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  • Paul Graham-Fielding


Physically challenging, mentally testing and utterly beautiful.

Set in the foothills of the Brecon Beacons, and just 24 miles north of Cardiff, Morlais Castle Golf Club is in an idyllic location. Built in 1270 by Gilbert de Clare, Earl of Gloucester and Lord of Glamorgan the course is wrapped around the remains of Morlais Castle, and the ruins are a prominent feature of the stunning 18-hole course.

The course is a tale of two halves, the opening 9-holes are built into an old quarry, whereas the back nine poses a different challenge as the holes are rolled out and exposed on rich moorland.

Due to this phenomenal design, you will have to be able to adapt your game to the changing environment and to make a good score you will find yourself having to play every shot in the book. Weather conditions play a huge part in your round, when the sun beats down on the Breacon park landscape, the course’s undulations take a physical toll, and when you’re playing in the latter months of the year the wind and rain force a complete change of course management.

If you’re a newcomer to the Morlais Castle you’ll need to take it easy through the opening few holes, it’s easy to lose a few sleeves if you’re taking out the big stick and hoping to find a fairway. Slow and steady wins the race here. Many of the tee shots are blind and consist of fall away fairways, or doglegs to the left and right. They’re a wonderful test of a golfer’s courage and are thoroughly rewarding when you hit the right spots.

In comparison to the front 9 holes, the latter 9 take a much easier toll on the body, and you get a lot more chance to bring the driver in to play

The walk between each and any shot of the course is a thoroughly pleasant one, even in the rough you’ll find it hard not to smile at the surrounding beauty. The remains of what once was Morlais Castle, runs along the right hand side of the third fairway and overlooks the border between Brecon and Glamorgan, before the 4th hole drops away from an elevated tee box. You’ll probably need to catch your breath after each shot when you have braved the many troughs and peaks of the front 9.

In comparison to the front 9 holes, the latter 9 take a much easier toll on the body, and you get a lot more chance to bring the driver in to play. The 10th hole appears narrow but opens up, a strong drive will carry you over a crest and runs down to an inviting green. A nice opportunity to start the back nine with a par.

A short downhill par three follows before you can get the driver out again to carry yourself up the climbing 12th fairway. This then brings you to a part of the course where the undulations lessen but the holes still provide a good challenge.

The 17th is a tricky wall lined uphill par three, you need to be sure to aim for the back of the green to avoid the front lip that will carry you back down to the fairway. The 18th is a lovely finish hole, it’s set up for a par or birdie finish with two good strikes, wonder right and you’ll be caught by trees blocking your approach.

Roll off the 18th in a wonderfully warm and friendly atmosphere. A modern clubhouse encompasses a pleasant outdoor area next to the course practice facilities. Good food and drink top off a wonderful golfing experience.

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