Nefyn Golf Club

Words by: James Wilson
Photography by:Ollie Allison & Harvey Jamison

The British Summer is fashionably late. That's a problem, because we’re in North Wales, not known for its tropical climate at the best of times, to shoot a new pair of sunglasses created in collaboration with Spektrum.

The frame is made from a bio-based, ultra-lightweight polyamide, fitted with a world class UV scratch resistant lens, and it's pissing down.

We arrived in Porthmadog the night before. A town of 2000 people at the gateway to the Llyn peninsula. The name leaves little to be desired, but the reality is a quaint fishing village (Port + Madocks: an 18th century landowner and politician) that offers an access point to some of the UK’s lesser known golfing gems.

We’re on our way to Nefyn Golf Club, also known as “the Pebble Beach of Wales”. Golf was first played at Nefyn in 1907, 12 years before they’d graced the links at Pebble. “More like Pebble Beach is the Nefyn of California”, I mutter to myself.

The sky is grey and the angle of the trees on the driveway casts an eerie silence through the car. The rain subsides, but there’s a trade off. We open our car doors tentatively and, like an astronaut performing a moon landing, slowly find our feet on the tarmac car park. A westerly gale force pins us to the car door.

But ours is a team of links-hardened adventurers. The MANORS styling department had the sense of humour to pack shorts and so like a war rationed family, we distribute what little clothes we have to the weak (the Londoners) and let the strong (the Northerners) venture forth with their milk pins on show.

Last night, the team circulated flyovers of the golf course in the group chat. We know 9 of the 27 holes at Nefyn rest aboard a sprawling peninsula of rock stretching over 1km into the sloe black Irish Sea. Hiding in a sandy cove along the finger of stone is, reportedly, the 3rd best beach bar in the entire world.

But for all of its epic build up, the opening tee shot is a little ambiguous. A sliver of fairway is truncated at the 220 yard mark by a dense thicket of gorse and knee high grass that extends uphill to a blind summit, obscuring the epic landscape beyond. Playing directly into the gale force westerly, the group fires ball after ball into the Welsh wilderness. Concern washes over us. Battling to drown out the white noise Ashley shouts ‘if we put the sunglasses on, the sun will come out, right?’

We ascend along the winding cliff edge to the 4th tee, our bodies loosening while the clouds above flirt with dispersion. Port-side now, on the mid-point of the narrow peninsula, the signature hole comes into focus. We release our bags onto the tee and catch our breaths. To the left is a cavernous drop. At its base, waves crash into an angular deep grey monolith slowly advancing out of the turbulent water. The rock face extends 500 yards into the distance before swooping around the head of the peninsula where a rickety life guard’s hut perches tentatively on the cliff edge.

The final 4 holes guide us back to civilisation. The weather calms as we reach the protection of the mainland where a short uphill par 4 completes our round. The course is closed now, in fact we had the final tee time at 10am. This area of cut grass with flags in it is really a hikers path that leads you to the beaches dotted along the peninsula. We were just borrowing it for a couple of hours, but our time is up.

They’re flocking there now, past the 18th green along the dirt path. We’re obliged to get a pint at the 3rd best beach bar in the world for journalistic purposes (something Pebble Beach cannot offer).

The sun is bright as we reach the infamous cove where Ty Coch Inn nestles against the cliff on the wind protected side of the peninsula. Away from the elements the sun takes charge. Fishing boats bob in the glistening bay, families build sandcastles and relax on the crisp sand.

We shed our layers, order a round of beers and sausage rolls and thank goodness for our protected eyes. Summer has arrived.