But golf can be found within this DNA, too. According to the website Golf’s Missing Links, which documents more than 2,000 courses that have been lost to time and the landscape, a nine-hole course first existed in Rhayader from 1908 until its abeyance around the time of World War I. Then, in the mid-1920s, a new nine-hole course was opened on a separate site about a mile from the town center, eventually closing in 1968. Another course on a third site failed in the 1990s, shutting after a few years.
Powell remembers parts of the defunct second course from his youth, when he would trek over the hills with his pony. “Ever since I was a kid I’ve always been fascinated by man-made stuff,” Powell, a farrier, said. “So if I’m walking over hills, I’m always fascinated by, say, an old house, and I always want to know, What did that used to be like? Or, Where was that room? Where was the pig sty?”
On their first visit to the old links site last year, Powell and his friend, Martin Mason, 53, said they could clearly make out two greens. From there, Powell returned every few days, walking through fields and ferns in the hope of finding new features among the bracken, which, he said, was at chest height in places.
Within a couple of months, Powell had unearthed around five or six greens and a similar number of tee boxes. At that point, he said, he remembers thinking, “I am going to run a charity golf day” in a year’s time.