I played Royal St David’s last month for the first time during a trip that included Aberdovey, Nefyn and Conwy. There’s nothing particularly negative to say about RSD except that the 220-yard par three 14th needs re-thinking as Jim McCann has already mentioned. It’s not often the case, but this par three is a far better hole from the ladies tee. Unfortunately I doubt the club will want to shorten the 14th because that would drop the total yardage from the back tees to less than 6,600 yards. St David’s is certainly not short however, and it is indeed a very tough par 69 but I actually think that is the heart of the issue which will prevent RSD from moving much higher in the Britain and Ireland rankings. The course is not well balanced, with the only two par fives on the card coming back-to-back at holes 7 and 8. RSD relies on the strength of its long par fours for teeth. With no fewer than seven 400+ yarders this is no easy course on which to score and it’s plain to see why many call this the toughest par 69 in Britain. But variation for me is more important than long par four after long par four. If the club could find another couple of hundred yards to create two more par fives on the homeward nine then RSD might give Royal Porthcawl a run for its money. Porthcawl offers a much sterner test on a more conventionally configured course and, of course, fantastic sea views from virtually every hole. I enjoyed RSD very much and recommend it thoroughly, however, on balance I think Aberdovey is my pick of the north Wales courses… but only just. Both are well worth the trip from wherever you live in the world.
Date: July 30, 2011