Royal St David's - North Wales - Wales

Royal St David's Golf Club,
Harlech,
Gwynedd,
LL46 2UB,
Wales


  • +44 (0) 1766 780361

  • Golf Club Website

  • ¼ mile W of Harlech

  • Current handicap required – book in advance

  • Trefor Davies

  • Harold Finch-Hatton, William Henry More

  • Gareth Lewis


The glorious setting for the Royal St David’s links at Harlech is nothing short of beautiful and romantic. The forbidding medieval Harlech castle and towering sand dunes guard the course. Behind the dunes, to the northwest, is the sweeping bay of Tremadog and to the north are views across to Snowdon and the lesser peaks of Snowdonia. “Small wonder if the visitor falls in love with Harlech at first sight,” wrote Bernard Darwin in The Golf Courses of the British Isles, “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.”

Did you know that Royal St David’s came out top in an analysis of your favourite Welsh courses? Click here for more.

According to folklore, Harold Finch-Hatton reputedly identified the links upon his return from Australia, originally using the area for boomerang practice. Finch-Hatton teamed up with William Henry More and in 1894 St David’s was born. It seemed appropriate that Wales should have a golf club called St David’s, after all, Scotland has St Andrews and England has St George’s. Edward VII granted the club royal patronage in 1908.

Locals regard Royal St David’s as the world’s toughest par 69. Who would argue with them? The course measures 6,500 yards from the back tees. It’s not your usual out-and-back links – the holes zigzag in all directions, subjecting each shot to the vagaries of the prevailing westerly wind.

The opening dozen holes are fully exposed to the elements. They play back and forth across fairly flat and at times, open ground. When the 13th hole is reached, the landscape changes dramatically and at last we enter rippling undulating dune land. The bunker free par four 15th requires a long carry across dunes from an elevated tee to a narrow fairway, Mount Snowdon is in the distance. A decent drive leaves a partially blind approach shot to a raised green nestling between sand dunes. You might catch a quick glimpse of the Irish Sea from the 16th tee before turning back inland towards the clubhouse. Unusually, Royal St David’s closes out with a fairly ordinary, but tough 200-yard par three with the green directly in front of the clubhouse.

Royal St David’s has hosted many major amateur championships over the years. There are a number of famous names on the roll of honour, including Cecil Leitch. In 1926, she beat Mrs Garon 8&7 to win the Ladies’ British Amateur Championship. More recently, in 1994, Sweden’s Freddie Jacobson won the British Youths Open Amateur Championship here at Harlech.

If the above article is inaccurate, please let us know by clicking here

Write a review

Reviews for Royal St David's

Average Reviewers Score:
Description: The glorious setting for Royal St David’s Golf Club is nothing short of beautiful and romantic. The forbidding medieval Harlech castle and towering sand dunes guard the course. Rating: 7.7 out of 10 Reviews: 60
TaylorMade
Bobo
Having just returned from a trip to North Wales I was compelled to write a review on what has to be one of the very best links courses I have played. We played this and Nefyn and I have to say that RSD is streets ahead of Nefyn in terms of quality, challenge and appeal. The greens were fantastic and so was the course. The front nine is pretty flat and doesn't feel as 'linksy' as the back nine but each hole was memorable and were challenging in their own right. As previously stated, the back 6 is superb. Challenging, rugged and each hole a real test. Thoroughly enjoyed the course and its comfortbaly up there with Royal Porthcawl, Aberdovey and Pennard as superb Welsh Links courses!
March 07, 2010
8 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful

Kevin Butterfield
Just played 36 holes in the middle of February on possibly the best greens I've ever had the privilege to play on. The pro and catering staff were very helpful and for £40 what a bargain. Would recommend this course to anyone who wants a great test of golf in a great setting. Will definitely be returning in the summer as the pro said the greens would be much quicker! can't wait.
February 20, 2010
10 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful

Andrew Markham
Overall a course which appears to benefit from its remote Welsh location. On arrival at Harlech there is a vista of duneland, unfortunately it only comes into play for the final few holes. It is a difficult, well-maintained course, however if situated on, say, the Lancashire coast, it would not be in the top 100. How can Royal St David's be ranked ahead of Formby, Burnham and Berrow, Hunstanton, West Lancashire, Portstewart, Castlerock, Wallasey and Seacroft, to name a few courses with which it may be fairly compared. Do the surrounding views somehow enhance the playing qualities of the golf course.
November 04, 2009
4 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful

Response
ivan
November 05, 2009
Astonishing - the above reviewer has obviously not had to hang onto a good score through the last 6 holes ! The thing about the views is that if everything is going pear shaped at least you can look up at the castle and snowdonia. From a personal piont of view Royal St Davids goes down as one of my top 5 links course, and I have played many in the top 50 of the UK - all down the personal taste !
am
November 14, 2009
A problem when playing a renowned course is that of expectation. Royal St David's was a disappointment - as were Hoylake, Prestwick and Troon. I have not yet played Muirfield, Portmarnock or the classis West Coast Irish links. A listing of top linksland course would be Birkdale, Carnoustie, Dornoch, Formby, Lytham St Annes, Portrush, St George's and Turnberry. Royal St David's is not in the same bracket as such courses. The only astonishing is that Royal St David's can be ranked nearly forty places ahead of Portstewart and Castlerock, and fifty or more ahead of Gullane and Southerness. The remarks about the final six holes, Snowdonia and Harlech Castle would seem to endorse the review.
ed
August 03, 2010
Did you really play RSD? This course is in very good condition 365 days a year and is a true test of golf whatever handicap you play to. Most holes require accurate drives and second shots so as not to end up in real trouble. From a personal point of view I have played all the Lancashire coast courses and RSD matches any of them.
am
August 09, 2010
Nowhere in the review does it suggest that Royal St David's was not in good condition or that it was not a good test, simply that it does not merit 47th in GB&I and that there are many superior lower ranked courses, all named. I am not the only reviewer to make this point. If you consider Royal St David's to be equal in merit to Hillside, Formby, Royal Birkdale, West Lancs and Royal Lytham St. Annes you are entitled your opinion, just as I am to mine. And yes, gross 83, one over handicap.
Dan Hare
I am a bit surprised by some of the negative reviews here. Some of the middle holes are a bit forgettable, true. But what a finish into the prevailing wind, and heading into the welcoming and atmospheric clubhouse under the unforgiving gaze of the castle is a great experience. Played it twice and both times found it a memorable and good value place to play golf. Harlech is also a fun town to stay in as a group and remenisce about those lost balls.
June 09, 2009
8 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful

Johnners
Played this on Sat 30th & many of the group really struggled as its very punishing, maybe too much in places. Personally I thought if you were sensible and played the right club off tee rather than just smashing driver it was a great test. Spectacular scenery & backdrop to match. Well worth a visit
May 31, 2009
6 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful

simon smith
Played last week and thoroughly enjoyed the course. Greens a bit slow but overall condition was very good. Not the toughest course you'll ever play (and we did play in a strong breeze) but you will enjoy the challenge. Enjoy !!
May 23, 2009
6 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful

Response
Ben B
May 27, 2009
Err, what do you play off? Back 9 not tough enough for you then??!!
steve
the back 9 on this golf course is the toughest 9 holes i have ever encountered. i am a 2 handicap and my game was stretched to the limit. the stretch of holes between 5 and 9 are a little bland, but once you hit the back nine it's game on again. Super slick greens that were a pleasure to putt on.
April 26, 2009
8 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful

steve grainger
Really is one of the courses that I can't see what the fuss is about. Admittedly the holes set in the dunes on the back 9 are good and views of the castle are nice - but there must be 12 holes that are distinctly average
February 11, 2009
2 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful

Response
BB
February 11, 2009
2 ball rating are you joking.
david richards
February 13, 2009
I play Harlech a lot and in my opinion the only weak hole is 17 now they have changed the fairway. Each hole offers up many challenges, and you literally need every club in the bag.Not questioning your remarks (every one is entitled to their own opinion), just intrigued as to which 12 holes in your opinion are average and why.
Paul Keen
March 23, 2009
There is nothing average about this golf course. Its a gentle opening couple of holes (if there is no wind) but once you reach the tough par 3 4th you will already be in love with the course. There are no 2 holes the same and hitting your handicap here is something to be proud of even if there is no wind!! The 14th has to be one of the greatest holes you can possibly wish to play. All this and great views. An absolute treat!
james wallace
I have played Royal St David’s several times now and I just love this course. This time round we played in early October and the condition of the course was awesome, greens amazing, even in the wind and rain we really enjoyed it. To have Snowdonia National Park and the castle as the back drop to every Tee shot is simply amazing and inspiring. Some people say that the front 9 is pretty bland but I completely disagree, Strategically placed bunkers on many holes mean you have to think your way around the course. The tee shot from the 12th is unforgettable and the 14th, 15th, 16th and 17th are all a great test of pure links golf. The club is weathered looking from the outside but has all facilities needed, good food and friendly staff. Club pro was friendly and it includes a well stocked club shop. The only grumble I have is the tame finish to the round as the 18th is an easy par 3! But at £55 for a day ticket this course is a must for us every year. I love it.
October 15, 2008
10 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful

Ben
This is my favourite course and I have played most of the best in Wales (playing Porthcawl in Feb so we'll see). We played 36 holes at the beginning of October and got a day ticket for about £50. The first thing to say is that the greens were unbelievable for that time of year - receptive and quick. We played it last year and loved the course but were a bit disappointed because the greens had been treated but this year the course was perfect. The clubhouse has that old feel to it but has everything you need, showers and food were good and the staffand pro were very friendly. Returning to the course this year I had the memory that the front 9 was a bit bland and the back 9 was nails but picturesque. I can now say for certain that the front 9 is not that easy, 1, 3 & 4 are all long holes into the wind and against the backdrop of Snowdonia, it is a fantastic 9 holes. Everyone knows how good the renowned back 9 is, teeing off on 12 is an awesome feeling and two of us managed to birdie it. 15 is my favourite hole in golf - just wish I could par it. Will definately be returning next year, have only given it an Eagle because it is the highest course I have played in the 100 so far.
October 13, 2008
8 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful

Response
lexo
October 14, 2008
we found St Davids a slight let down (similar to you a forgetful front 9 - my review is listed below 8 Oct 2008) but if you enjoy playing courses in Wales then i suggest you play Pyle + Kenfig, Southerndown and Pennard all are great and will provide you and your mates a real test
Ben
October 15, 2008
Thanks Lexo, I've heard about P&K and Pennard but will check Southerdown out, thanks very much. Re St Davids front 9, it is testing enough in my opinion. 1,3 and 9 are tough, 2 & 4 are cracking holes, agreed the two par 5s are a bit bland and 5 & 6 are short par 4s but with the backdrop of Snowdonia I don't think you can call it forgetful!