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Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
The Breeze of BORTH & YNYSLAS GC
« on: March 16, 2010, 05:35:05 AM »
Established in 1885, B & Y can lay claim as one of the older courses south of Hadrian's Wall.  I do not know who designed the course, but Colt was meant to have added his touches shortly after WWII.  If Colt made changes or what they were I cannot say. The links would have been an idyllic spot before the B4353, which divides the course on an east/west axis, became a major thoroughfare leading to the resort town of Borth.  This road makes for a few butt clenching shots going out and back.  Indeed, the club believes the danger to passing cars is significant enough that it requires visiting golfers to purchase insurance as part of the green fee.  There is also a second road which must be crossed.  The mighty dunes of Ynyslas are part of the Dyfi National Nature Reserve and the road which takes the intrepid traveler in that direction splits the course on a north/south axis.  If this all seems rather like the surrounding area is busy, one can only imagine the sufferings of the golfer in high season. 

As one sits in the house awaiting the allotted tee time he can't help but to wonder just how narrow these opening holes are for that is the view from the front window.  Well, the opener isn't that tight, but the sea is hard left and there is a ravine of sorts out right to catch the inevitable weak fade opening tee shot.  I say ravine because there was no water in the ditch so I presume it fills during the many monsoon-like days this exposed part of the coast must experience.  If the above sounds negative, it shouldn't. These opening holes are in places admittedly narrow, but if it was a river or another beach to the right instead of a busy road I am confident these holes would be praised.

The approach to #1.  From this angle the ditch running further up and feeding a marshy area is difficult to see.


It doesn't take long to cross the road and after doing so the stakes are raised a bit for the long two-shotter 2nd.  There is no place to go but straight.  The fairway isn't narrow, but with no room for error and a likely Borth Breeze pushing from the right this is one of those do or die shots.


One can see that the course is rather rudimentary, but B&Y shouldn't be dismissed lightly.  Many holes exhibit a characteristic low rolling nature which adds interest. The sky turned a wild colour for a while which made me think the heavens were going to open, but the rain never hit.


The third continues the march north toward Aberdovey, not more than a handful of miles distant.  The two bunkers well short of the green create an interesting choice on the tee of playing safe right or going dangerously down the left; B&Y's own Prinipal's Nose.


A cautious drive leaves this sort of approach.  The 14th green is just beyond.


To this point, despite the road, I was impressed.  There is nothing flashy, but three fours takes some doing.  Unfortunately, the most exciting aspect of the long 4th is pointed to on #6 of the Local Rules.  "Glan Gors: Deliberate play over, or retrieval from this property on the 4th is prohibited."  This is what I faced after the drive.   


The fifth takes us to the most interesting part of the course where the dunes come more into play.  The drive is cut-off by low mounding at about the 260 mark of this short par 4.  Notice that the course plays over a road. 


Its not a bad play to lay-up if the wind is anything like against.  In the rear left is #12 green.  It would have been cool to create a double green.   


I suspect the mound between the bunkers was added at some point. 


The 6th is an interesting hole.  There is a huge mound set in the middle of the fairway giving the player the choice of left or right off the tee.  I would think right leaves the best angle of approach because one can hit more into the wind rather than have a cross wind shot from the left. 


The approach from the left.


What goes up, must come down: so it is no surprise the 7th is a downhill hole.  The eighth is a rather prosaic par 5 following along the road to the right.  The short 9th starts the trek back for home in style.  Yes, the hole is good, but the facilities on offer are exceptional - notice the air fresh hanging on a nail. 


The 10th is an odd hole.  It is visually unappealing until we get to the green site.  Something more could have been made of this bit of land.  The third par 3 in six holes greets us on the 11th tee - not a bad hole. The green from the 12th tee.


Like the 5th, the drivable 12th could be a great hole.  For some reason, much like the mound on #5, the path to the green was cut off by a bunker. If both holes kept a gap open and were made into one long angled double green these two holes could rival O.L. and L.O. as the star duo of Wales.


Behind the green.


The final and best three-shotter comes on the 13th.  The fairway is shared with Glangors, but the more one uses the 4th fairway, the worse the angle of approach to the 13th.  The flurry of short holes continues on the 14th.  This is arguably the best hole on the course with the seawall tight to the green. 


After the rather blah 15th, which is reachable in the right conditions, the golfer crosses the road one last time for a few more of those testing shots which can make or break or round.  Not surprisingly, the 16th green rests near the road, but a marsh awaits to the left. 


There are some very fine par 4s, but the 17th may take the prize.  The terrain is not nearly as interesting as on some previous holes, but with the seemingly constant threat of the road right and marsh left, this 297 yarder is a head scratcher.  I can't understand the reason for the back tees at 347 yards.  This only seems to eliminate the best aspect of the hole - temptation.   


As on the first, there is depressed land that fills when the weather calls for it.  This sort of hazard is an extra treat because one is never quite sure if there is a recovery shot or not. 


The 18th also features a ditch crossing the fairway, but in this case it isn't classed as a hazard.   

B&Y is certainly one of the more interesting courses I have seen.  In many ways it reminds me of North Wales, very rustic with the quality of the holes all over the place.  I didn't have much if any expectations coming in so I wasn't disappointed.  That said, I don't believe the dune area of the course was taken full advantage of and this is a shame. Balanced against this is the agressive use of the roads and water.  These are features which cannot be mitigated so I applaud the their highighted use.  B&Y is worth seeing if nearby. 2010

Ciao
« Last Edit: June 07, 2023, 03:20:54 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2023: Cardigan, St David's City, Clyne, Panmure, Kinghorn, Harrogate & Ladybank

Tony_Muldoon

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: The Breeze of Borth and Ynyslas GC
« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2010, 06:31:22 AM »


Looking forwad to seeing the rest.

At least it's got one essential feature of the classic links course. ;)



I droped inot the clubhouse one Friday eveing and was introduced to the Captain. 
I asked him who had designed it.  "That would be God. It's too narrow for anyone one esle to muck it about."
Let's make GCA grate again!

Mark Chaplin

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: The Breeze of Borth and Ynyslas GC
« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2010, 06:37:35 AM »
Anyone else notice how brown the links are this winter? I'm guessing it's a result of the cold and snow.
Cave Nil Vino

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: The Breeze of Borth and Ynyslas GC
« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2010, 06:42:12 AM »
Anyone else notice how brown the links are this winter? I'm guessing it's a result of the cold and snow.

A chap at Aberdovey said they have hardly any rain for 8 weeks.  Aberdovey was very firm.  B & Y must have a very high water table because it wasn't nearly as keen as Aberdovey.

Ciao
New plays planned for 2023: Cardigan, St David's City, Clyne, Panmure, Kinghorn, Harrogate & Ladybank

Tony_Muldoon

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: The Breeze of Borth and Ynyslas GC
« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2010, 04:33:25 PM »
Interesting thanks Sean. 

I opted to play Aberdovey and then Cardigan about an hour and half south of Borth which I hugely enjoyed - but it isn't links.  The Captain did add that Colt only did the holes at the far end of the course when the area was reclaimed from military use after WW11.  However Colt wasn't doing a lot of Course work then and it's more likely Morrison did it?

The Welsh golfing union have staged a number of their top amateur events there in recent times so it has some local respect.  Some of the long grass just off the greens looks like it would be Portrush brutal in summer.


Borth wouldn't be my choice of places to stay but when next passing I will look forward to giving it a go.
Let's make GCA grate again!

Thomas Dai

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: The Breeze of BORTH & YNYSLAS GC
« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2023, 04:39:50 AM »
A recent trip to coastal Mid-Wales took in a game at delightful Borth & Ynyslas.
Rural and rugged and a bit rough around the edges but great fun and sneaky challenging golf. Golf like it used to be in so many places. Clever use of humps and hollows especially the modestly angled diagonal ridges that frequent the first and last few holes. And the 14th, a 200 yr par-3 playing just inside the seawall, is an absolutely cracking hole.
Not the greatest day for photos but here are some to augment what has been posted above.
B&Y is very much worth a game if you are in the area. It's just across the river from Darwins favourite Aberdovey and James Braids terrific Welshpool isn't too far away either.
atb

18th green and Clubhouse


Approach to the 3rd green. Love this photo. Simple golf. Not manicured but challenging and fun.


5th green with the 12th green at left in the background


14th green

Adam Lawrence

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: The Breeze of BORTH & YNYSLAS GC
« Reply #6 on: May 17, 2023, 05:36:24 AM »
Borth claims that Colt redesigned the course in 1947, but that is impossible, he was totally retired after WW2. He may have been there earlier, but I haven't been able to find hard proof. Or John Morrison may have been there in '47, and the club just called it 'Colt' work.
Adam Lawrence

Editor, Golf Course Architecture
www.golfcoursearchitecture.net

Principal, Oxford Golf Consulting
www.oxfordgolfconsulting.com

Author, 'More Enduring Than Brass: a biography of Harry Colt' (forthcoming).

Short words are best, and the old words, when short, are the best of all.

Richard Fisher

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: The Breeze of BORTH & YNYSLAS GC
« Reply #7 on: May 18, 2023, 06:53:22 AM »
There are a quartet of British golf societies, including the Senior GS and the MCC GS, whose members can pay cú120 per annum as 'Special Members' to help keep B&Y afloat. I do this, as I think do one or two others on this site. Off on Sunday on the usual Gogs Maytour, this year to Aberdovey, Abersoch, Porthmadog and (obvs) Harlech and I will report back in the usual way. Sadly no Borth this time.

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: The Breeze of BORTH & YNYSLAS GC
« Reply #8 on: June 07, 2023, 03:27:38 AM »
A recent trip to coastal Mid-Wales took in a game at delightful Borth & Ynyslas.
Rural and rugged and a bit rough around the edges but great fun and sneaky challenging golf. Golf like it used to be in so many places. Clever use of humps and hollows especially the modestly angled diagonal ridges that frequent the first and last few holes. And the 14th, a 200 yr par-3 playing just inside the seawall, is an absolutely cracking hole.
Not the greatest day for photos but here are some to augment what has been posted above.
B&Y is very much worth a game if you are in the area. It's just across the river from Darwins favourite Aberdovey and James Braids terrific Welshpool isn't too far away either.
atb

18th green and Clubhouse


Approach to the 3rd green. Love this photo. Simple golf. Not manicured but challenging and fun.


You are right. B&Y do a lovely job of presenting a rustic course which doesn't materially impact playability. I need to go back.

Ciao
New plays planned for 2023: Cardigan, St David's City, Clyne, Panmure, Kinghorn, Harrogate & Ladybank

John Mayhugh

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: The Breeze of BORTH & YNYSLAS GC
« Reply #9 on: June 07, 2023, 08:52:58 AM »

There are some very fine par 4s, but the 17th may take the prize.  The terrain is not nearly as interesting as on some previous holes, but with the seemingly constant threat of the road right and marsh left, this 297 yarder is a head scratcher.  I can't understand the reason for the back tees at 347 yards.  This only seems to eliminate the best aspect of the hole - temptation.   
 
I missed this tour back in 2010, so I'm glad to see it. Looks like there's plenty of adventure on offer.
Loved this comment about the impact of adding yardage. Temptation is far more valuable than scorecard distance.

Joe_Tucholski

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: The Breeze of BORTH & YNYSLAS GC
« Reply #10 on: June 07, 2023, 11:13:38 PM »
Crazy to think but June of 2013 is when I played Borth.  My first overseas golf trip has been tough to top, but I still have vivid memories of the course and hospitality the club showed a kid from overseas.  I was in awe what they did with a green staff of 2. 


The wind beat me up and I was glad the open competition I played in was a Stableford.  The middle holes had the most dramatic landscape.  The only downside was the burger I had after the round, ground beef definitely tastes different over there.  Otherwise it was exactly what I wanted, a fun course, loved by its members who were extremely proud to show it off to a visitor.

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