Perhaps a small step toward landing its first ever Open Championship, Royal Porthcawl Golf Club has been awarded the 2014 Senior British Open Championship.
Ever since Wales landed the 2010 Ryder Cup Matches, more focus has been put on this historic links course a few miles down the road from Celtic Manor. Few links have benefited greater than Porthcawl as Wales' exposure to the world has grown. It's with good reason. For my money, Porthcawl is as fine of a links test as almost anything you'll play in Scotland. The green complexes, filled with pot bunkers both enormous and tiny can surely cause havoc to the best players in the world.
Even better for the golf traveler, it's one of the most scenic links courses in the British Isles. The first three holes play right beside the beach and the sea is in view from every hole.
In recent years, here have been murmurs about whether Porthcawl could be a fitting Open Championship host in the near future as Wales aggressively markets its golf product to a global audience. Course alterations have been made to the links in recent years, and the south coast's tourism infrastructure continues to improve.
With all the recent talk of Northern Ireland, you'd have to wonder who would be more fitting to be added to the rota: Royal Portrush or Royal Porthcawl. In my view, it's a dead heat.
Said First Minister of Wales Carwyn Jones, speaking at Royal Porthcawl:
“We have already proven that Wales can host top quality, international golf events. We have the facilities, the venues, the infrastructure and, most importantly, the welcome that all add up to us being a great host country.”
Also announced this week is that the Wales Senior Open will return to the European Senior Tour at a lesser-known links in north Wales, Conwy Golf Club. I played it a few years back during one of my three tours in Wales, and it's a bunker-filled, narrow test of golf. It's a medal links worth including if you're up in the north part of the country playing Aberdovey and the spectacular, albeit quirky Nefyn & District.