I'm having quite the week in Wales. This country is full of nice people, I've had plenty of decent meals and there are an endless number of pubs with personality. (One pub I went to is haunted.) I've come across some persnickety sheep and you'd love the affordable links golf. (One has a history of landmines.)
My first night in Swansea I stayed at Morgans, the small city's only five-star hotel, which is located near the Mumbles and Gower coastline:
For the first round of two on Tuesday, I played Southerndown Golf Club:
That being said, you'll spend more time appreciating the views at Southerndown than you will looking down at the droppings, and the golf course is a lot of fun:
Buckle up before the back nine of P&K--it's a bumpy ride with lots of sharp twists and turns. It's also where they once discovered an active landmine (no one was injured), so I stayed light in my Adidas as I looked for lots of lost balls.
I met a few more kids along the way. They have a nine-hole junior academy course at P&K and roughly 50 junior members (ages 5 to 17). Wales is having a similar problem than we are in the States--keeping kids attracted to the game of golf. (More thoughts on this in a future blog about high school golf.)
This is (from left): Tom Beadle, 15, Cameron Morris, 12, (who they call "Scotty Cameron"), George Beadle, 12, Tom Furneux, 14, and Brad Young, 15:
Dylan Williams, the pro at P&K (and a guy you should get to know if you're planning a golf trip to Wales), treated me to a post-round visit to the Jolly Sailor, "The oldest Pub in Porthcawl," where we watched Argentina beat Greece. (How good is Lionel Messi?)
You can play Southerndown for somewhere between 35 and 75 pounds, depending on the day, time and time of the year. (Right now, 75 pounds is $111.) It's about the same price range to play P&K.
So two days into the trip and I had played three courses with almost 300 years of history. I have tiptoed through explosives, been scared of ghosts, shocked by hot wires, spiced by curry and stared down by something furry.
More on Wales in a few days.
I leave out of London later, but not before I watch the US/Ghana game.