The Loop

A Postcard From Wales, Day 4

June 30, 2010

These golf trips are always a blur. By day four I was distracted by a lack of sleep. So much golf by day, followed by watching soccer and then other stuff by night. (Please send all sympathy to:

On this day I stumbled from a slumber to meet John Wake, a former senior detective in the local police force:


Wake is currently a human Google of Celtic history, including castles, King Arthur (did he exist?), lighthouses, industrial archeology and . . . wait for it . . . Vietnamese potbelly pigs. (If you want to know, it'd be best to let Wake explain.)

Safe to say that Wake is a lot of things, and when my travel story comes out in August, I'll post a video of the Cardiff tour he conducted, but he's not a golfer. "No thank you," he says. Again, he's a smart man. He's also an author and a songwriter. He has written several books (none have been published yet) but some of his songs are on YouTube. This is "The A470 Song, The Iconic UK Road to Wales."

Not bad. Among other things, Wake showed me the National Museum of Wales:


Wake cracked me up and he could charm the crown off a queen, so keep your wives or girlfriends at an arm's length.

On the subjects of loved ones, in the afternoon I went back to Royal Porthcawl for one more round at my latest on my list of favorites:


He told me there were a few options. Either way I'd have to spend some time there and get to know a few of the local members. If I was serious, eventually I'd need some sponsors. But the first and most realistic option is to try for a "country membership." I'd pay about $750 annually and that would cover all of my golf, regardless if I played three or 30 rounds per year. (It would take about five rounds to make it cost-effective.)

The other option is an overseas life membership, which is a single payment of a little more than $20,000, and then you're a member for life. (Locals pay a little more than $2,000 annually to be a member at Royal Porthcawl.)

I didn't see them, but there are 12 rooms at Royal Porthcawl. They're called dormys, and I get the sense they aren't much bigger than dorm rooms (six are singles and six contain twin beds). "They're more functional than luxurious," says Bond, "but they satisfy a need."

You'd pay $67 per night for a single and $60 per person per night to stay in a twin. Both prices include breakfast. Bond says, "A lot of our guests roll out of bed, have breakfast, play 18 holes, eat lunch, go back for another 18, eat dinner, have a few pints and then go to bed."

I was tempted to ask Bond if he'd be my first sponsor. And then I had one more pint while I waited for a cab to take me to Celtic Manor. Cheers: