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 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.

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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: 8.9 out of 10 Reviews: 89
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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
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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
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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
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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
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jimmy
World class. Need I say any more?
March 09, 2008
10 / 10
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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
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cjfoster
Played this on a windy late October Day. Fantastic experience but very difficult for mere mortal mid handicap golfers like myself. 4 holes - no points then suddently I began to hit the ball properly and four pars in a row! Bunkers rae a major defense on most holes (take your medicine in the fairways) and only one flat lie all day. In the end Iwas somewhatw eather beaten and battered but 28 points and the pure history of the place made the (very) expensive green fee worth it. The facilities generally are just OK (its an old fashioned club- proud of its traditions) - remeber a jacket and tie if yo want to explore. Pro and Caddie master very friendly. If your in Kent (I was on a family holiday nearby) any keen golfer would would regret missing the opportunity - if you can afford it!
October 28, 2007
8 / 10
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kelly conway
I recently played RSG for the 2nd time and I came away with a very similar perception as I had from my previous visit.It has a very nice, old world ambience: Very nice clubhouse and many tasteful rewminders ofits Open Championship heritage.The setting is however mixed: the initial holes that play away from the power plant are pleasant; however the views back towards the power plant and the pfizer faciilty border on being ugly.The course itself opens well and has many outstanding and very difficult holes. I found the close (17 & 18) weak and somewhat of a let down.
July 21, 2007
6 / 10
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Response
Carl
February 25, 2008
Relief is how I'd describe 17 and 18.
Anthony Daniels
April 02, 2010
I would say that 17 or 18 are neither a let down nor a relief. 17 is a brute when played into the wind, as it generally is, and it has probably the smallest green on the course which is also a raised target. 18 is a little easier but you must still be long and straight. As another reviewer has said, I wouldn't fancy needing a par down here to win the Open. Fair play to the man that manages that.
faisal
It took me weeks after playing it to fully appreciate it. The greens were large and true but very subtle. The bunkers would eat up your balls. The fairways meandered between mounds and at times you coudn't tell where u were going. its one hell of a test and a must play course.
July 17, 2007
10 / 10
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Neil
I played RSG in a howling gale. The front nine were not too exposed and I was 4 over, the back nine were mercilessly wind swept ... 12 over. The course is however magnificent and even in winter plays off full tees and greens. The greens were quick and true and beautifully kept. For such a prestigious and rather exclusive club the officials and green staff I met during the day were very friendly and welcoming. I have played some of the great links course in the UK including the Old Course at St Andrews and this is right up there with the best. It's pot luck whether you get to play in the wind or not but even though conditions were tough it was a day to remember.
April 03, 2007
8 / 10
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