With the imposing Harlech Castle overlooking the course and
enormous sand dunes separating the course from the Irish Sea, not to mention
the spectacular views across to Snowdon and the lesser peaks of Snowdonia,
Royal St David’s enjoys an enviable location that will surely enthral any
In fact Bernard Darwin, author of The Golf Courses of the
British Isles, said of Royal St David’s location: “Small wonder if the visitor
falls in love with Harlech at first sight for no golf course in the world has a
more splendid background than the old castle, which stands at the top of a
sheer precipice of rock looking down over the links.”
The course measures a little over 6,600 yards from the
championship markers but don’t let that fool you; this is without doubt a stern
test of links golf. Locals would certainly agree; viewing St David’s as the
world’s toughest par 69 golf course!
Unlike many traditional links courses, Royal St David’s
doesn’t follow the “9 out and 9 back” routing but rather holes face every which
way, meaning the golfer must be constantly aware of the wind direction and how
it might affect play.
Over the 1st dozen holes especially, the wind
plays a huge part in determining the challenge of the course, as these holes
traverse a relatively flat patch of links land. It’s not until the 13th
that Royal St David’s makes its way into the dune land, and it’s here where the
course becomes truly memorable.
After a couple of holes in the dunes, you emerge onto the 15th
tee which is the signature hole on the course. More on that below...
After climbing to the 16th tee where you can
catch a glimpse of the Irish Sea, the course head inland and back towards the
clubhouse, and rather unusually, finishes on a tough, 200 yard par 3. Like all
classic links courses, Royal St David’s main protection, apart from the weather
rolling in off the Irish Sea of course, comes in the form of devilish pot
bunkers, punishing rough and a great variety of uneven lies which force the
golfer to use their creativity and shot making.
The remote coastline sets a remarkable scene for Royal St.
David's, which is surely one of the most incredible golf tour experiences
anywhere in the United Kingdom.
Designed by: Harold Finch Hatton, William Henry More
Opened for play: 1894
Previously hosted: European Open (1993 & 1994) – PGA European Tour
Qualifying School Venue – Five-time European Challenge Tour Host - Open
Championship Regional Qualifying (2014)
Blue: 6,629 yards
Yellow: 6,225 yards
Red: 5,783 yards
Signature Hole – No. 15: Par 4, 439 yards (Blue Tees)
The par 4 15th at Royal St David’s is not only the course’s signature
hole, but one of the toughest the player will face as well.
From the slightly elevated tee, the entire hole is laid out
right in front of your eyes and while this is one of a couple of holes on the
course without a single bunker, it is fair to say that it doesn’t need them,
such is the challenge it presents in its current form.
After a testing drive which must be well struck to carry the
rough and dunes, the second shot is played over a break in the fairway which
can throw off your depth perception subject to where you’ll be playing your
approach from. Unless you’re a particularly long hitter, a long iron or even a
fairway wood will most likely be required to reach the green, which is protected
on the right by a huge, rough-covered mound.
This testing hole is right in the heart of the course and
with spectacular views in almost every direction; it’s one of many memorable
holes at Royal St David’s. Click the “Show Videos” tab above to see the hole in
There is ample opportunity to warm up before your round at Royal
St David’s, with a full length driving range with real grass teeing areas, as
well as ample short game practice areas.
AT THE CLUBHOUSE
The clubhouse at Royal St David’s has been tastefully furnished
to reflect its original Edwardian character, and is a golf historian’s dream,
with a great wealth of history and tradition on display throughout. Modern conveniences
ensure it serves as an excellent base for golfers to relax before or after their
rounds. Don’t be put off by the “Royal” moniker as St David’s offers a warm
welcome top visiting golfers, with members who are extremely proud of their
course being friendly and accommodating at every opportunity.
The clubhouse bar has a large screen television which
is perfect for catching up on sporting events while enjoying a delicious meal
and with panoramic views of the 18th green and the dunes that separate
the course from the shores of Cadigan Bay also on offer, the option of simply
relaxing over a well deserved drink is always there too.
Hire clubs are available, with the latest Titleist and Taylor
Made clubs on offer for both men and ladies. Left and right handed options both
Golf buggies, as well as both pull and electric trolleys are
also available for hire.
DID YOU KNOW?
PGA and European Tour player Freddie Jacobson
won the British Youths Open Amateur Championship at Royal St David’s in 1994.