The goings on in and around Bridgend

The BIG Guide to Bridgend for the Senior Open

With Wales hosting the prestigious Senior Open Championship for the second time later this month, we thought we'd tell you a little more about Bridgend County where the tournament will take place.

P&K

While all eyes will be on the likes of Montgomerie, Jiménez and Watson at the iconic Royal Porthcawl Golf Club, Bridgend County is home to countless other attractions, from nature reserves and mighty sand dunes to castles and Blue Flag beaches.

The courses
Any self-respecting golfer knows that the Senior Open Championship is going to take place at the mighty Royal Porthcawl, but did you know that there are another four courses within the county? Here's a little more information about them…

Pyle and Kenfig
Commonly referred to as 'P&K', this is one of Wales' finest links courses and sits next door to Royal Porthcawl. Unusually for a links course, this is set out in two loops of nine, with the back nine challenging even the most seasoned golfer, and not just because the panorama from the 14th tee is easily enough to put you off your swing.
A weekday visitor pass costs £60 for the day.

Grove
A relative newcomer to the Welsh golfing scene, The Grove only opened its doors in 1996. This is the coast's parkland course and, like neighbours Royal Porthcawl and Pyle and Kenfig, offers golfers the added incentive of stunning views out across the Bristol Channel towards Swansea Bay.
A weekday visitor pass costs £22 for the day.

Maesteg
Just half an hour from Rest Bay, Maesteg offers a golfing experience a world away from the coastal courses in Porthcawl. The cool sea views have been replaced by the rugged Welsh valleys, while this parkland course offered something for all ages and experience. Maesteg is considered a course of 'considerable character and maturity', having been founded way back in 1912.
A weekday visitor pass costs £16 for the day.

Coed y Mwstwr
The only golf course with its very own country house hotel attached (or just over the road, anyway!). The first hole features enough sand to make you think you're on the beach, while the 18th offers a drive over a tree-strewn valley. And once you're done swinging you can make the short trip to the award-winning hotel and make the most of a comfy room, a tasty meal and a much-needed stop at the spa.
Visitor rates start at £16, or you get complimentary golf with a night at the hotel.

Bridgend Golf Complex
Bridgend is a friendly nine-hole pay and play course and one that remains popular with many in the area who just fancy a few quick holes as opposed to organising a whole day of golf. A 1770 yard-long, 9 hole Parkland course with par 29 and SSS of 57.

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10 fabulous facts about Bridgend

1. Parts of Hollywood epic Lawrence of Arabia were filmed within the Merthyr Mawr sand dunes. You can now fatbike across these with Porthcawl Bike Hire.
2. Bridgend is home to the second tallest sand dune in Europe, known as the 'Big Dipper'.
3. It is also home to Britain's rarest flower, the fen orchid, which can be found at kenfig National Nature Reserve
4. The county is home to the UK's largest Elvis Festival, which takes place in September each year. In 2013, they set a new world record by having 814 impersonators sing 'Hound Dog' at the same time!
5. It is very easy to get to Bridgend from London. A direct train can take you less than two and a half hours, and you could be on the beach in less than three hours!
6. Gavin and Stacey stars Ruth Jones and Rob Brydon both attended school in Porthcawl, while Ruth was actually born in Bridgend.
7. Bridgend is less than 30 minutes from Cardiff International Airport and is the perfect base for a holiday exploring Wales' national parks and renowned coastline.
8. The county is home to surprisingly good surf, particularly off the beautiful Blue Flag Rest Bay beach, now attracting crowds from across Britain.
9. In 2016, Bridgend County unveiled the world's first 'selfie bench', a viral sensation that went worldwide.
10. Other notable individuals from Bridgend include presenters Huw Edwards and Sian Lloyd, designer David Emanuel, actor Owen Teale, Olympic cyclist Nicole Cooke and rugby legends Rob Howley and JPR Williams.

Top 10 unmissable adventures in Bridgend

1. Take a surf lesson with Porthcawl Surf School, voted the UK's Best Surf School at last year's Surf Awards. Lessons run at Blue Flag Rest Bay.

2. Ogmore Castle stands just a short distance from Ogmore Beach - kids will love exploring the ruins, not to mention hopping between stepping stones to cross the river that runs nearby.

3. Spend a lazy day enjoying the sun on one of Bridgend's many beaches. Opt for Rest Bay if you're after a long stretch of sand or explore the hidden caves of Tresilian Bay.

4. Try fatbiking across the dunes with Porthcawl Bike Hire - a fantastic new way to experience an amazing landscape.

5. If you happen to be craving anything from quad biking to rock climbing, be sure to book a holiday with Adventures Wales.

6. Bridgend County lies along the Glamorgan Heritage Coast, which stretches right the way from Porthcawl to Aberthaw further east. Why not just lace up your boots and get exploring? It's part of the Wales Coast Path - a route that circumnavigates the entire country.

7. Mountain bikers will love the Darren Fawr mountain biking trails, which combine to create a heart-pounding 6km ride through rugged woodland that you're sure to remember!

8. Get on your bike and enjoy the coastal cycle path that links Trecco Bay and Rest Bay

9. Explore the amazing Kenfig National Nature Reserve that is home to Britain's rarest flower, the fen orchid, as well as many other rare species.

10. There's no therapy quite like retail therapy, and Bridgend boasts the mighty McArthur Glen Designer Outlet, home to over 90 brands plus numerous cafes and restaurants.

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