Why play here?
With views towards the peaks of Snowdonia and the looming presence of Harlech Castle, a round at Royal St David’s never lacks for drama. But even divorced of its evocative setting, the club’s rugged links would surely quicken the pulse. With unpredictable crosswinds and seven par 4s each weighing in at well over 400 yards, a low score requires power and precision. Thick rough lies in wait for wayward shots, justifying the course’s reputation as the world’s toughest par 69.
Did you know?
The club’s name takes its cues from St Andrews in Scotland and St George’s in England. When Harold Finch-Hatton and William Henry Moore founded the club in 1894, it made sense to give it an immediate identity by naming it after Wales’s patron saint. The Royal part came a little later, when King Edward VII gave St David’s his patronage. Connections with the crown were further strengthened in 1934, when Edward VIII – then Prince of Wales – became club captain.
What the players say
‘Having just returned from a trip to North Wales I was compelled to write a review of what has to be one of the very best links courses I have played. The greens were fantastic and so was the course. The front nine is pretty flat and doesn’t feel as links-y as the back nine but each hole was challenging and memorable in its own right. As previously stated, the back six is superb. Challenging, rugged and each hole a real test. Thoroughly enjoyed the course and it’s comfortably up there with Royal Porthcawl, Aberdovey and Pennard as superb links courses!’
Off the course
With its close proximity to the club, a visit to Harlech Castle is obligatory. Its walls remain so imposing and well-preserved that it is hard to believe it was built back in the 13th century. Nearby Portmeirion should also be on the itinerary. The Italianate village is a charming curio, built from the ground up between 1925 and 1972 by Sir Clough William-Ellis. Its innate otherworldliness was utilised in the 1960s when it provided the setting for cult TV series The Prisoner.
For more information, please visit the Royal St David’s website.