Ginny James of Maesdu (Llandudno) Golf Club tells us how a number of courses came together to create the new North Wales James Braid Trail.
James Braid is a name familiar to many golfers. This Scottish professional golfer won the Open Championship five times in the early 20th century, but he is most famous for his skills as a course architect who designed more than 200 courses.
The idea for the Trail came from a conversation I had with Mike Bryant of St Deiniol Golf Club, Bangor. We knew there were a number of courses in North Wales with James Braid associations. We also knew that there were already six James Braid Trails in Scotland, so we both thought it would make sense to set up our own.
Included in the North Wales James Braid Trail are Aberdovey, St Deiniol, Holyhead, Maesdu, Nefyn, Old Colwyn, Porthmadog, Pwllheli, Rhyl and Wrexham. We’ve worked with all the clubs and had great support from Golf North Wales, Visit Wales and Gwynedd County Council, which has helped us get the project from inception to implementation really quickly.
Braid’s courses tend to have certain specific features. He always took advantage of the existing landscape and natural obstacles. He used to sit with topographical maps and plot courses without even seeing the terrain. He also believed that there should always be two different ways to tackle a hole: one for the player who thought he could cut off a dogleg, and a ‘safe’ route for the lesser golfer. He would vary the length and direction of par 3s, meaning they would all offer a very different challenge depending on how the wind was blowing. Braid courses generally have greens that are well guarded by bunkers and slopes.
Each club on the Trail has thought about this and picked one hole which best illustrates Braid’s design characteristics. As players work their way around the different courses, they will have a special scorecard stamped to record their achievement.
The Trail launches this month. We hope it will be a great way to let people know about the fantastic golf we have here in North Wales.