Roger and Frances Lindley play the Wales National.

Given that we were sitting on the clubhouse veranda in warm sunshine eating fresh sardines, you might think that the Vale Hotel, Golf and Spa resort was situated on the Algarve, but no, it’s not far from Cardiff. In fact it’s only three minutes from junction 34 of the M4, so it’s very accessible. And whilst it won’t be every day that you can play golf in Wales in a pair of shorts, there’s high quality golf to be had here in attractive surroundings, plus the added advantages of on-site accommodation, a Health and Racquets Club and a Spa. What’s more, if you opt for one of their special Golf Breaks, you could benefit from playing championship golf courses and enjoying four-star amenities at very affordable prices. The Vale is the home of the Wales National, a very challenging 7413yard par 73 course which requires all aspects of your game to be on song if you are to score well here; best to avoid the white tees, at least for your first time round, as you’ll find the course long enough and tough enough off the yellows. But not all the holes require long distances off the tee, and there are some such as the 284 yard 6th which play better for most of us with a mid iron and wedge.

The 6th hole on the Wales National The course is attractively laid out using natural contours, well manicured, with plenty of water to contend with, and whilst it is relatively new there is no indication of this as you proceed around it, particularly in view of the maturity of the trees. There is also the Lake Course, and you might be forgiven for thinking that this would be a soft option compared with the National, but you would be wrong; it’s shorter at 6436 yards it is true, but this par 72 course is just as challenging. It starts as it means to go on with a tight 200-yard par 3, and requires accurate shot making at all times or you’ll be in the water or the trees. You’ll find a course planner pretty well essential here to help you with the distances. Again, a very attractive course maintained in excellent condition, and a true test of your golf. Like the National, the greens are not overly fast but they have some subtle nuances to them, so the game is by no means over once you’ve arrived on the short stuff.

The 2nd hole on the Wales National Great golf then, and all the other facilities on offer: for example, a 20 metre indoor swimming pool with sauna, steam room and whirlpool, fitness studios, tennis and squash courts, and a wide choice of bars and restaurants. And if you’re planning an outing here for your golf society, check first what special deals are on offer for RAF personnel – you should be pleasantly surprised.

Contact points: The Vale Hotel, Golf & Spa Resort Hensol Park Hensol, Near Cardiff Vale of Glamorgan CF72 8JY Tel: 01443 667800 Golf Business Development Manager: 01443 667856 Resort Sales Director 01443 667954 Marketing Director: 01443 667730 (Ends) 530 words

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