CONWY, Wales -- The rain came almost as suddenly as we put the van in park. Before we could decide if we should go into the clubhouse, it really started to pour. Welcome to Wales.
Fresh off an Orlando-to-Manchester direct flight and a slightly harrowing journey down roads unaccommodating a larger vehicle, four of us arrived at Conwy Golf Club in North Wales.
Rain? Check. Cold? Check. Wind? Check. Away we go.
We donned our rain gear, scarfed down a bacon sandwich and headed out to the first tee, sans range balls or practice putts. The first hole, a par 4, had out of bounds to the right. Needless to say, I hits a rope hook, ending up in the fairway of the adjacent hole.
But, I salvaged par. Then did so on the next hole. And the next. Not a bad start for a 9-handicap with a tight back and no warmup.
The rain quickly cleared and the sun emerged. By the end of the day my face and balding head, which were uncovered, were sun burned and wind whipped.
Walking 18 holes for the first time in a year was a reminder of how enjoyable it can be. While the course was plenty busy there was rarely a wait and we finished in less than four hours. It would be nice if that was more of an option in the U.S., at least when it’s not 102 degrees F.
We played the course from the yellow tees at just under 6,400 yards and a par 72. The back tees were listed at 6,936.
A lot of the front nine looked similar, which could be because there were six par 4s in the first eight holes. The first par 5 wasn’t until the ninth, the beginning of four in a six-hole stretch.
The landscape of the course was intriguing. On one hole, like the par-3 sixth, you were staring at mountains and on the next, the par-4 seventh, you’re beachside.
The best thing about the course, aside from its physical attractiveness, was its fairness. There were birdie opportunities (of which I made none), and plenty of chances for par (of which I made 11). And, if you got into the wrong spot, double bogey was in play (of which I made 3). Added up, it made for a 10-over 82. A pretty good start to a weekend of four courses in three-days.
It was a wonderful walk and an enjoyable test, a course that would reward good shots and not overly punish mediocre ones (of which there were plenty).