News:

This discussion group is best enjoyed using Google Chrome, Firefox or Safari.


Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Saucy SOUTHERNDOWN GC
« on: August 14, 2023, 04:51:49 PM »
One Willie Fernie, not the Willie Fernie, originally designed Southerndown GC in 1906 over a vast limestone outcrop which rises some 200 feet above the Bristol Channel. Off in the distance the meandering River Ogmore trickles its way between the village of Ogmore and the dunes of Merthyr Mawr Nature Reserve. The cliffs of the Glamorgan Heritage Coast toward Southerndown expose the limestone that lies beneath the golf course. Southerndown is a refreshing location!

The Fernie course didn’t last long, however, it is thought 1, 2, 4 & 16 plus a few odd greens remain by his hand. It was rather obvious that its 6900 yards was a beast…and this was Herbert Fowler’s opinion, a man not afraid to build courses with some length. Fowler completed some changes in 1908, but some of the details are not known.  It would seem the club wasn’t quite satisfied with Fowler’s work. Willie Park Jr was called in for his two cents and only the 10th remains as Fowler left it. Park’s 1913-14 works seem to have had a lasting impression; 7, 8, 15, 17 & 18 are still standing. The length of the course was down to about 6300 yards. Perhaps more importantly, the routing Park Jr left is essentially the course we play today. Still, Southerndown was considered brutal and took too long to play. Colt made his revisions soon after WWI. He reduced the bunkering to 126! I think there are about 90 bunkers today. There are also six greens attributed to Colt, which include 13 & 14, holes thought to be all Colt. So, we have a true hodge podge design which works fantastically well.

The only serious reservation I have is the opener. It rather reminds me of Painswick's 1st and Dornoch's 16th. We shall hurry to the second, arguably the best hole on the course. At over 400 yards, into a 30 mph gale there was no chance of reaching the green in two. On great holes, thank goodness the game is about much more than reaching the green in regulation. There is a string of bunkers cutting off what feels like the correct route.


If the first line of defense is negotiated, reserve trouble awaits.




This is the gap of salvation. Blind and barely the width of a country lane.


Three takes us away from the edge of the property. Not a bad hole. Back into the wind for 4. The fairway seems plenty wide, but we all struggled to keep our ball in play down the left. The firm sloping fairways were often too much to cope with in the wind we had. Thank goodness a load of ferns and gorse have been removed since the days I used to play Southerndown fairly often.


Another tricky approach for this 400+ yarder.


Our first short hole and it is outstanding. The angled green is set perfectly over a great chasm.


Behind the green with the impressive property in the background. 


More to follow.

Ciao
« Last Edit: October 24, 2023, 03:07:47 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2024: Fraserburgh, Ashridge, Kennemer, de Pan, Eindhoven, Hilversumche, Royal Ostend, Alnmouth & Cruden Bay St Olaf

Brian Finn

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Saucy SOUTHERNDOWN GC:1-5
« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2023, 12:58:43 PM »
Looking forward to this thread continuing.  We played Southerndown on a windy, misty morning last week.  Our group universally enjoyed the course, with a few people preferring it to "higher rated" courses in the area.  Among the holes shown so far by Sean, the 2nd is an outstanding hole, and the 5th is a very strong par 3 (as were all of the short holes).  We played in much greener conditions, following all of the recent rain, so it is interesting to contrast Sean's photos with my own. 
New for '24: Monifieth (Medal & Ashludie), Montrose (1562 & Broomfield), Panmure, Carnoustie (Championship, Burnside, & Buddon), Scotscraig, Kingsbarns, Elie, Dumbarnie, Lundin, Belvedere, The Loop (Red & Black), Forest Dunes, Arcadia Bluffs (South & Bluffs)...

John Mayhugh

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Saucy SOUTHERNDOWN GC:1-5
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2023, 08:02:23 PM »
Really looking forward to this tour. I played Southerndown post-Buda in 2010 (can't believe it's been that long) and it was a surprise hit for me. Some great views and a course with lots of interest. The 2nd is a fine challenge with the slope of the fairway from left to right when the approach is also easier from the left side. Also a wonderful green site.

I was really fascinated by the bumps on some of the holes - such as short of the green on 5. Wasn't sure what to make of those, but definitely add some randomness to short game shots if you miss the green.

I detest photobucket for watermarking these old photos, but man did I play a greener course than Sean did.

https://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,47489.0.html

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Saucy SOUTHERNDOWN GC:1-5
« Reply #3 on: August 26, 2023, 05:26:56 AM »
Southerndown Tour Cont

Back up the hill for the 6th, a short three shotter. From the tee there looks to be no place to hit driver, which is pretty much the case if one can't carry the bunkers.


This is the fairway gap if the drive can be shaped to the right.


 

The 7th is an alluring short hole.
 

Wonderful use of the terrain.
 

Basic fairway bunker on the 8th livened up with planting.


The bunker theme is carried through near the green and elsewhere.


One of my favourite drives at Southerndown. Gorse forms the boundaries on 9, yet only impedes play for the aggressive drive up the left. 


A tough hole location in a strong wind.


More to follow.

Ciao
« Last Edit: October 24, 2023, 03:14:52 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2024: Fraserburgh, Ashridge, Kennemer, de Pan, Eindhoven, Hilversumche, Royal Ostend, Alnmouth & Cruden Bay St Olaf

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Saucy SOUTHERNDOWN GC:1-9
« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2023, 04:01:21 PM »
Southerndown Tour Cont

Another beautiful short hole...10. The slope to the left is quite pronounced.


I found 11 tricky if only because I couldn't see where the trouble was in the fairway. In these conditions the bunkers are effectively in the middle of the corridor.


The variation of holes is outstanding. 12 sling hooks to the left. It is easy to be left with a blind second over gorse.


A par 5, yet the 13th is not difficult to reach even if laying up.


The 14th has obviously been altered around the green, but its good regardless.


The carry distance is deceiving.


More to follow.

Ciao
« Last Edit: September 08, 2023, 02:20:08 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2024: Fraserburgh, Ashridge, Kennemer, de Pan, Eindhoven, Hilversumche, Royal Ostend, Alnmouth & Cruden Bay St Olaf

Jason Topp

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Saucy SOUTHERNDOWN GC:1-14
« Reply #5 on: September 08, 2023, 11:52:54 AM »
When we visited in 2010 at the same time as the Porthcawl/Penard Buda, we started in front of a women's Ryder Cup club event.  They had gone all out - dressing in US and Europe colors.  We had no chance of staying ahead of the competition so stopped at a tent to let all the groups through.  They fed us sherry and Welsh cakes while we waited.  Everyone was so excited for the Ryder Cup which was nearly a month away.


The wait flew by quickly and we never saw the back of the competition thereafter.  (I hope they were playing foursomes!). 


I remember that wait and the pleasant atmosphere at Southerndown as much as I do the golf on that trip (which was wonderful).

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Saucy SOUTHERNDOWN GC:1-14
« Reply #6 on: September 10, 2023, 10:27:38 AM »
Southerndown Tour Cont

As seemingly straight-ahead par four, the 15th struck me as a sheep in wolf's clothing. The fairway looks wide and is, but it narrows considerably for modest hitters on the left and on the right for those trying to get close to the green.


Bunkers well short of the green.


The landing pocket in firm conditions.


A closer look...not much space.


Another tough hole, the 16th green tilts as much as the 10th to the rear. I am somewhat surprised 10 & 16 aren't a double green. 


More to follow.

Ciao
« Last Edit: October 24, 2023, 03:17:11 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2024: Fraserburgh, Ashridge, Kennemer, de Pan, Eindhoven, Hilversumche, Royal Ostend, Alnmouth & Cruden Bay St Olaf

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Saucy SOUTHERNDOWN GC:1-16
« Reply #7 on: September 11, 2023, 11:27:24 AM »
Southerndown Tour Cont

It may seem like the best should be behind us, but the final two holes are better than good. Another great example of the club welcoming nature into the course. Southerndown may be the best example of this I have seen since Kington. Both courses have blurred lines as to where the course ends and nature takes over. This is a very different style of presentation to nearby Porthcawl.


Hitting driver leaves the result in the lap of the gods...there is no certain outcome.




The home hole has a demanding drive. The split fairway resolves the sloping terrain issue!


The long, uphill approach is a bit more accomodating. It is possible to work shots around the bunker.


Some happy golfers.


The unusual upstairs lockeroom is reminiscent of Wallasey. Honour boards are a classy touch.


Wow. I have always thought highly of Southerndown. Yet, long breaks can lead to out of sight of mind opinions. That won't happen again. Southerndown is the biggest surprise replay of the year to date.  Folks should be arriving in droves to play Southerndown at the greenfee it charges....its one of the best bargains in GB&I.  1* 2023

Ciao
« Last Edit: September 19, 2023, 08:43:16 PM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2024: Fraserburgh, Ashridge, Kennemer, de Pan, Eindhoven, Hilversumche, Royal Ostend, Alnmouth & Cruden Bay St Olaf

Josh Bills

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Saucy SOUTHERNDOWN GC
« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2023, 12:03:13 PM »


Love Rountree's watercolor of this hole, so simple.  Would love to see the original to see the detail. 



Thomas Dai

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Saucy SOUTHERNDOWN GC
« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2023, 01:54:21 PM »
Thanks for the tour. The comparison to Kington is a very valid one. Blurred lines, nibbling sheep etc. I know some who consider Southerndown to be the best course in Wales. And I wouldn’t disagree with them.
Atb

Brett Meyer

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Saucy SOUTHERNDOWN GC
« Reply #10 on: September 11, 2023, 07:14:09 PM »
Southerndown was my third choice for a second far-west England/south Wales course to play (after Pennard) when I couldn't play Kington on my available day and Royal Porthcawl was a bit too expensive.

I don't know what I would have thought of Kington or Royal Porthcawl, but I'm really glad that I played Southerndown. It struck me as one of the soundest courses in south Wales/southwest England. While I didn't think there were too many great holes (2 and 7 for sure, maybe 5) and a lot of the par 4s seemed kind of similar, I was impressed by how strong a test of golf it was. We had some wind from the west, but nothing too strong. Still, it was a very challenging test of driving with well-placed (but not excessive) fairway bunkers and a lot of gorse that would be avoidable if you hit the ball solidly...which is of course not easy to do when the wind is blowing. 

I also found the greens to be quite good, especially the deep, narrow green on the par 3 14th. The only drawback was that it was probably the shi**iest course I played, I think even outdoing Cleeve Hill. But (1) that has a charm to it, especially if you're used to playing American golf courses. And (2), I'd rather dodge usually-dry sheep shi* than the multi-colored, moist stuff left by the far-less-pleasant Canadian Geese on some of marshy courses I'm used to playing back in southeast Michigan.

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Saucy SOUTHERNDOWN GC
« Reply #11 on: September 12, 2023, 04:20:33 AM »
A ton of really good holes and three great ones...one of which is an All Wales candidate...makes for a great course.

Ciao
New plays planned for 2024: Fraserburgh, Ashridge, Kennemer, de Pan, Eindhoven, Hilversumche, Royal Ostend, Alnmouth & Cruden Bay St Olaf

Ian Andrew

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Saucy SOUTHERNDOWN GC
« Reply #12 on: September 12, 2023, 09:54:44 PM »
When we did our tour of Wales, I really thought that was the second best course on the trip. It was a personal favourite to me, since I really liked the "links in the sky" aspect of the course. The opening loop of holes (once on top) is awesome (and we repeated that first loop a second time just because it was so damn good before continuing on). The 2nd is incredible and 5th stands out too, but as you've shared, there are lots of holes I loved along the way including the quirky finisher to enjoy. Great golf.

Change is good.

Richard Fisher

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Saucy SOUTHERNDOWN GC
« Reply #13 on: September 15, 2023, 04:03:44 AM »
Many thanks, as ever, Sean. Fab tour and totally with you on the great merits of Southerndown (as was Frank Pennink), both course and clubhouse: a few years ago we even discovered the club was selling Cloudy Bay sauv blanc at cost...! A heretical view on GCA I know but I would play Southerndown in preference to everywhere else in S Wales save Porthcawl.

Niall C

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Saucy SOUTHERNDOWN GC
« Reply #14 on: September 21, 2023, 05:33:27 AM »
I was on the trip with Sean and was a newbie to golf in that part of the world. For me, Southerndown was the standout and good to see that I'm not alone in that opinion. A terrific course.


Niall

John Mayhugh

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Saucy SOUTHERNDOWN GC
« Reply #15 on: September 21, 2023, 07:30:18 AM »
Sean,
Thanks for this reminder of how good Southerndown is. Seeing these made me wish I had found a way to get there during the Buda trip. Sigh.

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Saucy SOUTHERNDOWN GC New
« Reply #16 on: November 19, 2023, 05:06:19 AM »
Many thanks, as ever, Sean. Fab tour and totally with you on the great merits of Southerndown (as was Frank Pennink), both course and clubhouse: a few years ago we even discovered the club was selling Cloudy Bay sauv blanc at cost...! A heretical view on GCA I know but I would play Southerndown in preference to everywhere else in S Wales save Porthcawl.

I played Pennard on a separate trip this year and it clearly tops S’down for me. The club has done a ton of work on fairways and new bunkering on the down low. Using the criteria I was given for a recent ranking; there was nothing between Pennard and your beloved P’cawl.

Ciao
« Last Edit: November 20, 2023, 02:42:20 PM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2024: Fraserburgh, Ashridge, Kennemer, de Pan, Eindhoven, Hilversumche, Royal Ostend, Alnmouth & Cruden Bay St Olaf

Tags:
Tags:

An Error Has Occurred!

Call to undefined function theme_linktree()
Back