The current clubhouse is on the site of a former castle which was built in the early 1700’s. There is still speculation that a Wenvoe Castle known to exist in the mid 1500’s was its predecessor and reputed to have been burned down by Owain Glyndwr, a potent Welsh nationalist who led the rebellion against the occupying English forces at that time.
The buildings and land forming the golf course were owned by the Thomas family who accumulated wealth and significant influence as they gradually passed from affluence to extravagance fuelled by a desire to be both Members of Parliament and Landscapers on a grand scale. Perhaps at that time the early seeds of a golf course was beginning to emerge with records showing the areas of the front nine holes known as ‘The Gathers’ and the back nine aptly called ‘The Lawns’.The Thomas family eventually paid the price for their extravagant lifestyle and in 1774 were forced to sell land and property and Wenvoe Castle passed into the hands of Peter Birt who made his personal fortune from coal and canals in Yorkshire. Mr Birt immediately set about dismantling the buildings on the site rebuilding in its place a mansion house with castellated battlements with front of the new ‘castle’ measuring some 374 feet long. This was the only Mansion House built in Wales that was designed by Robert Adams andthe accompanying picture illustrates a grand and imposing building. The Birt family married into the Jenner family who later became involved in the creation of the golf course.
However In 1910 there was serious fire which destroyed almost all of the Birt-built Wenvoe Castle with only the East Pavilion, the Stables and Archway Tower remaining intact. The buildings are still sufficient to provide the elegance and grace of a Country Mansion House and enjoy protection as a Grade 2 Listed Building.The buildings took on a new lease of life as a Club house when the golf course was opened in July 1936 by the Rev. Hugh Jenner the Club’s first President and Benefactor over many years.
James Braid a 5 times winner of the Open advised on the original layout and in later years C.K. Cotton, another top name in golf architecture, was brought in to advise on further modifications.
Early records indicate the initial club membership was about 100, which included the Ladies, producing approximately £66 in subscriptions. The 1936 PGA Handbook refers to Wenvoe Castle GC listing the Standard Scratch Score as 74 and the first club professional as Mr C.A. Pickett. The outbreak of World War 2 had a dramatic effect on the golf course. The top floor of the club house was requisitioned and the back nine holes were ploughed up and commanded to produce cereals. By early 1941 club meetings were cancelled because of air raids and black outs and this fear was not without justification as bombs actually fell on the fifth fairway causing considerable damage.
After the war it took some considerable time to regain the land for golfing purposes and it was not until 1956 that the full 18 holes finally came back into play and by 1958 a water supply had been installed to every green.