Tenby is like a favorite aunt, distinguished, elderly, and a really good sport. Its 18 holes—sitting on springy turf on The Burrows that adjoin the walled town overlooking Carmarthen Bay—give it a special place among seaside courses that lie within a short walk of a town.
Tenby is not unique but certainly unusual in the matter-of-fact way its holes are named. The 4th is The Bell because that is what you ring when you leave the green; the 6th is Lifter’s Cottage because it was the home of the operators of the railway crossing gates; the 18th is known as Charlie’s Whiskers because humps near the green were designed by Dr. Charles Mathias, a local member between the first and second wars.
At just over 6,500 yards from the back tees, the course is short by modern standards, narrow in places, with very few bunkers and firm, fast greens. Its sea views are glorious. A sign of the course’s age is that its tees are very close to its greens, as at the Old Course at St. Andrews.
What Tenby lacks in length it has in difficulty. Try playing the par-three 12th in an on-shore wind or the 18th when you’re going well in a medal round and keen not to think of the wall down the left. It was rightly described by a visitor as “a terrier of a links—small but with plenty of fight.”
Founded in 1888, Tenby is the oldest affiliated club in Wales. But at age 128, it’s still going strong.