Setting up Golf In Llandilo by Euros Rees and David Pegram
The first meeting regarding the formation of Llandilo Golf Club was convened at the Cawdor Arms Hotel on Thursday, December 30th, 1909 for the purpose of considering the desirability of forming a golf club.
At a meeting at the Cawdor Arms Hotel, Llandilo, the Rev. Robert Williams, M.A., Vicar of Llandilo Fawr, presiding, it was unanimously agreed to form a golf club.
The services of a professional were to be immediately engaged, and it was is hoped to have an interesting opening day, when well known golfers would be engaged. The proposed links, to be known as Pantau, were situated about a mile and a half from the town of Llandilo, near Trychgrug, in the direction of the Black Mountain, overlooking the beautiful valley of the Towy.
A meeting on 8th May, 1912, resolved that the par for the course be 85. However, just over a month later on 14th June, it was resolved to reduce the par to 83 and to add two shots to handicaps already declared!
The old Llandeilo clubhouse was a 1914 Army shed, purchased from somewhere in Pembrokeshire, which was dismantled and re-erected in Llandeilo with very bare changing rooms. It’s only advantage was that it was conveniently situated outside the 9th green, the old Llandeilo being a 9 hole course. Those who remember it will agree to the overall beauty of the setting, situated as it was to the south of the river with magnificent views over the valley and towards Llandeilo. Few regarded the undulating course as particularly challenging, but it suited the requirements of the time, that is, for a beginners course where a par was possible on every hole.
There was a very homely and friendly attitude at the old Llandeilo club with a strong sense of camaraderie. Membership was approximately £15, expensive at the time, but very good value for money. The quality of golf improved in proportion to the improvements made to the course, which was largely due to the efforts not only of Don Langley, but also to a very hard working committee. Consequently, a number of players became recognised as being highly proficient not only within the club, but also on the Welsh golfing scene, these included individuals such as Hugh Richards, Arthur Bevan, Brian Thomas, Jack Priestland, Bill Llewellyn, Eurof Rees and T. B. Jones.
Glynhir – “The Early Years” By Graham Davies
Despite all these efforts and improvements of the old course at Llandilo, it was clear by the mid-sixties that the course was still inferior in comparison to others in West Wales. In addition, the farmer who owned the course made it known that he would have to increase the rent. This proved to be a serious financial body blow, since the increase was substantial. Committee members advocated a move, but there did not seem to be an obvious alternative. Several sites were proposed, including a location on the Betws mountain, and this was a time of genuine turmoil for the Committee and prominent members. Then, Mrs Eirlys Langley heard that Glynhir farm was on the market. The Committee decided to investigate and thought that it had possibilities. Eventually the decision was made to go ahead with the purchase. Hawtree & Son were appointed as course architects, and the Sports Turf Research Institute, Bingley were brought in as consultants.
Glynhir Uchaf Farm – as purchased in 1967.
The first visit to Glynhir Farm was not encouraging. The Farmhouse was dilapidated, and the surrounding land did not fill us with optimism, and yet there was clearly a great deal of potential. Fronting the main outbuilding was a barn, with a corrugated iron door hanging on one hinge, an uneven earth floor, and in one corner garaging for a small tractor. We eventually located the farmer watching television in the cowshed!
Glynhir Uchaf Farm – as purchased in 1967.
A Golf Architect, Mr Fred W. Hawtree, who had a world-wide reputation, agreed to act on behalf of the Club. Don Langley reported on the Hawtree visit which was very encouraging, for the architect saw no great problem in obtaining planning permission. A very good golf course of approximately 5,900-6,000 yards, with a bogey of 69 and SS 68, would result. The 18 holes would be very interesting with plenty of variety, good length holes and no steep climbs. He also suggested that the 10th – 18th holes should be the first to be constructed, and a plan would then be forwarded together with detailed settings of greens..
Work began on the construction of the first nine holes. At different times the Sports Turf Research Institute, Bingley and Hawtree visited the site and made certain suggestions and advice e.g. on the removal of certain types of vegetation and weeds, and on specifications for different types of seed for the greens and the fairways. During one of his inspection visits, we discussed the 14th hole at length, it was to be what he considered the “signature hole”. He was convinced from the beginning that Glynhir had the potential to be in his words “a gem of a course”.
The 18th green
The story of the transfer to Glynhir was one of an outstanding achievement, in many ways against the odds. Finance from banks was not as readily as it later became. However, the dogged determination, optimism and the complete understanding that failure was not an option, plus the outstanding abilities, talents and will to succeed, ensured a successful outcome. Victory over adversity was ingrained in the Committee who developed into an exceptional, cohesive unit, all contributing in different ways, working for a common purpose, and recognising that they were there to serve the best interests of the Club and to provide many in the community a first class facility of which they could be proud.
Glynhir Golf Club 2015