Golfing safari is well worth trek; Gavin O'Connor heads off to Anglesey to play golf and finds north Wales the best par none! travel.
AS a location for a golf safari, there can't be many better locations than Anglesey due to the wide choice of courses. But it was a while before we realised that after stepping off the small plane which flew us from Cardiff Wales Airport to RAF Valley.
The clouds were low, the wind was strong and rain pattered against the meagre bus stop as we waited for a taxi to take us to the Trearddur Bay Hotel, which was about 15 minutes away on the A55.
When the taxi driver turned up (I shall call her Maureen for purposes of avoiding her any embarrassment) she made some pleasant chit-chat and told us about the area before asking: "So, do you know where the Trearddur Bay Hotel is?"
That was worrying I thought, especially after Maureen had just told us she'd been living there for 10 years.
I was beginning to feel part of a cheap sitcom and my golfing partner and I prepared for a convoluted and expensive mini-tour of the island.
Thankfully, Maureen stopped to pop into a shop and ask directions, slipping back into the car saying, "It's around the corner boys."
How Maureen could have missed the Trearddur Bay Hotel is a mystery because it's one of the most prominent buildings on the island and described as "one of North Wales' premier hotel and hospitality destinations".
Anyway, we checked in for the two-night golf safari offered by the hotel and were set to play two courses: Baron Hill Golf Club, a nine-hole, par 34 moorland course at the south side of Beaumaris; and Bull Bay Golf Club, an 18-hole, par 70, heathland course, set amid rugged terrain, one mile west of Amlwch.
The hotel's reception is nestled between an extended bar and grill area on the one side, and a sea-facing restaurant on the other, with a cocktail lounge just adjacent.
All the rooms are individually named, to give character I presume, and we were shown to a spacious, Irish Sea-view double room.
Of the 42 bedrooms, 15 boast sea or garden views, most of which have bay-facing balconies.
The hotel also boasts a heated indoor swimming pool and three acres of private gardens.
But we were keen to get onto a much larger span of acreage, in the golfing sense, that afternoon.
However, one advantage of being able to see a great chunk of the Irish Sea is having a panoramic view of the weather drifting in - and it wasn't good.
Large swathes of grey wetness hovered and drenched the island, putting paid to any hopes of Baron Hill being paid a visit.
A call to the pro shop confirmed the course was closed until next day which meant an even wetter afternoon supping beer in the bar.
The hotel restaurant highlights its use of local produce, including a range of quality Anglesey meats, cheeses and drinks, as well as fresh locally caught seafood.
But I stuck to a delicious lamb shank and chocolate cheesecake which was served by friendly staff in a cosy dining room.
Next day we did get to play some golf at Bull Bay.
The taxi fare was quite expensive (pounds 70 return) but having a car would solve that problem.
Bull Bay, which describes itself as "nature's gift to golfers", has scenic views of nearby Point Lynas Lighthouse, Snowdonia and even the Isle of Man.
On a clear day, it's possible to see the Lake District and driving down to the 18th hole can only be described as idyllic because we were lucky enough to see a good slice of sunshine for that day's play.
Our flight back to Cardiff was not due until the evening of the next day so we managed to squeeze in another 18-hole round at Holyhead Golf Club, just around the corner from the Trearddur Bay Hotel.
There were some extremely long par five holes, and one ridiculously difficult par four which required a drive over an enormous mound of brambles.
But the course had a real ease to it, in the sense of comfort and neatness, and the weather held out long enough to get us in the clubhouse for an oaky pint of smooth.
During out-of-season months, 80 per cent of the Trearddur Bay Hotels guests are visitors on business and it has recently invested in a number of specially furnished business bedrooms, including personal work stations and complimentary in-room wi-fi internet access.
The hotel was awarded Anglesey Tourist Association's Hotel of 2008, has a three-star Visit Wales rating and is accredited with the much sought-after Hospitality Assured Standard for service excellence.
My experience of the hotel didn't sway too far from those accolades with friendly and accommodating staff.
Even if golf isn't your thing, taking up the offer of the golf safari is well worth it as an added bonus to a trip to North Wales.
All you need to know to get there
The Trearddur Bay Hotel golf safari package includes green fees for five of the island's best courses.
Baron Hill, Anglesey Golf Club, Bull Bay, Henllys Hall and Holyhead are all included in the price.
The rates are based on two people sharing and include breakfast and dinner in the restaurant.
pounds 120 per person per night for a sea/garden view room.
Group Bookings and golf clubs and societies are also welcome.
pounds 110 per person per night, standard room.
Flights with Highland Airways - pounds 80 for a return.
IMPRESSIVE Trearddur Bay Hotel, Angelsey, is a premier holiday destination