- Neil White
Updated: Oct 31, 2022
"Is that an electric current?", yelped our pal after she had inadvertently placed her hand on the wire which protects the greens at Pennard.
The cattle which are given a shock to dissuade them from eating the grass on the putting surfaces were sensibly in hiding after a deluge as we drove to this handsome spot in South Wales.
However, we were not to be so easily daunted.
Walkers and golfers alike will testify to the gorgeous outlook into Swansea Bay from Pennard Golf Club.
We didn't want to pass up a long-delayed fourball after I won a charity auction last year so, hail or shine, we were determined to carry on.
This was arranged through a most helpful general manager and his positivity clearly rubbed off in the pro's shop where the welcome was warm.
Indeed, we were allowed to go out an hour earlier than our booked tee time in an effort to avoid as much rain as possible.
From the start, it is clear that Pennard is very different to any course we had previously encountered.
This is a raw track with fairways punctuated by animal droppings and scrapings but greens that are among the best in the UK at this time of year.
Every hole is a challenge - although the first couple, a straight par-four and short par-three give just a taster of some of the difficulties to come.
The par-fives are the hallmark of Pennard and the fourth hole is typical of them - with a tricky tee shot to an undulating fairway. Bunkers then await those who are errant on the right before an approach to a sloping green, partially hidden by a deep sand trap.
One of Pennard's unique features is that a ruined castle and church are part of the course and the seventh hole is a par-four which is played between them.
For me, the ninth is the pick of the opening half - a par-four towards the clubhouse, demanding three accurate strikes before the ascent to a plateaued green. A score here would be very well-earned.
While, the first half excites, the home nine raises the bar even further..
The dogleg 10th sets the tone with its rugged terrain before rising to a green on top of a steep bank.
Distance judgment is essential at Pennard to avoid the ignominious sight of an approach rolling back towards the player. My experience on this hole proved the point.
The 11th is a very tough par-three into a valley before a short par-four 12th with its devilish run-off down the right-hand side.
But, as the scenery becomes more beguiling, the holes at Pennard become even more testing.
The rain had descended in stair-rods by the time we arrived at the 13th tee and faced a long par-three whose slippery green defeated all of us.
Fortunately, the storm abated and the rest of the round could be enjoyed to its full extent. Just as well, because the final three offer a head-spinning run-in.
Special mention should be made of the 16th a curving par-five with a spectacular cliffside backdrop. I could have stood on that green and stared out to sea for an age.
The 17th is a remarkable hole, with a narrow fairway weaving its way through gorse to a hidden green.
And the 18th is a long par-four leaning from right to left. A hefty tee shot and fairway wood were not enough for me to reach the green.
It was the climax of a truly spectacular round which was well worth the long drive.
And to top it off, the menu in the clubhouse is varied (my braised beef was delicious) and presented by an enthusiastic bar team.