In all probability golf was first played on Welsh soil when three enthusiastic Scotsmen laid out a few roughly made holes on a spur of land known as the Morfa in 1869. It was not until 1875 that a group of members from the Royal Liverpool Golf Club realised the full potential of the area and had a professionally-designed course laid out by their club professional, Jack Morris, nephew of Old Tom Morris. Conway (Caernarvonshire) Golf Club was officially formed on the 30th June, 1890 and is the third oldest club behind Tenby (est. 1888) and Rhyl (March 1890) In 1893 Douglas Adams visited the club which resulted in his three famous paintings of the Conwy links course, “A Difficult Bunker”, “The Putting Green” and “The Drive” In 1895 the course was extended to 18 holes by Jack Morris and in the same year, Conwy Golf Club became one of the founding members of the Welsh Golfing Union.
CLUB CREST and FLAG
Caernarvonshire County Council came into being in 1888 and it can be assumed that that is the reason it was incorporated in the golf club’s title.
The Caernarfonshire flag shows three golden eagles arranged in a fess on a green background. The origins of the emblem revolve around the ancient Prince of Wales and King of Gwynedd, Owain ap Gruffydd Gwynedd, to whom the symbol was attributed as his coat of arms.
The club crest has adopted the eagles in a fess above a castle, representing Conwy Castle. UNESCO considers Conwy Castle to be one of “the finest examples of late 13th century, early 14th century military architecture in Europe” and it is classed as a World Heritage Site
With the official formation of the club in 1890, a military mess hut was donated from a neighbouring military camp. In the early 1920’s this was replaced by a clubhouse sited on the present first tee. However in the summer of 1933, a fire completely gutted the building and many old records, photographs and trophies were lost. Following a temporary stay at the Beacons, plans for a new clubhouse were finalised. A site facing the eighteenth green was chosen, and it was formally opened on Saturday, the 17th March, 1934. By early 1990 the clubhouse had structural faults and no longer provided the facilities and space the club needed. A new clubhouse was built and formally opened on the 1st June, 1996. However part of the old clubhouse remains and now houses the visitor’s locker rooms.
The Ravages of War
The Morfa was badly affected by the demands of the First World War and the course, along with the surrounding area, was appropriated for military use. With the enormity of the military activities, the old links course was virtually obliterated and the course was “closed” from 1914 to 1919. To keep the club functioning, everything was moved in a northerly direction to the site that the course now occupies. When the Second World War broke out, it was decided to build the prefabricated harbours used in Operation Overlord for the invasion of Europe on the Conwy Estuary. The Mulberry Harbours were constructed on a site at the back of the present second green. This site was the location of the then ninth green which was lost and never replaced. Fortunately this was the only real damage the course suffered.
1875 – Jack Morris designed the first layout of 12 holes
1895 – Jack Morris extended course to 18 holes.
Post First World War – Unknown, records lost in the 1933 fire.
Post Second World War – Unknown to date.
Mid 1970s – Frank Pennink made major changes to the front 9 holes. This included new green complexes on the 4th, 6th and 8th holes, with consequent new tees on the 5th, 7th and 9th holes.
1983 – Brian Hugget and Neil Coles re-designed five holes on the back nine as a consequence of the new tunnel and A55 Expressway construction. This involved a new 13th hole, increasing the 14th to a par 5, while the old par 3 14th became the new 15th. The old par 3 17th was scrapped with the green and part of the old 16th fairway being utilised for a brand new par 4 17th.
CHAMPIONSHIP EVENTS HELD AT CONWY
From the first championship event held in 1899, the club has hosted numerous championship events. More recent prestigious events include
- 2020 - Curtis Cup
- 2018 - Mens' Home Internationals
- 2016 - Ladies' and Girls' Home Internationals
- 2016 - Welsh Ladies Open Strokeplay
- 2015 - Boys' Home Internationals
- 2014 - Welsh Men's Open Amateur Strokeplay
- 2012 – Ryder Cup Wales Seniors Open (European Seniors Tour)
- 2010 – S4C Ladies Championship of Europe (Ladies European Tour)
- 2009 – European Men’s Amateur Team Championship.
- 2008 – Ryder Cup Wales Seniors Open (European Seniors Tour).
- 2008 – Welsh Men’s Amateur Stroke Play Championship.
- 2007 – Ryder Cup Wales Seniors Open (European Seniors Tour).
- 2007 – British Ladies Amateur Stroke Play Championship.
- 2006 – Final Qualifying Course for the Open Championship.
(The first and only time to date the Final Qualifier has been held in Wales)
View all Championships
From 1890 until October 2013, the club has had 14 professionals. The longest serving was Peter Lees with 47 years (1966 – October 2013); followed by Isaac Williams with 27 years (1919 – 1946)
Conwy members Neil Bryson and Malcolm Jones holding the Ryder Cup during its recent tour of Scotland renew the club’s links with the trophy. George Duncan, who was Open Champion in 1920, played in 1921 in the British team that beat an American team at Gleneagles before the inaugural Ryder Cup, and on four other occasions against the Americans including his 1929 captaincy of the Ryder Cup team, was the professional at Conwy from 1903 to 1905 before ending his career at Wentworth.