One Man Spent 1,000 Hours During the Pandemic Restoring a Welsh Golf Course

Bringing back a piece of golf history

Rhayader, Wales.

By Tobias Carroll

During the pandemic, people have taken the opportunity to learn new skills. Baking bread is, perhaps, the most ubiquitous example, but it’s far from the only one. Some people spent their time in quarantine learning a new language; others got really good at Animal Crossing. And then there’s Chris Powell, who spent 1000 hours restoring a long-dormant golf course in Wales that has unexpected ties to — among other locations — Augusta National Gold Club.

At The New York Times, Jack Williams wrote about Powell’s task, which borders on the epic. Powell is a resident of the Welsh town of Rhayader, which was at various points home to 3 different golf courses; all of them, however, have since closed. Last year, Powell and a friend began looking for the site of the second golf course, which opened in the 1920s.

The process of charting the long-dormant course involved everything from a metal detector (for finding long-buried cups) to talking with locals who remembered the course when it was still in use. Eventually, the course was clear enough for Powell to hold a charity tournament, with fees benefiting the National Health Service. All in all, Powell spent roughly 1,000 hours on the project.

During his work on the course, Powell also discovered that its designer was Dr. Alister MacKenzie — known for his work on, among other courses, the one at Augusta National. That, in turn, has attracted the attention of the sport’s historians — and demonstrating the full scope of Powell’s efforts.