Royal West Norfolk - Norfolk - England

Royal West Norfolk Golf Club,
Brancaster,
Norfolk,
PE31 8AX,
England


  • +44 (0) 1485 210223

  • Golf Club Website

  • 7 miles E of Hunstanton

  • Contact in advance – restricted at weekends

  • Ian Symington

  • Holcombe Ingleby

  • Simon Rayner

Founded in 1892, Royal West Norfolk Golf Club is a classic, nothing much has changed here for 100 years. Squeezed beautifully between Brancaster Bay and the salt marshes, Royal West Norfolk truly is a peaceful golf links, except when the wind blows and boy, is the wind bracing here! 

Check the tide times before you plan your trip to Royal West Norfolk Golf Club. The course plays on a narrow strip of links-land which gets cut off at high tide, turning it into an island. If you are lucky enough to play the course during high tide, you are in for a real treat; the downside is that you will need plenty of golf balls.

Prior to your game, grab a quick drink in the oak-panelled Smoke Room inside the Victorian clubhouse and check the wind speed on the gauge next to the bar. If you want to eat after your round, make sure you order before you play, otherwise you will only be offered a choice of delicious cakes.

“In the days of the gutty it was most emphatically a driver’s course,” wrote Bernard Darwin in his book, The Golf Courses of the British Isles, “since nobody could get over the ground without exceptional hitting. Even now, when the pampering Haskell has noticeably reduced its terrors, it is still a driver’s course, in the sense that it is one on which one derives the maximum of sensual pleasure from opening one’s shoulders for a wooden club shot.” 

Out on the course, you feel delightfully isolated; often all you can hear are the seductive sounds of the wind, the seagulls, the clinking of stays and the flapping of boat sails. Essentially, the course is a traditional out and back links; huge sleeper-faced bunkers, fast greens and that beautiful links turf. A magical place to play golf. However, three-ball play is only allowed at the discretion of the Secretary and four-ball play is forbidden.

“Few things are more terrifying than the first hole at Brancaster on a cold, raw, windy morning,” wrote Darwin, “when our wrists are stiff and our beautiful steely-shafted driver feels like a poker. There is a bunker – really a very big, deep bunker – right in front of our noses.”  

Beware the weather at Brancaster though; it can take you by surprise. The last time we played was a late spring day and we ignored the black clouds to the west. After all, we were on the 15th and the sun was shining. By the time we reached the 17th it was raining and by the 18th, we faced a full-blown tempest. When, soaked to the skin, we arrived to knowing smiles in the clubhouse, the wind gauge was fluctuating between 50 and 55mph.

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Reviews for Royal West Norfolk

Av. Reviewers Score:

Keep this course a hidden secret. Old time experience in a similar way as Prestwick, and St Andrews Old, a very special place. You will see dogs everywhere here, in the club house and on the course, I think it is a good move to have the pets out there. The course is as simple as it gets but very effective, a few blind shots, with a lot of bounces. They play fast here, it is a strictly enforced 2 ball course and member don't like to wait on visitors. The way you arrive to the course is fun too, watch out for the tides and after the round make sure you stop off at the Ship for a bite and pint. The club house is from a bygone era, great to se the club preserve it, the course and all the other things that make this place unique. Surely an experience to remember for all golfers.
February 10, 2008


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Superb, true, natural links with great greens and many interesting holes. Affords great views across the north sea and the Staiths / Harbour. Fascinating, unspoilt club house that hasn't changed since it was built. Also new practice facilities which are first rate and a good pro shop. On balance I prefer Brancaster to Hunstanton but only just, both are top 25 English Golf courses.
October 08, 2007


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Played this course only a week ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. The course was in excellent condition and this made the day that much more enjoyable. Overall, I think the course is good but it doesn’t compare with other classic link courses. Not too many holes you would remember but then again no poor holes. We played £70 for a day ticket and thought that was good value. I prefer Hunstanton to Brancaster though as I feel the back nine is tougher and has a better layout. Brancaster is still a good course though and I recommend that you play both if you have time. Note: If you can carry your bag then do so as the terrain is tough for pulling a trolley. Enjoy !!
September 26, 2007


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Brancaster is without doubt one of the finest places to play golf in this country, for me the whole place is perfect. If you can be fortunate enough to play the course at high tide you are in for a rare, but difficult,treat.Having played there I now have a new ambition in life, to retire to Brancaster and play golf at Royal West Norfolk - if only !!
August 09, 2007


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Royal West Norfolk is a quaint and quirky place...but not a great golf course.The setting is spectactular, particularly in you are lucky enough to have cross the entry road during a high tide. The views from clubhouse and many of the holes are spectactular.The ambience is simple, but not overly charming.The course itself was a let down for me. The opening and closing holes suffer from being crammed into the narrowest part of the course. Once you pass the 5th hole the experience ois magical because of its remote beauty. The design of many of these holes is quicrky and challenging, but not particularly good.Overall I would recommend it to anyone who wants to experience the feel of a links course from a time gone by.
July 21, 2007


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Brancaster remains the best place for a game of golf in England. We played there on a perfect July day in almost complete isolation, and found (as ever) the whole experience utterly beguiling. Hospitality, ambience, course, greens, views all wonderful. Modest fairway watering and loads of rain make it slightly greener than before, and the rough is currently vicious (as is an SSS of 71 off the white tees). But for anybody off 18 or better, I don't see how a day at Brancaster could easily be beaten.
July 11, 2007


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You have to play this golf course,its brilliant.Being quite calm in the morning made it slightly easier but when the wind got up in the afternoon it was pure hard golf.We was made very welcome by everyone including the two fine gentlemen in the smoking room who before we left for our 2nd round were drinking red wine and when we returned in the afternoon were still there.The clubhouse is something to be seen (old golf style).Not one bad golf hole,you must do this and great value.
May 31, 2007


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Incredibly difficult, unforgiving and if the wind is blowing some holes are virtually impossible.A truly humbling but absolutely brilliant golfing experience.
May 11, 2007


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Beauty and elegance. RWN is a now wonderful quirky echo of a time long gone. The clubhouse is plain, well worn and a quite homely refuge from the elements. If you want peace and isolation then this course delivers both. The day I played it last September was calm, the tide was out and the couse was quite benign. I can easliy imagine it chopping one off at the knees in a howling gale.
April 03, 2007


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A course of character and majesty, in great abundance. Despair, therefore, that it remains in constant danger of tidal destruction. And, although its near neighbour, Hunstanton, may be more of a Championship course, regard Brancaster as a definitive challenge, to both your physical and mental game-its is a golfing game of chess, and you are constantly under fear of "checkmate" from the deep, sleeper faced bunkers, the hard and long rough, the wind and water, delightful! Holes to cherish include the 3rd, 4th, 6th (a develish par three with the green set out in the marsh!), 8th, 9th, 10th, 15th and 16th. Its a shorter walk back than it is out, but, if the wind is a'blowing, it'll feel double that. Timewarp golf. Polite and formal rather than friendly and effusive membership and clubhouse but I guess the history and ancient golfing traditions have set into one and all. Do play it.
December 04, 2006


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