Regarded as one of the most picturesque courses in Wales with the magnificent backdrop of the historic Gwrych Castle, Abergele Golf Club remains a firm favourite with both members and visitors who visit from all over the golfing world.
Abergele Golf Club was formed in 1910 and the site’s pavilion was opened two years later near Gwrych Castle. Six years later the owners of the land, Dundonald Estates, granted permission for the course to operate on Sundays.
The club encountered financial difficulties in 1919 when its guarantors did not pay subscriptions and were required to pay 20 shillings each year. Additionally, the course’s committee members toured Abergele to raise the necessary capital.
Tennis courts were prepared in 1922 and remained at the site until hard courts were built in nearby Clwyd Avenue.
After the end of World War I, the club was struggling financially and committee members had to make collections in the town in order to raise funds.
Beginning in 1935 – and revolutionary for it’s time – the first and third Thursdays of each month became known as “Ladies Day”.
It was good news for all in 1936, as a ballot vote at a meeting agreed that bar facilities were provided at the club. The price of a pint of beer was about 4d (9 pence).
In 1937, discussions took place with Lord Dundonald about the possibility of leasing 150 acres a £1 per acre for 21 years. However, this did not materialise and the move to Gwrych Park had to wait for over 30 years!
The Club’s honorary solicitor, Mr J.R. Williams was in charge of about 200 men from the Home Guard during the war and the Club was often used as their base. Members volunteered to run the bar and were allowed a free pint of beer (worth 4p) or a choice of spirits (worth 5p).
Membership declined following the outbreak of the Second World War, and in 1942, the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food ordered about twenty acres of the land to be ploughed up to grow crops and grain as part of the “Dig for Victory” campaign.
After the Second World War ended, the club expanded with the introduction of a billiard room, a gentleman’s locker room and professional shop.
In the 1950’s, the Club became popular with non-golfers. Entertainment was provided by members for Lady Captain’s day in the 1950s.
In March 1967, Abergele Golf Club board members formed into a limited company and purchased more than ninety acres of parkland in Gwyrch Park from Glyn Parry and John Lloyd Jones.
It was then in 1968 that the course was established in its present position, next to the historic grounds of Gwyrch Castle and with magnificent coastal views.
A new clubhouse was opened by the Earl of Dundonald and the new course was opened on 3 May 1969.
In 1974, our very own Pat Runcie gained Welsh Girls International Honours!
Fortuitously, the Golf Club purchased a practice ground in 1977 for the sum of £10,000 and an extension was built to the clubhouse six years later.
In 1978, an Exhibition Match was held at the Club. The dubious honour of recording the highest score on one hole went to World Cup player, Craig DeFoy, who scored a 10 on the 16th (currently the 11th) after hitting three out-of-bounds!
In 1982, member Stuart Castle decided to play 100 holes in a day to raise funds. He raised over £5,000 and presented 8 wheelchairs to children in North Wales.
It was then in 1984 that Abergele Golf Club held its first national tournament, the Welsh Boys Championship. In the following year, the owners bought land on the east side of the estate to expand the course.
It wouldn’t be right if we didn’t mention that Iain Runcie (Club Director) became the Club professional in 1988! He was one of the most successful coaches in the region, teaching amateur and professional golfers.
The 1990’s saw major developments with the clubhouse.
In 1994, the club hosted the Welsh Boys Championship for the first time.
A new clubhouse was opened in 1997, by then President W. Glyn Parry J.P. and Lady President Pat K. Francis J.P. A new putting green was opened in 1998, and in the same year, the first tee was constructed.
The Professional’s Shop had been dismantled by 1999 and a swing area and golf academy was established on the site.
Between 2002 and 2003 the course was reconstructed by David Williams to meet United States Golf Association standard.
2001 was a revolutionary year at the golf course. With overwhelming support at an extraordinary general meeting, it was decided to reconstruct all 18 greens to USGA standard over a two year period. This would be the start of Abergele Golf Course as we know and love it today. The first phase of the greens project was completed and came into play in May 2002, and in 2003 the final phase of the green construction work took place.
A history of Abergele Golf Club isn’t complete without mentioning our valued professionals, and in 2005 Adam Runcie won his first tournament as Welsh Boys Champion, and in the following year Stuart Runcie was championed as a Welsh Youth International. In 2007, Adam Runcie gained full international honours for Wales, and 2009 saw him play for Wales in the European Team Championships.
In 2009, the Club received a Ryder Cup Wales Legacy Fund to develop a short game practice area and a four bay driving range.
In 2010, the Club celebrated it’s Centenary Year! On the 3rd January 2010, former Lady Captain and President, Billie Needham, Bob Walford and John Howatson unveiled the Centenary plaque. The 10th June 2020 saw Becky Brewerton return to Abergele Golf Club to play an exhibition match with Stuart and Adam Runcie (our two club professionals). The 10th June was also the official opening of the driving range and practice area.
In 2014, our very own Lauren (who you might know from the Pro Shop team) won the Under 14’s Welsh County Girls Championship.
Our Abergele Juniors in 2014 represented Wales in Antequera, Spain, for the Home Countries Inter Club Championship (Scott Farrall, Harri Jones, Dan Wilson, Adam Roberts, Steffan Hughes, Jamie Travis, Adam Wilson and Jacob Jones) and finished 6th overall.
In June 2019, the Club held the Welsh Ladies Team Championships where Wrexham Golf Club Ladies lifted the trophy .
2020 saw the whole world enter a pandemic and all Club functions changed drastically. The way the Club operated had to change drastically.
In August 2020, it was announced that ‘I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here!’ was coming to Gwrych Castle (our next door neighbours). This meant that we had to close our doors to visitors for 2 months whilst the show took place.
In November 2020, we welcomed Richard Arnold from Good Morning Britain, Ria Hebden from Lorraine and Allison Hammond from This Morning to Abergele. All three shows broadcasted live from our course and balcony and our very own Stuart had his first TV appearance as ‘Security Stu’.
In March 2021, the Club had to introduce outside bar and catering services due to Covid-19 regulations. All members and staff had to adapt quickly to changing rules.
In August 2021, it was announced that ‘I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out of here’ was coming back again to Gwrych Castle, which saw the Club close again for three months.
In September 2021, we held our first ever ‘Bushtucker Fun Day’ themed around ‘I’m A Celebrity’ and raised £1,721.83 for children’s charity DangerPoint.
The ITV Press Morning came back to Abergele Golf Club in November 2021! We were delighted to host the film crew and welcome back Richard Arnold (Good Morning Britain) and Ria Hebden (Lorraine).