Wales & SW England: Golf’s Road Less Travelled (Part 3)
Pyle & Kenfig, known affectionately to the locals as P&K, was the perfect start to a golf trip focused on true links courses. The road from Porthcawl bisects the golf course, with the front nine on the side of the road furthest from the sea. This nine has more room to play as it trundles up and over the side of a hilly area. Given that we were stiff from the long journey, had no warm up and the weather was not co-operating, we pretty much used all of that room … and then some!
It was great to get re-acquainted with the unique features of links golf such as the firmer turf and stacked sod bunkering before we crossed the road because once we did, two things happened: the course got tougher and the weather got worse. Perhaps the increasing wind and rain played into our minds as we felt the fairways getting narrower on the 10th. But more likely it was the large dunes entering into view on the 11th. Prior to this hole the course was pretty good. Starting here through the finish, it became magnificent. Game on! Around the dunes, over dunes, through the dunes, I cannot say enough about this stretch of P&K. In the midst of this golfing bliss, one more unfortunate thing happened rather suddenly. After putting out on the 15th, Lucky Lew’s back finally gave out. Thankfully, Hutchie had requested a buggy because of his bad feet, and was able to ferry our boy Lucky back to the clubhouse quickly as Billy and I trudged on through the ever increasing wind and rain for the final three holes. Cool had become cold and the quality of our golf suffered as a result. Nonetheless, we were very happy with our choice of course.
We arrived back at the car park and noticed that our infirm had hastily stuffed their belongings in the minivan and made themselves scarce. No doubt what happened, so we first looked in the clubhouse bar, where we found them comfortably imbibing a few pints and schmoozing a few of the locals. A friendly bunch, we discovered they were. As in most small towns in the UK, Americans are rare enough that it begs the occasional inquiry. And I think at times we’ve benefitted from their tolerance too. We were directed to a local eatery that was warm & welcoming. After a fine meal and a couple more pints, we drove back to the Atlantic Hotel in Porthcawl, which would serve as our base for this first half of the trip. Another good choice as it included a good restaurant and pub on the premises. But exactly what the hell were we going to do about Lucky Lew?
Next up: Porthcawl & Southerndown
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