Having celebrated its Centenary Year back in 1990, Conwy (Caernarvonshire) Golf Club has a wealth of history and another historic event is about to take place during July 2006, as the Club becomes the first club in Wales to play host to an Open Championship Final Qualfying rounds.
Douglas Adams - The Drive.
It is known that as far back at 1869, three enthusiastic Scotsmen laid out a few roughly made holes for their own amusement on The Morfa, and they may have been the first to play golf on Welsh soil.
However it was a group of members from The Royal Liverpool Club in Hoylake who realised the potential of The Morfa and who in 1875 had a professionally designed course laid out, consisting of 12 holes.
However it was not until June 30th 1890 that The Caernarvonshire (Conwy) Golf Club was officially formed and a military mess hut, presented by a volunteer regiment from a neighbouring army camp, was secured as a Clubhouse and officially opened on 30th July, 1890 by the Club's first Captain, Mr. Sydney Platt.
In 1895 the course was extended to 18 holes and within four years the club staged it's first Welsh National Championship which was won by F. E. Woodhead, a club member. Also in 1895, the club became one of the founding members of the Welsh Golfing Union. Over the years, the course has seen many changes and is a typical links course, providing a stern test of golf, particularly over the last five holes, where an abundance of gorse adds to the challenge. Very rarely are there days when the wind does not blow and it is this added factor which, as on so many links courses, can make or break a round.
World historians will note that the famous Mulberry Harbours of World War II were built on a site behind what is now our second green, before being launched into the estuary for their journey south and ultimately to play a key role in the D-Day landings.
Many will be familiar with the three golfing paintings by Douglas Adams dating back to 1893,namely 'A Difficult Bunker, 'The Putting Green' and 'The Drive' but few realise that these are actually refer to the links at Conwy.
Visitors to the Club will see the prints proudly displayed within the clubhouse, and indeed on the scorecards.
The paintings have been seen all over the world, most notably at the museum of the USGA at Far Hills, New Jersey, renowned at one of the most famous golfing museums in the world.
Visitors to Pinehurst, one of the USAs great golfing centres will be welcomed at the airport lounge by a painting, yes you've guessed, of Conwy Golf Club! Eagle Trace Golf Club in Fort Lauderdale, Florida also has a print on prominent display.
Other sightings have been noted all over the UK - the dining room at Hillside Golf Club, Lancashire - and Europe - the Val d'este Golf Club near Lake Como, Italy and Vila Sol Golf Club, Portugal. We'd welcome information on any other sightings, so please get in touch!!
The present clubhouse completed in 1996 is the fifth the members have occupied since 1875 and visitors to the club will notice a montage chronicling the history of moves to its present site.
Since 1899 many Championships have been played at Conwy, notably the following:
> Boys Amateur Championship 2004
The Aberconwy Trophy was intoduced in 1976, a 72 hole chamionship over both the Conwy and Llandudno Maesdu courses and is now a Welsh Amateur Order of Merit event.
Welsh Professional Championships have also been held here, together with the 1970 Martini Professional Tournament, one of the most prestigious events to be held at the club, when the great Peter Thomson was a joint winner with Doug Sewell. The Australian was heard to remark at the time - 'What wonderful golfing country this is ...and I hope we can come back'. Well, with Peter having won one of his five Open Championships at Royal Liverpool in 1956, we sincerely hope that a return visit to Conwy may be possible in the future.
NOTE: photos are of some of the Douglas Adams paintings which are located in the clubhouse.