Royal St David's - North Wales - Wales

Royal St David's Golf Club,
LL46 2UB,

  • +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.”

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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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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
David Richards
Harlech is a daunting proposition from the moment you turn up. The imposing Harlech castle which watches ever shot gives an eery indication of the challenge ahead. Set out on relatively flat terrain Harlech plays as two very different nines. The front nine allows you get a score going with minimal hazards and accomodating fairways. However you need to get a score going as the back nine is possibly the toughest nine holes anywhere outside of the open rosta. When you turn for the tenth little are you aware of the treat in store. The back nine bobs and weaves its way through sand dunes and hillocks. All amounting to some seriously intimidating golf shots but some breathtaking golf holes. Often referred to as the toughest par 69 in the world, this is one of the main reasons North Wales has such a strong golfing heritage and tied in with Aberdovey, Nefyn and Conwy you are sure of a real treat of differing yet immensley pleasing golf. The clubhouse and members are very accomodating and in a club of such history it is nice to see that the members still love to tell the tales.
April 22, 2004
8 / 10
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