Monday, 29 August 2011

Tee off at golf course

Below is my “Big Day Out” column from the Saturday, August 27, 2011, Swansea edition of the South Wales Evening Post.

Tee off at golf course
A big day out! 
Ashleigh Road Pitch & Putt golf course.
With the summer sun back why not give golf a go at Ashleigh Road golf course, Swansea's only 10 hole golf course.

Running along the promenade, and situated opposite the road it is named after, is Ashleigh Road Pitch & Putt golf course.
The course has no handicap requirements so it is ideal for beginners of all ages and those who just want to have some fun. It is also a great course for more experienced players to brush up on their pitching and putting skills.

The game of golf has a long history in Wales. The years 1850-1900 were a time of dramatic changes in Wales. The population virtually doubled in this period. The Industrial Revolution hit the country and the people moved from the countryside to the towns. Suddenly, Welsh men and women had more time on their hands, especially the rich, and they began looking around for something to do with their leisure time.
Tenby Golf Club is officially the oldest club in Wales, having been set up in the autumn of 1888. Many more Welsh courses came into being before the turn of the century.

Borth and Ynyslas, Ceredigion, was in use from 1885, while Baron Hill, on Anglesey, was created in either 1889 or 1890.

Most of the early courses were initially designed to have only nine holes and sometimes ten like the golf course at Ashleigh Road, half of today’s standard 18.

Equipment can be hired for a minimal fee. Just turn up, and “pay and play” a round of golf. Their prices are:
Pay and Play
Standard £4.70, Concession £3.45, PTL £2.10
Club Hire
Standard £2.25, Concession £1.90, PTL £1.00
Golf Ball Purchase
Family Ticket
Standard £14.00, Concession £12.00
Asides from the golf course there’s lots of other family activities to check out nearby. You'll find plenty of family fun for free at Blackpill Lido. The Lido is a must when the weather is good with its superb paddling pool, children's play area, climbing rock and picnic facilities. There’s also the award winning Clyne Gardens, the Bay Rider and Swansea Bay to see.
Ashleigh Road Golf Course is open daily from May to August between 9.30am and 8pm. The last admission is two hours before the stated closing time. From September to April the golf course is open only on weekends.
Heading towards Mumbles on Mumbles Road, Ashleigh Road golf hut is opposite Ashleigh Road on the left hand side, before you get to Blackpill Lido. For sat nav users their postcode is SA3 5AU. For further information and daily closing times call 01792 207544 or visit

Experience an exhibit

Below is my “Big Day Out” column from the Saturday, August 20, 2011, Swansea edition of the South Wales Evening Post.

Experience an exhibit
A big day out! 
Swansea Museum.
Swansea Museum was originally setup by the Royal Institution of South Wales, a local group who wanted to investigate all aspects of history, the arts and science at the beginning of the 19th century. Described by the Swansea poet Dylan Thomas as “a museum that belongs in a museum”, the impressive stone building was completed in 1841 in the grand neo-classical style, and is the oldest museum in Wales.
Today visitors are able to see Swansea Museum at four locations: the main museum on Oystermouth Road, The Tramshed on Dylan Thomas Square in Swansea Marina, the museum’s Collections Centre in Landore and the floating exhibits in the dock by The Tramshed.

The main building’s six galleries contain all kinds of unusual objects from Swansea’s past as well as the wider world. One highlight is The Amazing Cabinet of Curiosities gallery dedicated to everything Victorian, an era that was obsessed with the bizarre and strange. It is the museums Egyptology exhibits including an Ancient Egyptian mummy that really puts Swansea Museum on the map, though.

The mummy, named Tem Hor after the god Horus, was a clothier priest and scribe of the god Atum. He lived on the banks of the River Nile in Upper Egypt between 250-200 BCE. The remains and beautifully restored coffin attract mummy worshipers from across South Wales.

Also, if you visit before September 30 you can see the Swansea City Football Club Exhibition. A football focused exhibition commemorating the highs and lows of Swansea City AFC.

In addition to this treasure trove of local and ancient history the museum also has three floating exhibits in its collections which are kept at the Marina: the lightship Helwick; a tug boat called Canning; and the Olga, a Bristol Channel Pilot Cutter built in 1909. Other popular items kept at the museum’s Collections Centre in Landore include old vehicles like a travellers’ van, lorries, a fire engine and two lifeboats, the Naomi Beatty and the William Gammon.

Swansea Museum is allegedly one of the most haunted locations in Wales. Staff and visitors alike have experienced spooky activity in the main building. According to one member of staff a mysterious “hooded figure” has been seen on several occasions on the stairs and strange “tapping”, “cold spots” and even “whistling” have also been reported.


Admission is free at the museum but you’re not allowed to photograph some of the exhibits. A wide variety of keepsakes including handmade Welsh pottery and glassware, Egyptian memorabilia and Victorian jewellery are all for sale in the Museum Shop.
Swansea Museum is open from 10am to 5pm every Tuesday to Sunday. Last admissions are at 4pm. The museum is closed Mondays and bank holidays.
The main building is next door to the LC2. For sat nav users their address and postcode is: Victoria Road, Swansea, SA1 1SN.
For more information about exhibitions and events at Swansea Museum you can visit their website at You can also phone on 01792 653763.