. Despite a record of 99-29 (77.3%) in the Amateur, Hilton never beat Tait in match.

The manner in which Hilton won the 1911 US Amateur is remarkable.  After squandering a 6-up lead, the match against the formidable Fred Herreshoff went to extra holes.  On the 37th (1st hole) at Apawamis Club in Rye, New York, Hilton sliced his long second either into a rock outcropping or the slope below and careened onto the green 20 feet from the hole. Herreshoff buckled under the good fortune of Hilton and that was that.

Hilton also played in a challenge match against the hard-hitting Cecil Leitch in 1910. Hilton claimed he could give any woman 9 shots over 18 holes and win the match. Ladies Field Day magazine organized a 72-hole match over two days at Sunningdale and Walton Heath. Large crowds gathered to see if Hilton was true to his word. Leitch prevailed 2 and 1 with her 36 shots after Hilton had a two-up lead after the first day at Walton Heath. I wonder if Hilton led the match after 18 holes?



North Wales GC is in a strange part of town.  One suddenly comes upon the street front house as if looking for a dry cleaners. The first tee shot does little to alleviate the thoughts of where and why have I landed here. There is housing down the left guarded by a large fence to protect against cutting the corner. Once beyond the fence line the terrain is interesting and oftens results in a blind second.


Interesting green.


Another dogleg left comes in the 2nd. There is the threat of gorse up the left, but there really is no need to be aggressive with loads of space right.


After the second the course heads for the railway tracks and plays over low lying, heavier turf.  Unfortunately, the architecture doesn't help matters much.  We do find more linksy turf starting with the 6th, but it isn't until the blind 8th where things properly improve.  The fairway rolls over humpty ground to a well protected green.

A view of the hole from the forward tee.


For many the tricky second will be blind as well.  Not only are there visually jarring trees manacing the approach, but there is a large dip short left filled with nasty rough.




Heading back along the beach, the 9th isn't overly difficult at 348 yards, but for some reason it causes issues as the hole seems to play a good 15 yards longer than listed. 


More to follow.

Ciao
« Last Edit: August 19, 2022, 01:41:57 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2024: Fraserburgh, Turnberry, Isle of Harris, Benbecula, Askernish, Traigh, Minehead, St Medan, Hankley Common, Ashridge, Gog Magog Old & Cruden Bay St Olaf

Tommy Williamsen

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Re: NORTH WALES GC
« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2020, 10:24:21 AM »
North Wales is pure fun. I played there a bunch of years ago the same day I played the course across the street. Maesdu?  Also played Conwy that same trip. North Wales was a blast. 16 and 17 are two of the more fascinating holes on the course.I think they were blind par threes, at least one of them was. If memory serves me well one was name O.L and the other named L.O. I look forward to seeing the course. I don't have many memories of the individual holes.[/size]
Where there is no love, put love; there you will find love.
St. John of the Cross

"Deep within your soul-space is a magnificent cathedral where you are sweet beyond telling." Rumi

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: NORTH WALES GC Thru 9
« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2020, 06:17:30 AM »
North Wales Tour Cont.

The 10th ramps up the interest and difficulty. Still running along the beach, the hole is about 400 yards long.  The cross bunkers about 30 yards short of the green are an issue should one not hit a decent drive.




The fairway is split level, although I am not sure there is any advantage to being left unless the wind is hard off the right.




The even longer and uphill 11th also runs along the beach.  We head inland for the 12th, a shortish two-shotter. The final six holes feature three par 3s. 13 is called Hades.  The club purchased the land from the Church Commission who requested the name of the hole be changed.  Mr Cummins declined to do so and as a way of appeasement called the 18th Paradise.  Although, I wonder if it is the same today  8).


More to follow.

Ciao
New plays planned for 2024: Fraserburgh, Turnberry, Isle of Harris, Benbecula, Askernish, Traigh, Minehead, St Medan, Hankley Common, Ashridge, Gog Magog Old & Cruden Bay St Olaf

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: NORTH WALES GC Thru 13
« Reply #3 on: August 28, 2020, 07:58:15 AM »
NORTH WALES TOUR CONT

The three-shot 14th us takes out of the large hollow back to the house...shades of Woking.


The 15th tee is among the tables and nobody cares if someone is on the tee  :D


Audience aside, the dogleg left hole to a saddle green is very good.






The highlight of North Wales; O.L. and L.O. I haven't come across better back to back short holes. Even Painswick fails to measure up!


O.L.'s green is not only blind, but also the size of a blanket.




A silly bunker was removed, but the green also lost its kidney shape.


L.O.




Matchless tee and green sites.


Unfortunately, the rather bland 18th doesn't close North Wales in a memorable manner.  This short-coming doesn't negate the many excellent holes to be found at North Wales.  Conditions can be rustic which is in keeping with the club and very reasonable green fee. For those willing to skate over the inconsistent quality of the design and instead focus on the highlights of 2, 8, 9, 10 and 15-17, North Wales will handsomely repay your efforts.  My opinion of the course has increased after a long period between games and I expect to return.  2020

Ciao
« Last Edit: August 31, 2020, 03:53:22 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2024: Fraserburgh, Turnberry, Isle of Harris, Benbecula, Askernish, Traigh, Minehead, St Medan, Hankley Common, Ashridge, Gog Magog Old & Cruden Bay St Olaf

Mike Hendren

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Natural NORTH WALES GC
« Reply #4 on: August 28, 2020, 10:35:34 AM »
Thanks Sean.  Will add this to my must list - total disco and tickety boo.


Have you played Bangor St. Deiniol GC just down the coast?


Bogey





Two Corinthians walk into a bar ....

Thomas Dai

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Natural NORTH WALES GC
« Reply #5 on: August 28, 2020, 10:41:55 AM »
Thanks Sean.
O.L. and L.O. do look a bit special.
atb

Ben Stephens

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Natural NORTH WALES GC
« Reply #6 on: August 29, 2020, 08:34:12 AM »
Sean


What holes would you change and amend at NW to make the course better in your view?


Cheers
Ben

James Reader

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Natural NORTH WALES GC
« Reply #7 on: August 30, 2020, 05:56:21 AM »
Itís good to see what OL and LO look like.


I played North Wales in the British Universities Championship in (I think) 1991.  It was 36 holes strokeplay at NW and Maesdu and then the top 64 progress to match play at Maesdu.  As we played the 14th at NW the heavens opened and by the time we got to the 16th (OL) tee the green was even more ďsunkenĒ than normal - already under an inch of water.  We retreated to the clubhouse to wait for it to clear but it didnít.  The round was cancelled and I havenít been back since. So, until now, I have never actually seen the two holes for which the course is most well known.  Looks like I should find my way back there at some point.


As an aside, that week was an eye-opener for me in terms of the difference between Oxbridge and most other UK universities, including mine, Lancaster.  I made it to the quarter finals and played a guy from Cambridge.  He was worried if he got through to the final he might struggle to make the flight for their teamís summer tour of some of the top courses of the East coast of the US.  I was worried that if I got through to the semi-final the next morning I (genuinely) only had enough money left to either pay for another night at the local campsite where I was staying in a tent or to have something to eat that evening other than the quarter of my Mumís fruit cake that I had left.


He beat me on the 18th, so the choice was made for me!

Ben Stephens

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Natural NORTH WALES GC
« Reply #8 on: August 30, 2020, 06:50:49 AM »
Itís good to see what OL and LO look like.


I played North Wales in the British Universities Championship in (I think) 1991.  It was 36 holes strokeplay at NW and Maesdu and then the top 64 progress to match play at Maesdu.  As we played the 14th at NW the heavens opened and by the time we got to the 16th (OL) tee the green was even more ďsunkenĒ than normal - already under an inch of water.  We retreated to the clubhouse to wait for it to clear but it didnít.  The round was cancelled and I havenít been back since. So, until now, I have never actually seen the two holes for which the course is most well known.  Looks like I should find my way back there at some point.


As an aside, that week was an eye-opener for me in terms of the difference between Oxbridge and most other UK universities, including mine, Lancaster.  I made it to the quarter finals and played a guy from Cambridge.  He was worried if he got through to the final he might struggle to make the flight for their teamís summer tour of some of the top courses of the East coast of the US.  I was worried that if I got through to the semi-final the next morning I (genuinely) only had enough money left to either pay for another night at the local campsite where I was staying in a tent or to have something to eat that evening other than the quarter of my Mumís fruit cake that I had left.


He beat me on the 18th, so the choice was made for me!


James,


I also played in the British Universities Championships I think in 1998 at Bristol and Clifton/Long Ashton - after a poor first round at B+C most of my friends and I went out in Bristol and it was a long night out plus a early morning tee off at LA with the worst hangover and was around 8-10 shots better  :o


Its a shame that it doesn't get that much promotion within the UK compared to its US counterparts.


Cheers
Ben

Jonathan Cummings

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Re: Natural NORTH WALES GC
« Reply #9 on: August 30, 2020, 08:00:23 AM »
Yes indeed the course is fun to play.  I also thought the town and castle were thoroughly charming.  What a great little town to walk around!

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Natural NORTH WALES GC
« Reply #10 on: September 03, 2020, 05:24:47 AM »
Bogey

Never played Bangor....

Ben

To be honest, you could make positive changes to every hole. I would certainly start with removing the trees near 8 green. Holes such as 3, 4, 7 and 18 would be on my priority hit list.

Ciao
New plays planned for 2024: Fraserburgh, Turnberry, Isle of Harris, Benbecula, Askernish, Traigh, Minehead, St Medan, Hankley Common, Ashridge, Gog Magog Old & Cruden Bay St Olaf

John Mayhugh

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Natural NORTH WALES GC
« Reply #11 on: September 03, 2020, 06:54:12 AM »
Sean,

Thanks for another good tour.  Added to the ever-growing list, if only to see the run of 14-17.

Am I the only person that doesn't know what O.L. and L.O. means? I realize it's what holes 15 & 16 are called, but why?

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Natural NORTH WALES GC
« Reply #12 on: September 03, 2020, 06:57:57 AM »
Sean,

Thanks for another good tour.  Added to the ever-growing list, if only to see the run of 14-17.

Am I the only person that doesn't know what O.L. and L.O. means? I realize it's what holes 15 & 16 are called, but why?

16 and 17.

O. L. equals Oh Hell

L. O. equals Hello

The penny will drop 😎.

Ciao
New plays planned for 2024: Fraserburgh, Turnberry, Isle of Harris, Benbecula, Askernish, Traigh, Minehead, St Medan, Hankley Common, Ashridge, Gog Magog Old & Cruden Bay St Olaf

John Mayhugh

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Natural NORTH WALES GC
« Reply #13 on: September 03, 2020, 07:10:46 AM »
Sean,
Haha thanks! Makes more sense spoken.


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