Celebrating its 125th anniversary this year, The Glamorganshire (1890) is the oldest golf club in south-east Wales and the fourth oldest in Wales after Tenby (1888), Rhyl and Caernarvonshire (both founded earlier in 1890).
Over the following decade, The Glamorganshire played a major role in developing golf in Wales — including being a prime mover in the founding of the Welsh Golf Union.
It twice hosted the Welsh Amateur Championships, provided three Welsh champions and was the testing ground for the world- renowned Stableford scoring system devised by a member, Dr Frank Stableford.
The club brought the top professionals into South Wales for the first time and in 1901 staged a professional open tournament which featured ‘the great triumvirate’, Harry Vardon, James Braid and JH Taylor in front of a large crowd.
It also provided the impetus and expertise for the creation of several South Wales clubs, including Royal Porthcawl, Southerndown, Radyr and Dinas Powis.
For 60 years, Glamorganshire had an unmatched record of Welsh team championships. In one period between the wars it had a great winning team, the first five members of which were plus players and the eighth man had a handicap of one.
It is hard to keep pace with such an illustrious history but there is one feature that has remained constant — the course, which has retained its reputation as both a challenge and a pleasure for a century and a quarter. The course plays host every year to the Glamorganshire Baffie which attracts the best players in the area and the number who break par is not very high.
The views of the Bristol Channel from the top of the hill that dominates the course are spectacular. From the left, where the Severn bridges are clearly visible, the coast lines of Gloucester, Somerset and North Devon stretch down to the right.
The clubhouse, which is only 123 years old, not only reeks of golfing history but has an unrivalled link to world rugby. No club, anywhere, has played host to so many great rugby players. The famous Barbarians invitational rugby team adopted the club in 1901 as part of their Easter weekend fixtures against Welsh clubs. They relaxed on the Sunday at the Glamorganshire club, playing their own version of a golf competition and after a meal gathered in the bar with golf club members for a rousing sing-song.
The spikes bar has hardly changed over the years and, like the rest of the place, is steeped in history. Visitors to Glamorganshire get much more than a game of golf.