Relaxed, friendly and unhurried, beautiful surroundings and challenging golf. Four delightful layouts that together offer something to suit every golfer’s taste buds in The Heart of Wales.

Builth Wells is a traditional member’s golf club, a parkland gem with a wildlife packed riverside stretch on the back nine to test your course management skills.

Llandrindod Wells couldn’t be any more of a contrast, an exhilarating golf course designed and played on as nature intended. ‘Upland links’ with spectacular panoramic views of the Welsh countryside.

Cradoc GC comes next, overlooked by the brooding Brecon Beacons, almost the gateway to South Wales, a beautiful gently undulating and highly regarded parkland course.

Then the newest member of the quartet needs no introduction as Heart of Wales Golf Breaks creeps over the border ever so slightly to introduce the near incomparable Kington GC into the mix.

Accommodation details later, for now, here’s a bit more information regarding the golfing on offer.

Builth Wells

Arriving at Builth Wells Golf Club you have truly reached the heart of Wales.  This picturesque riverside location mixes old and new for a quality parkland challenge.

The course was designed as a nine hole track in 1923 and the older opening half is the place to set your score, offering width and generosity, the fast running fairways are garnished attractively with lush green foliage. 

Builth Wells became 18 in 1986 with the addition of a new back nine where scoring opportunities diminish as you come across the meandering River Chewfri.

It presents a picturesque diversion, yet also a redoubtable hazard notably at the 10th where it demands you to cross it twice on the way toward a tight, two tiered green tucked away in the corner with out of bounds lurking.

No par fives at Builth Wells yet the 13th comes closest to one. An undulating test featuring a fairly tight tee shot with out of bounds threatening on the right, then its downhill all the way with a gorgeous looking approach shot to a green surrounded by banking, beware the pond on the left.

MG Pick – 16th 307 yards Par 4 

Classic risk and reward, a gentle dog-leg across the winding river. The choice is to try to cross the water with a big tee shot or lay up and face a very challenging approach, either way, you’ll also need care to avoid getting blocked out by the many tall trees that sit around this hole.

Heart of Wales - Builth

19th Hole

The clubhouse is a Grade II listed building being a converted 15th century Welsh Long House, featuring oak beams, some of which are original. A large bar area and dining room, seating up to 50.

Llandrindod Wells 

A turn of the century hilltop classic that looks over the old spa town, designed by Harry Vardon, and improved by James Braid.

Llandrindod Wells grabs your attention at the very beginning and holds onto it throughout 18 holes of wild and wonderful golfing adventure.

Through links like terrain, governed by the fickle elements, your creativity will be tested and there’s always the threat of a hanging lie or two.

There are no bunkers at Llandrindod Wells, it doesn’t really need them, around the greens there are plenty of humps, hollows and grassy knolls that act as adequate substitutes. The constant feature though is its spectacular setting, marvel at the panoramic views of the town and the surrounding Welsh Hills.

Your best scoring opportunities arise around the turn with the notable exception being a 236 yard par three 10th. Then towards the finish two successive par fives mark the start of an examining closing stretch requiring your very best golf to prosper.

Altogether, an exhilarating journey, boredom won’t ever be an issue and despite what it says on the scorecard and tee boxes, it plays a whole lot longer.

MG Pick – 18th 297 yards Par 4 

Vardon named this hole Death or Glory. An apt title surveying the view from the tee across a deep gully with a 270 yard carry to reach the apron of the green on the other side.

There’s a circle of fairway at the bottom to suit the safer option, which will leave a blind wedged approach, and whichever way you play it there’s a road to cross too. A dramatic closing hole.

Heart of Wales - Llandrindod 2

19th Hole

Practice facilities include a covered and floodlit 8 bay driving range. Inside there’s a conference room in addition to the 70 seater restaurant which boasts yet more outstanding views.

Cradoc Golf Club

Another beautiful location, this time on the edge of the Brecon Beacons which unofficially marks the border to South Wales.

A relatively new course to Wales golf in the 1970s, Cradoc offers a wonderful parkland golfing experience among a wildlife haven of a landscape.

The design gives plenty of opportunities to gaze upon the splendour of your surroundings especially during a simply stunning middle stretch of holes.  

Heart of Wales Cradoc

Despite the rolling nature of the layout it’s not a difficult walk yet it is a really good challenge where your accuracy will be put to the ultimate test.

Tight from the tee with towering firs and pines to negotiate, there’s not a lot of room for error, even less so on approach as the highly regarded putting surfaces, although very receptive are frequently on an elevated level. In addition, the banking around them can be penal and will ask questions over your short game skills.

Among a series of thrills, the tree clad and water threatening tight 8th hole at 278 yards is as spectacular and tantalizing a risk and reward short par four as it is possible to find anywhere.

MG Pick – 12th 150 yards Par 3 

Lovely short holes at Cradoc, this one is a wonderful challenge and typical of the course from its raised tee with the mountains as a very picturesque backdrop. Nowhere else to land other than the green though as the bunkers and trees sit pretty close.

Heart of Wales - Cradoc

19th hole

Modern clubhouse facilities which include an 80 seater restaurant than can be subdivided to accommodate smaller functions. There is also a 10 bay floodlit range onsite and practice areas.

Kington Golf Club 

As mentioned earlier, Kington, in Herefordshire actually sits over the border, only just, and holds the honour of being England’s highest golf course.

A 1926 design and set in glorious National Trust land with a unique resident collection of animal and bird life. The course overlooks the Welsh borders and offers panoramic views of The Brecon Beacons, The Black Mountains and over to the Shropshire and Malvern Hills.

Similarities exist between here and Llandrindod Wells, relatable raw links like terrain with no sand traps in sight and patches of heather and gorse adorning the fairways.

Kington also shares the same free draining soil which allows for reliable all year round playing conditions. It’s a thoroughly enjoyable course, an exciting hilltop trek where no holes play or look the same and each one offers its own challenge to solve.

Pretty much defenceless to the elements, a world of difference exists between a calm day at Kington vs a not so friendly one.

MG Pick, 18th, 283 Yards, Par 4

The finest (realistically) driveable par four anywhere. It shares the same fairway as the uphill 1st so you spend your whole round looking forward to the prospect of driving the green on this delicious finisher with its wonderful backdrop of a view.

Heart of Wales - Kington

Downhill all the way and with a bit of wind behind you, you could even manage it with a long iron or hybrid.  The lie of the fairway is the crucial element, land it on the right spot and you’ll get assistance, holes-in-ones have occurred here.

19th hole

The traditional and welcoming clubhouse has fine views looking over the superb 18th green and back up towards the 18th tee.

Accommodation details

Heart of Wales Golf Breaks offer five options for play and stay trips, to suit all tastes from hotels to self-catering. Full details can be found on the website www.heartofwalesgolfbreaks.co.uk but here’s a brief overview.

METROPOLE HOTEL (pictured below) – Llandrindod Wells – 114 room 4 star hotel in the heart of the spa town.

THE LION HOTEL – Builth Wells – Situated in the town, close to the River Wye – award winning food

GREYHOUND HOTEL – Builth Wells – Family run, friendly pub ambience – listed in the Good Beer Guide!

HIGHLAND MOORS GUEST HOUSE – Llandrindod Wells – 30 bedrooms, catering for groups up to 30, stunning location

PWLLGWILYM COTTAGES & B&B – Rural, near Builth Wells – Away from it all self-catering cottages sleeping from 4-7, including hot tubs and full Welsh breakfasts on site.

Give Catherine a call for full details and 2021 offers to visit the Heart of Wales – 01597 828598

MG View

Having visited a few times over the years we’re always struck by not just the fabulous location and landscapes at all of the clubs, but also the exceptional variety of golf on offer. Heart of Wales caters for all tastes, this is a criminally underrated area of golfing excellence that must be sampled if you haven’t already.

METROPOLE HOTEL - Llandrindod wells