Royal St George's - Kent - England

Royal St George's Golf Club,
Sandwich,
Kent,
CT13 9PB,
England


  • +44 (0) 1304 613090


Visit Golfbreaks.com for a golf holiday at Royal St George's

Royal St George’s was the first English course to host the Open Championship and is the fourth most used Open venue (host to 14 Opens) after St Andrews, Prestwick and Muirfield.

Date Winner Country
1894 John H.Taylor England
1899 Harry Vardon England
1904 Jack White Scotland
1911 Harry Vardon England
1922 Walter Hagen USA
1928 Walter Hagen USA
1934 Henry Cotton England
1938 Reg Whitcombe England
1949 Bobby Locke S Africa
1981 Bill Rogers USA
1985 Sandy Lyle Scotland
1993 Greg Norman Australia
2003 Ben Curtis USA
2011 Darren Clarke N Ireland
2020 Cancelled Cancelled
2021 TBC TBC

In 1885, Dr William Laidlaw Purves of Royal Wimbledon Golf Club, spotted from the vantage point of St Clement’s church a spectacular piece of undulating land with expansive sand dunes. Being a Scot and a keen scratch golfer, he decided that there was only one thing to do with this links land; create a golf course. In 1887, the course opened for play and was named 'St George’s' after the English patron saint.

"For a course that is still comparatively young," wrote Bernard Darwin in his 1910 book, The Golf Courses of the British Isles, "Sandwich has had more than its share of ups and downs. It was heralded with much blowing of trumpets and without undergoing any period of probation, burst full-fledged into fame."

After only seven years of play, in 1894, Sandwich hosted its first of fourteen Open Championships. This was the first Open to be played outside Scotland.

Royal patronage was granted in 1902 and the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VIII) became club captain. Many celebrated people have been affiliated with the club; the great golf writer Bernard Darwin was president of Royal St George’s between 1952 and 1961.

The course is not a traditional out and back layout. In a similar style to Muirfield, each nine is broadly circular, a loose figure of eight. There is nothing artificial about Royal St George’s; there is a natural look and feel to the course that blends beautifully into the surroundings, with wild flowers, dune grasses and the sweet song of the lark. Commanding views over Pegwell Bay and the white cliffs of Dover ensure an engaging experience.

All the holes are very different and memorable, a true sign of a great golf course. Royal St George’s also has some unique features; thatched roof shelters, the red cross of St George on the flags, and that bunker on the 4th hole cut into a huge dune, the UK’s tallest and deepest bunker. If you can carry that famous bunker on this 470-yard par four, then you can enjoy the peace of the fairway beyond, called the 'Elysian Fields'.

The par three 6th is called the 'Maiden'. We’ll let Bernard Darwin explain why: “There stands the ‘Maiden’ steep, sandy and terrible, with her face scarred and seamed with black timbers, but alas! we no longer have to drive over her crown: we hardly do more than skirt the fringe of her garment.” 'Suez Canal' is the 14th, so called according to Darwin because; “many a second shot has found a watery grave”. The 15th is considered architecturally to be one of the most impressive in golf because the fairway bunkers are virtually symmetrical.

"After the strategic school of golf architecture started to dominate thinking in the early 20th century, it became fashionable to criticize Sandwich as a big hitter's paradise, with too many blind shots," wrote Tom Doak in The Confidential Guide to Golf Courses. "After the First World War, some of the most famous holes were changed – the Maiden hole was re-oriented so one did not have to play up and over the famous dune, and greens like the 9th and 17th were moved from blind hollows to their present locations on grand plateaus, perhaps by Dr. MacKenzie himself."

In the mid 1970s, Frank Pennink was brought in to eliminate further blindness. Three new holes were built and tee changes were made to two other holes. Many, except for devout traditionalists, believe that these changes further improved the layout.

"Whatever petty criticisms have been leveled over the lack of visibility on some holes, or the need for good fortune to master its difficulties, Sandwich has the four prerequisites of great architecture, and it has them in spades," continues Tom Doak. "Challenging golf holes, beautifully crafted greens and bunkers, a character of its own, and stunning scenery."

Royal St George’s certainly represents one of the most difficult tests of golf, requiring courage, confidence and solid ball striking. Severely undulating fairways make good scoring very tough indeed. Often the tee shot will come to rest on an upslope or a down slope, then one needs to hit a long iron or fairway wood into the green from an uneven lie.

Ian Fleming, the author of the James Bond books, was a member here at Royal St George’s. The golf scenes from the film Goldfinger were filmed at Stoke Park, but Fleming called the course “Royal St Marks” in the film, no doubt inspired by his home club.

Sandwich is a classic links course, summed up nicely by Bernard Darwin: “My idea of heaven as is to be attained on an earthly links”. Darwin went on to become president of the club between 1952 and 1961.

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

Write a review

Reviews for Royal St George's

Average Reviewers Score:
Description: There's nothing artificial about Royal St George’s Golf Club; there's a natural look and feel to the course that blends beautifully into its historical Sandwich surroundings. Rating: 9 out of 10 Reviews: 93
TaylorMade
Sandy Ritchie
I played here on an overcast and fairly windy day in mid March eagerly anticipating the test ahead and I must say I was not disappointed. Off the medal tees and with a 2-3 club wind blowing this is one of the most testing courses I have ever played. There is a good variety to the holes with some interesting short par 4’s, classic par 3’s with penal bunkering and the par 5 “Suez Canal” poses a plethora of challenges to anyone who is anything short of being a pure ball striker. Enjoyably most holes are played in what feels like isolation to the rest and the large greens (although still early in the season) seemed true and should be of great speed in the summer months. Highlights include watching your drive soar over the gargantuan bunkering on the 4th and the split fairway, par 4 eighth. I think I will have to play in the summer to get a true feel for the place as there was no definition of the rough and many bunkers were still G.U.R but in spite of this and the fact that the surrounding scenery is not in the same league as say Kingsbarns, it was still a fascinating test of golf. The pro’s will not get it easy here in 2011!
March 27, 2009
8 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

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

wesley
Played this on Friday 27th February for £70 winter fee16 degrees c and not a drop of water on the course, best day of the year and i got a winter rate too!!When i got there i was hit by the charm and sense of occassion that this course exudes.Very good service from the caddiemaster and i was directed to the driving range to warm up.The driving range was immaculate and you can tell immediately that you are at a class golf course, it was like hitting off Greens!I started off on the tenth hole and did not have anyone infront of me all-round.The course was immaculate there was alot of work going on with the bunkers, to see the effort they are putting into these for the forthcoming open they are hosting really shows their commitment to making this a great course. Some of these bunkers are monsters!My favourite holes were the 10th, 14th, 15th & 16th; the 16th has to be the best par 3 i have ever seen.As briefly stated before this course is an amazing layout; the quality of the course makes it in a league of its own; the greens; whilst recently hollow tined were very true and very fast, i can only imagine how tough they can be in the height of summer!!Rough was tough and long but not as bad as i expected in places, so long as you stick to the fairways you wont lose a ball! There are some blind shots and some real risk and reward shot options on lots of holes. There was only a slight breeze; i was lucky- no doubt that if there is a real wind, this course will be the toughest out there.All in all i am overwhelmed at my time at this course and will re-visit to really enjoy it now knowing the layout.
March 01, 2009
10 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

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

Max Monroe
RSG is an excellent Links course even if the British Open weren't played here it would still be one of the best examples of Links golf. RSG has sand dunes, rough, (rough and rough), deep bunkers, blind shots, strategic play is required, the bump and run into greens is almost always an option and you will find the short grass a true "fairway" with lots of bounces where some bounces better than others. There is a good practice area to warm up or practice the deep bunker recovery. The club itself is understated (which you hardly see in the United States these days). On a busy day you might see 15 autos in the car park it isn't a place of the tour busses and crazed tourists this is a traditional, classic club just as you would want to experience. The clubhouse is nice and the mens locker room is one of the most posh you will find in GB&I. Once you see the locker room you will understand it was built for the pro's. The lunches in the spike bar need some help for a club this nice they should offer something tastier, I can't speak for the dining room however I didn't bring my jacket and tie. The Starter is a character he drew me a map on the score card of where to walk and where to aim my shots it was very helpful as you can get lost amongst the dunes (not many English links play amongst sand dunes as you would expect which make this course stand out). The pro shop is well stocked with goodies to take home. But none the less the course is why you will visit and it is a real championship test. Bring lots of balls as the rough is deep and you won't find them strayed tee shots (at least during certain times of the year).
February 27, 2009
10 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

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

Tim Gorman
A no-arguments "Cathedral of Golf." I have played this every year for the last 7 years (and Harry, please get booking for 2009). Usually we play in April but in 08 we played in mid-June. What a difference. The rough was punishing for having 2 more months to grow. But nothing can take the shine off this course. Every time I play there I love it a little bit more. Every hole has its own distinctive character. I have finally figured out how to play the 4th without being intimidated by the Himalayan bunkering facing you from the tee. But holes 4,5,8,10,13,15 & 17 are just tough links holes without contrived trickery. The course feels as if it was gently carved out of its enviroment. If it had the views of RCD or Tralee it would be impossible to fault. Top-notch...Tim Gorman
February 25, 2009
10 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

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

Response
Tim Gorman
February 25, 2009
I know this is probably not the done thing, but I forgot to mention the food in the dining room. Yes it is a pain putting on the jacket and tie, but the food that you will be rewarded with is worth the effort - better than anywhere else, Muirfield and Rye included!
J Barber
Great course and always in excellent condition. Much more quirky then neighbouring Deal and Prince's with quite a few blind shots, especially on the front nine.
October 18, 2008
10 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

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

Richard Smith
This is a great, great golf course and in my mind unique among the current Open courses. There are several blind or near blind tee shots and a blind second to the fifth which is more reminiscent of Prestwick than any of the other modern Open venues. This course requires first class driving skills to negotiate, and the first ten holes play through and around some outstanding dunes but the inward nine never lacks for interest. I found the greens and green complexes very interesting, especially the narrow eleventh and the devilishly sloped 10th. The steep right slope on 16 proved the ruin of Thomas Bjorn in the 2003 Open, and there are many similar challenges throughout this course. We were able to secure a day ticket to play the course twice, and if you have the means and the stamina I would certainly play this great course twice. The highlight of the club may be Doug, the caddiemaster, who served as starter, caddiemaster, course and tour guide all in one. Our lunch on the patio was excellent, and I recommend the Royal St. George's club sandwich, with turkey inside and a fried egg and bacon on top. Quite an unusual delicacy for a yank like me. Finally, the members we met were various gracious and even arranged for a ride back into our hotel in Sandwich. What a great, great day at a magnificent golf course and a wonderful club. Richard Smith, Knoxville, Tennessee
August 07, 2008
10 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

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

harryd
when i played this course, there was absolutely no wind, which might explain why it was not as hard as i expected, but it is still not an easy coursei found this course real fun, and the holes were great, i just didn't want to stop playing i could never get boredi imagine, that if the wind was up, then it could be a very hard course, but it is not so without it.as well as this, their sunday roast is very goodi would recommend this course to anyone who wants a tough challenge, and is a fan of links courses
June 30, 2008
8 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

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

Carl Tushingham
Played here last winter and just about had the whole course to ourselves!! Extremely friendly, helpful and knowledgable starter. He drew diagrams of where to aim are tee shots for nearly every hole, just as well he did as you sometimes feel you can aim in every direction. Had the run of the clubhouse as well, which has a magnificent winners board!! The course itself is the hardest test of golf possible even with no wind. The bunkers are huge along the fairways and greens. The greens weren't the best as they had been hollow tyned, but had wicked breaks. Every hole is fantastic, this is a must play course. Can't wait to return.
June 03, 2008
10 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

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

jimmy
World class. Need I say any more?
March 09, 2008
10 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

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

MikeM
Played Prince's on the Monday and RSG on the Tuesday, while staying at RSG on Monday night. I grew up in America and have lived in the UK for 11 years and think this is my favorite links course. I usually forget holes on links courses, but can remember every hole at RSG because each had it's own charater in a way that is tough to explain until you compare it to Prince's (which is just the otherside of the out of bounds on the 14th hole). The holes were not unfairly hard, but you do get penalized for bad shots in the rought with a couple of lost balls and expect the rub of the green like any other links style course. A caddie is a must for the first time because there were some tees that you would think you could tee off in 360 degrees not knowing exactly where the fairway is.
February 25, 2008
10 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

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