Pyle and Kenfig Golf Club was formed by the golfers of the Newton Nottage Golf Club, a club itself formed in 1919, the nine hole P & K course was opened Saturday 29th July 1922.
An inaugural luncheon was held at which Mr.T.C. Graham, Captain of Royal Porthcawl Golf Club announced he would present a trophy for a matchplay competition off handicap. This trophy 'The Graham Bowl' is the oldest trophy in the club and is still contested for today. It is one of our three'major' trophies.
An Exhibition match was played following that lunch between H.R.Howell of Penarth (Welsh Amateur Champion) partnered by John Duncan a former holder of the Welsh Amateur trophy with the opposition being two players from the professional ranks W.B.Lewis the club professional and partnered by Percy Allis (father of Peter) who at the time was the Clyne Golf Club Professional. The result sadly is not recorded. The course consisted of nine holes with a par of 38. The course record of a three under par 35 being held by Mr. E.C. Rowe.
By 1925 the course was a full 18 holes and was entirely different from the course we know today, the road which presently divides the course today did not exist as such although there was what can be best described as a cart track running from Nottage village to Ton Kenfig.
Two of the best players of the day George Duncan and Arthur Havers played the Pyle and Kenfig course in 1926 and expressed their opinion that the course had great potential, this being only four years after the course was established. Harry Colt one of golfs greatest course architects on seeing Waun y Mer common for the first time evinced the opinion that the site was admirably suited to the laying out of a golf course, and his design is incorporated in much of the present course.
You will be astounded to see how many great courses Harry Colt had a hand in designing or re designing.
Interesting lack of bunkers on the eleventh which was known back in the fifties and sixties as 'The Valley'
The course remained relatively unchanged until June 1939 when the Glamorgan County Council started to widen the the cart track and in doing so encroached on land the club leased, objections were made but with the outbreak of war the objections were withdrawn. This did not stop the armed forces commandeering the 16th fairway and the land forming the dog leg on 15(A) fairway. Be warned - a landmine was discovered on the 13th fairway in October 1996 whilst vertidraining was taking place, the 'device' was casually thrown into the back of the cushman being used by Paul our then head greenkeeper. Later having been informed of the potential danger of the device it was subject of a controlled explosion - the device that is and not Paul.
At the conclusion of hostilities and the vacation of the land by the army compensation to the amount of £938. 13s 2d was negotiated. £72 15s 8d of this money was used to pay for the services of another great golf course architect P. Mackenzie Ross who designed the current back nine in 1947 by adding holes 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 and the restoration of 16. Mackenzie Ross described the whole area "...as a veritable golfers paradise".
In 2010 one of our most erstwhile members Mr. Colin Wood was tasked to go through old paperwork and to everyone's astonishment he recovered documents going back to 1924, more importantly he recovered the original letter from Mackenzie Ross to the golf club. Mackenzie Ross indeed used the words Veritable golfing paradise - that was somewhat paraphrased. Below is an exact excerpt from the original letter.
“Here you have a golfing PARADISE. If I were to set forth all that I thought of this new ground I might be accused of gross exaggeration. I will be content therefore to state that I have played on and studied nearly all the famous courses and links in Britain and Ireland and the Continent, as well as many in America and Canada, and I have seen no finer golfing country.”
Mackenzie Ross Golf Course Architect.
36 Murrayfield Avenue, Edinburgh, Scotland. 5th July 1946.
The construction of the 'A' holes first mooted in 1956 were completed in 1983. It was the club members who were largely responsible for the design of these holes and a former club champion (Twelve times) P.W.Evans was the prime mover of the layout design. With the addition of the six 'A' holes we may well be the only 23 hole course in the world. These five holes are used to promote junior golf and form part of our junior academy, they are also used during the winter months to allow the championship holes from 11 through to 15 to occasionally rest and be conditioned for the competition months.
Over the years the championship status of the course has been enhanced by being recognised by golfs governing bodies for the hosting and co hosting of their various championships. These include the early rounds of the Amateur championship twice, with our neighbours Royal Porthcawl Golf Club hosting the final matchplay rounds. The Home Internationals - you may recall a young Irish amateur by the name of McIlroy. During the 2009 season the club was honoured to host the Senior Ladies British Open Amateur Championship in September under the guidance of the L.G.U. For more info click here. With Vicki Thomas of Carmarthen becoming the eventual Champion.
Pyle and Kenfig Golf Clubs course provides a real challenge for golfers of all ability and with the prevailing winds can turn a relatively sublime mornings golf into an attritional experience when the wind picks up in the afternoon or when the tides are turning. The road that passes through the course has over the years been problematical with balls hit of the 1st tee with a hook going out of bounds over the road and a similarly struck shot on the closing 18th going out of bounds. To combat the Health and safety issues with balls potentially striking vehicles or persons on the road the 18th fairway has recently been moved away from the roadside and is now more of a dog leg forcing players away from the road thereby lessening the potential for mishaps, to help you three strategically placed bunkers known as the 'telly tubbies' have been placed on the left hand side. Most recently the 16th hole par four has been lengthened by about thirty yards to prevent balls from the tee coming close to persons using the right of way that cuts across the fairway. This new tee is now in full use.