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