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.

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Reviews for Royal St David's

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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: 7.6 out of 10 Reviews: 61
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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
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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!
David Gollaher
Played in rain and wind late June 2008. A terrific links course, with the back nine (except for a surprising weak finishing par 3) comparable to the best in Ireland. On the 12th tee you face Harlech Castle on the hill with high mountains and clouds in the background. A magnificent outlook. With Porthcawl and Pennard, one of the finest links in Wales.
July 02, 2008
8 / 10
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Tom Sadowski
Gr8 course, lovely setting all in all a bargain. The last 6 holes especially 15 are brutal.
October 21, 2007
10 / 10
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Steve Jenkins
Fantastic course in excellent condition. It was a real challenge, even on a bright, warm, sunny day. A fair test but really severe on wayward shots. Very friendly and welcoming for such an historic club and a real bargain for £34 (with an Open fairways deal). A great day out - wish I'd booked to play 36 holes rather than just 18! I will be back very soon.
September 07, 2007
10 / 10
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papa rabbi
I have just got back from a bank holiday in North Wales with my other half but managed to sneak on to Royal St David's on the Saturday evening.It is a wonderful track and much cheaper than it would be if it wern't so inaccessable. The first 13 holes are unspectacular but a good test (the wind was stiff) as there are some good long par 4s. 14, 15, 16 and 17 are wonderful though and worth the price on their own. Oh to have more holes in the dunes!
May 07, 2007
8 / 10
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Pantera_Heath
By far the best course in north wales, all down to a brilliant and demanding back 9. From the tenth onwards this course is as hard as it gets with the par of 69 irrelavent. 14-17 are fantastic holes set in towering dunes, which provides some memorable tee shots. Take plenty of balls to play this one.
May 06, 2007
10 / 10
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Tim Browne
Superb championship links course, a real test of golf.
August 17, 2005
8 / 10
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Peter Lacey
Without doubt a long tough test of golf and a must do golfing experience, but should it be in the top 100.? With far to many flat, bland, unmemorable holes, there are far more and better golf courses in the UK deserving of a top 50 place. Without thinking out loud County Louth, Aberdovey, Deal and Saunton East & West to name only four blow this course away.!
August 03, 2005
4 / 10
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Bob
Royal St Davids Harlech is the top course in this area- no question. If it were not so much out of the way from the nearest motorways it would be two or three times the price. It is long and hard but oh so good. The standard scratch is well above par. They run a junior open every Easter and only charge £2.00. What an opportunity for youngsters wanting to play a quality course. Well done Harlech- keep it up.
March 11, 2005
8 / 10
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Hugh
If the closing hole could be improved slightly, Royal St David's would have one of the finest back nines in all golf. 15th and 16th are truly magnificent holes...especially when the wind is up. The quality and condition of the greens is always first rate. This is a ridiculously difficult par 69 layout...more like par 73. Having said that, it's a fantastic experience Harlech is a genuine must-play course.
January 04, 2005
8 / 10
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