Tenby Golf Club has completed one of the most ambitious projects ever undertaken by a Welsh golf members club with the opening of a new £1.7 million accommodation block.
Located above the clubhouse, The Dunes is a new 10-room guest accommodation venue that offers panoramic views of the historic seaside town of Tenby and the fairways below. Designed to cater for golfers and other tourists visiting the area, the four-star facilities will enable the club to offer a wide range of stay-and-play packages, as well as standalone accommodation packages.
“We have been going for more than 135 years, we hope this project will enable us to be going for another 135 years and more,” said Tenby golf manager David Hancock. “It is very ambitious, we are aware of that, and it will have its challenges, but we are excited about the future.”
The project started at the beginning of the year and includes the introduction of a new dining establishment, ‘The Links,’ welcoming residents and tourists while celebrating Pembrokeshire’s culture and cuisine. As part of the redevelopment, new car parking facilities have been added for customers of the complex, including four EV charging points.
“I have been working here for 20 years and I have to pinch myself every day that I am walking into the same place,” said Hancock. “There is a sense of symmetry that 10 years ago we started the project for the dormer rooms with some unused buildings.
“We started with just three dormy rooms thanks to a grant from Ryder Cup Wales, plus an extensive development of the practice area, so we added four more which meant we could take up to 14 people. That proved very popular. Now we have 21 rooms, standalone four-star guest accommodation with a top quality restaurant. There are five new dormer rooms, 10 four-star hotel bedrooms, plus the existing seven rooms, so it is quite a place.”
“It has cost £1.7m and involved funding through loans and grants, but the business plans are in place ready for next year and looking to build on a good start. We have got a good team and we are really proud of the place.”
The ambition of the club has been commended by Wales Golf. “This development is not just an asset for Tenby, but also an asset to golf in Wales,” said Theo Baker, Wales Golf Regional Club Development Officer (West & Mid Wales) and Coach Education Lead. “The transformation at the club is incredibly impressive. It shows how golf clubs can think outside of their traditional roles to raise revenue, using the space and advantages they may have. When I visited the hotel after it had opened, I was very impressed at the quality of the place. It is a great venue overlooking the golf course and the club are to be congratulated for their ambition.”
It is a considerable investment for a golf club which has been voted one of the top 10 best value courses in the UK by Golf Monthly magazine, as well as being regularly voted one of the top courses in Wales. Hancock says they are taking advantage of the strong local tourism, the golf club being a few minutes from Tenby’s beaches and town centre.
“We are a fairly typical, semi-rural golf club with a finite number of chimney pots around us, while the main businesses in the area are tourism and agriculture,” he said. “We need to look at ways to keep the oldest golf course in Wales thriving, and to do that we needed a stronger revenue stream which had to come from accommodation and hospitality.
“It was about three years ago the Board started thinking this was what we wanted to do, we thought of a franchise but in the end decided to keep it in house to keep control of what we wanted to do going forward.
“We are still a members golf club, but very welcoming to visitors to come and use all the facilities. There is still the facility to stay and play, but the hotel is more than just a place for golf breaks while the restaurant stands alone. Whatever income we can generate will be re-invested in the golf club and the golf course itself because it needs to be maintained to a high standard.”