Aberdyfi golf course


Aberdyfi golf course

Golf was first played on Aberdyfi Common in 1886 when members of the Ruck family from Pantlludw, near Machynlleth, and their relatives set out a course using flowerpots for holes. One relative, Bernard Darwin (a descendent of naturalist Charles Darwin), became golf correspondent for The Times and described Aberdyfi as “the course my soul loves best of all the courses in the world”.

Old photo of Aberdyfi golf clubhouse and 1st teeAberdovey Golf Club was founded in 1892 and bought the freehold of the common in 1905 for £2,250. Several farms had grazing rights for cattle and sheep on the course. Three farms retain their rights for cattle in summer and up to 116 sheep between November and April. The old photo shows the clubhouse and first tee.

The course is on the Welsh Amateur Championship rota and has hosted many national events over the years.

A stray dog named Pilot used to come here and “follow” the game in the early 20th century. He had arrived on a foreign steamer and was “adopted” by the townspeople. He made friends with visitors, particularly golfers, and was killed by a train in 1902.

The course and dunes are part of the Dyfi Site of Special Scientific Interest, noted for one of the most northerly populations of sand lizards in the UK. An increasingly rare plant, lesser water plantain, is abundant in the drainage ditches.

Portrait of Alison RiebenClub membership has always been made up of local residents and visitors in equal proportions. Many families, local and from away, return generation after generation, one such family being the Howells of Plas Penhelig, behind the Penhelig Arms Hotel. One of the family’s nieces, Alison Bonsall of Machynlleth (pictured), married Oberleutnant Eugen von Rieben of the German army’s 8th Dragoons in October 1912. His best man was her brother, Vivian Bonsall of the Welsh Regiment, standing in for a Dragoons comrade who had been urgently recalled to Germany. Germany’s Crown Princess telegraphed her best wishes.

Two years later, Alison's husband and brother were fighting on opposing sides in the First World War. Eugen took part in Germany’s invasion of Belgium but didn’t return to his young wife. They were divorced by 1939. She died in 1971. Eugen was settled in Germany by 1921, having become a Major, and died in 1955.

As Alison Rieben, she was a major figure at Aberdovey Golf Club. She won the Welsh ladies’ golf championship in 1929 and 1936, and was the club’s president in 1962. Her daughter Isabella was Welsh champion in 1932, 1949 and 1951.

With thanks to David Tomkinson, Rab Jones and Hazel Pierce

Postcode: LL35 0RT    View Location Map

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