Royal St. David's Golf Club

Royal St. David's Golf Club, Harlech, North Wales, Wales, LL46 2UB

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25 reviews of Royal St. David's Golf Club

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Having heard so much about Royal St David's, the 'Jewell in the crown' of North Wales,I was really excited about playing here.....unfortunately, I found it the most disappointing course I have played in a very long time. Failed to live up to the hype and I left the course feeling that the £45 green fee we paid was daylight robbery!

The weather has been bad and I know that's no one's fault, so I'm not blaming the club for that.... But there are drainage problems and then there are drainage problems! The fact that not a single bunker was playable as they were literally as full of water as little ponds (and had clearly been for a while, by the looks of some of them!), the fairways were squelchy and sodden AND they still had the audacity to ask £45 for a round, left a pretty sour taste. The course itself was also pretty flat and dull.

If you're up in North Wales and fancy a game of golf, do yourself a favour.... Porthmadog is half the price and twice the quality! Go there and save yourself the disappointment we suffered!

Posted by Kellie Thorne on 14/04/2016
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Remarkable. Simply remarkable. Once of the best courses I've ever played (easily in my top 5) and easily my #1 for value for money !

Played here on the 5th Aug 2012 and the course was in brilliant condition, probably a little bit slower than other years at this time due to the amount of rain. Downside to the rain slowing teh course down was that it sped up the growing of the rough! Keep it straight and on the short stuff!

We all enjoyed how the course allows you to almost warm up whilst playing it with the front 9 being quite open but still forcing some good positional shots to attack the greens. What greens! Perfect in every way.

Then you reach the 14th, 15th & 16th. Tight, needing good long iron shots or fairway woods. Some great golf holes!

All in all, the staff were excellent, members polite and approachable and all overseen by Harlech Castle.

Great day, unbelievable golf course.

Posted by Adam on 09/08/2012
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What a wonderful Golf Course! During our recent Society Weekend (Ryder Cup format) we played our Singles Matches here on the last day. Sunny skies and light breezes perhaps made the course a little easier to play than if the weather gods had been in a sour mood, but it struck me that any hole could test any golfer to the limit and then spit out their bones (especially on the back 9!)
The first few holes are relatively straightforward but you are sucked in to the majesty and difficulty of Royal St David's: almost imperceptably the holes get more and more testing, with no two even vaguely similar. Beware the par 3 5th: you need more club than you think. Holes 13 to 16 are awesome. Anyone who gets through these in Nett Par will have done extrememly well such is their difficulty. (Too much for me on the day - Hey-Ho!).
Royal St Davids is a course that needs to be learned in order to play it well (I don't think you will ever master it) but frequent visits will see it show differents facets EVERY time. I've fallen in love...

Posted by Graham Adams on 14/07/2012
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This was one of my favorite courses on my trip to Wales. I particularly enjoy great scenery when I play, and to have a view of a medievel castle looming over the course was great. I played 18 holes in the morning, went to the castle and toured all throughout at mid-day, and finished with another 18 in the afternoon - What a day! And the hotel was right across the street so very minimal traveling. As for the course itself, there are no ocean views, but lots of dunes along side the holes. Plenty windy, fairly tight, a reasonable challenge. A bit more open on the front nine, gets a little tighter on the back nine. All in all, a must play - I only hope I'm fortunate enough to get back there someday.

Posted by alan peschansky on 12/12/2009
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Played 36 holes here last week and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Very true what others say, make your score on the front 9 as it's very easy to fritter away shots on the back 9. Course was in great shape with the greens running very true and at a comfortable pace. The rough however was absolutely penal.
If I was being really critical, I would say that the ranking held by this course (45th in latest Golf Monthly listings) is a bit flattering when you look at some of the courses below it but overall it is still a very tough and enjoyable course to play. Well worth the long trek to North Wales to play it, I don't think you will be disappointed.

Posted by Gordon Ross on 03/08/2009
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8 of us played 36 holes at St David's 3/7/09 - following on from 4 of us playing in July '08. No-one was disappointed by the course despite it's challenging nature (par 69 - sss 71 off the yellows).
The first impression (external) of the clubhouse is not the greatest but the warm welcome from the staff and the professional and the inside of the clubhouse soon dispel any misgivings. The food was good value for money and sereved quickly.
The course was in fantastic condition despite the heavy rain early in the morning with the warm weather and the strengthening wind making the afternoon's 18 a little tougher and making careful club selection a necessity.
To score well on the course required plotting your way around - rewarding straight, accurate tee shots and punishing truly wayward shots. The rough appears to have been beefed up this year (probably due to some of the forthcoming events) and contributed to quite a few lost balls.
The course comprises 2 back to back par 5's in the front nine, 4 par 3's (including one where the tee shot is blind and requires a 3 wood into the wind) and the remainder are a range of lengthy and/or narrow par 4s with great strategic bunkering.
The only gripe about the day was that the 17th hole has been modified and would benefit from some form of marker for the driving line.
All in all great value for money at £58 for 36 holes - I am sure it would command much more if it were seen to be more accessible.

Posted by Mark Woodward on 06/07/2009
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Played here March 08 ( £25.50 using a Daily Telegraph Open Fairways card).
Reasonable links, but not in the top bracket.I preferred the front 9 to the back 9.I thought the first 12 holes had a nice feel to them enhanced by fantastic mountain scenery.Having the castle overlooking the course is unusual & interesting too.
I thought the finish to the round was a bit of a letdown. There are only really 2 duney links holes towards the end & the last 2 holes are a bit featureless.This South side of the course isn't as attractive as it doesn't have the same expansive views as the front 9 & there is an ugly tower block & big derelict building on the adjacent hillside ,close to the finishing holes which give it a slightly drab feel.
Although the first 12 holes are on flattish terrain the holes are made interesting by being very well designed.The excellent bunkers have been very cleverly positioned .A poor tee shot invariably finds one & once in you can usually only advance forward with a wedge, thus making them a proper penalty.Also ,off the tee ,it's not a case of smashing a driver & with the bunker positioning & hole shapes you have to think carefully about your strategy.
Overall, this is a very scenic course (it's a shame you don't see the sea at all) that, particularly with the front 9, has a very serene feel. There are plenty of decent holes .The second & third par 3's are very good & 12 is a great hole with an elevated tee looking over the course with the clubhouse & castle as an impressive backdrop.
We finished about 5.45 but there was no food at all available in the clubhouse.Also, when i booked the tee time in advance i had to secure it with a £40 deposit, which is unusual.
It's well worth playing if you're in the area, but i probably wouldn't make a special ,long journey to play it.
Kevin B.

Posted by Kevin B. on 07/04/2008
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Played a round at Royal St David's over Easter weekend what a course. What a super welcoming place this is. The pro gave us a friendly welcome. The members are very friendly and everybody really wants visitors to enjoy their time at the club.
There had been VERY bad rain, snow ect in the days before we played and the course was in very good nick. Yes a couple of bunkers had small amounts of water in but few and far between. Fairways, dry greens fast and true not a bobble. We also played off the championship tees as we were straight out after clubs major comp .
This is a tough course! A true links course!
The views of the castle and Snodwonia were fabulous, off the back tees up in the dunes just couldn’t stop smiling.
Top pint of Purple Mousse in the bar after as well.

Posted by Paul Mahar on 26/03/2008
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Have played five rounds in three days at Royal St David's from 6th to 8th August. What a super welcoming place this is. The pro and his wife are charming and all the staff are so helpful. The members are very friendly and everybody really wants visitors to enjoy their time at the club.
There had been VERY wet weather in the days before we played so this was not traditional links golf. Not much run on fairways, shots to the green all carry and bunkers flooded or with hard rain soaked sand making it impossible to hit "sand first" shots. Don't know if on balance this made the links easier or more difficult, but what a course this is. The two nines are of different character - the front nine is generally played inland of the dunes on fairly flat land and the back nine gets in among the dunes with some fabulous golf holes.
This is a tough course! You must hit fairways off the tee! If you miss and are in the "first cut" don't expect a good lie! If you are in the rough proper you are most unlikely to find your ball and if you do find it forget getting any distance at all on your next shot. A less off line shot could put you into one of the numerous fairway bunkers, plenty with steep lips, so the penalties for missing the fairways are severe! Unless you are hitting very straight be prepared to keep your driver in your bag - means playing some of the par 4's as 5's but that's not so bad!
The course takes some getting used to and to play one round only would be hopeless. Would love to return here in traditional links conditions with baked fairways. This is a great course and a great golfing venue!

Posted by David Sainsbury on 08/08/2007
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Great course! Challenging, particularly the last 5 holes - 2 long par 3s (one needing a Driver into the wind!!), 2 tricky par 4s, and a shorter par 4 from an elevated tee with wind behind! Greens were reasonably good, the sun shone, so a good day was had by most!
The views of the castle and Snodwonia were fabulous, although I'm not sure about the story of the guy who drove from one tee into the castle walls 200 feet above!
A true links course!

Posted by Paul Craven on 21/05/2007
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Played in late August 2006 on a nice day with hardly any wind!
Fantastic welcome from the Pro, and the course looked magnificent as its set on the land between the castle and the sand dunes. Unusual for a links in that it has a large amount of land available, therefore most holes are wide but to add difficulty there are bunkers everywhere! Its the toughest par 69 course Ive ever played with 7 par 4's all over 400 yards and the par 3's are as tough as par 4's with one requiring a 3 wood to reach into the wind. Very different to Aberdovey for the reasons stated - but I thought it was a fabulous course.
Could not fault the condition of the course or the welcome, and the price for a day ticket is very reasosnable. Again like Nevyn the Club should be congratulated for keeping the course within the price range of ordinary golfers.

Posted by Richard Davies on 07/09/2006
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I have just played this course 04/09/06 along with 15 other guys from my golf club. It is without doubt a treat!. The front 9 is a fair test of skill with several par 4s over 400 yards and a couple of par 5s. But the course really shows its teeth on the back 9, I would doubt that our group have ever looked for as many balls off the fairway in their golfing lives. We had a range of handicaps from low single figures to mid 20s, and the best score was 32 points off full hanicap, that should say it all. If you get the chance it's a must play course, but take plenty of balls!!.

Posted by David Simpson on 05/09/2006
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Payed this course last Friday (10/03/06) with a strong wind blowing, but thankfully no rain. This is a course of two halves, the front nine being less tough than the back nine, but I wouldn't term the front nine as being easy! There are very few short par 4s, most of them being in excess of 400 yards, and the greens were large and undulating and very fast. The highlight for me of the course was the closing 5 holes, the 14th being a magical blind long par 3 through the dunes, the 15th being a marvellous long par 4 in which the fairway narrows to less than 10 yards width the further you hit your tee shot, the 16th having a memorable view fropm the tee with Harlech Castle dominating the horizon, the 17th being a tight, long par 4, and the 18th being a 200 yard par 3 which is stroke index 18! One of the most challenging, and most enjoyable rounds of golf I've ever played- I only scored 23 Stableford! The only gripe that I have about the course is that, due to heavy overnight rain, all of the pot bunkers were full of water so I never had a chance to pley out of one. Certainly not a course for the faint-hearted- but heartily recommended.

Posted by Kevin Hewitt on 15/03/2006
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PLAYED THIS COURSE ON THE 25TH AUGUST WITH MY SON(11) WE GOT PAIRED UP WITH 2 OTHER GENTLEMEN ,WE TEE'D OFF AT 15:00HRS WHICH IS A CHEAPER RATE 1ADULT ,1CHILD AND A BUGGY £59 WELL WORTH THE MONEY AS THIS WAS A TEST FOR ALL GOLFERS.AFTER 5 HOLES WE HAD THE BIGGEST THUNDER/SLEET SHOWER IVE EVER SEEN ON A GOLF COURSE BUT AFTER 20MINS UNDER COVER WE CARRIED ON TO SEE BLUE SUNSHINE THE REST OF THE ROUND.THE COURSE IT SELF WAS IMMACULATE FROM TEE TO GREEN INCLUDING THE BUNKERS,THE PRO MADE US FEEL WELCOME AND WE HAD LOTS OF HELLO'S FROM OTHER GOLFERS WHICH I THOUGHT WAS VERY PLEASANT AS OTHER COURSES THEY LOOK DOWN ON YOU.WELL WORTH A VISIT IF YOUR NEAR BARMOUTH,WILL GO AGAIN NEXT YEAR.

Posted by DARREN REECE on 13/09/2005
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The conversation in the car park went as follows:
Young P to Boof: "Are you taking your waterproofs?"
Boof (looking up at sunny, clear blue sky): "Nah, the weather looks pretty good."
So you can guess what happened halfway round...
The proposition at Royal St David's is clear. Unless you're playing on a beautiful day (like when?!) make your score on the front nine, because when the elements are up, the back nine is surely amongst the toughest stretch in the world.
We'd warmed up by playing North Wales and Pwllheli earlier in the week. And there was still Nefyn and Porthmadog to come. But this, unquestionably, was the big one.
So onto the first tee and with a some wisps of cloud starting to gather overhead we set about putting the plan into action. Young P parred the first hole (a mere 436 yards, par 4) courtesy of an outrageous sixty foot putt, followed by another and then a bogey on the longest par 4 on the course (463 yards). Boof then took over (what a shame this wasn't a better ball fourball) and parred the next three – an attractive par 3 followed by two mid-length par 4s. So far, so scores still looking in tact.
It was when we turned round into the par 5 seventh (476 yards) that it became obvious the weather wasn't quite as set fair as some might have originally hoped. A healthy 25 mph wind was now coming at us and the clouds were starting to look as threatening as Roy Keane on a bad day.
Two back to back par 5s later, we were at the par 3 9th – all 173 yards of it – and playing woods off the tee. And that was with a predominant sidewind. What's more, it was starting to rain.
Turning onto the 10th tee, we now faced a 430 yard SI 1 par 4 into a 35mph wind and driving rain. It was as if a hidden hand had purposefully unleashed the elements at the cruellest possible time. It was also clear that golf didn't get any harder than this. This was now a fight – and the equivalent of taking on Tyson in his prime at that. It was a case of batten down the hatches and use any means necessary – however unconventional – to get that ball in the hole in as few shots as possible.
I was proud to walk away with my original ball and a 7.
After the shortest par 3, the long par 4s just kept on coming. The 12th (437 yards), the 13th (451 yards) and the 15th (427 yards). In between is a 218 yard semi-blind par 3. On our day it was easily playing in excess of 250 yards.
For most players in these conditions, the long par 4s just morph into par 5s. It's an overused saying but a bogey here genuinely did feel like a par. In the meantime, my hitherto resilient brolly had been simply obliterated by the wind and duly binned. On the upside, I'd quickly developed a low running 5 wood off the deck, which was proving to be a godsend.
The best hole on the course is the fifteenth. It's a scintillating par 4 that is utterly compelling in its strategic nature – and yet somehow without the need for manmade lakes, split fairways, waste areas, even bunkers – in fact any artificial embellishment at all, save a tee, a mown fairway and a green with a hole and a flag in it.
Put simply, the fairway angles across you from a raised tee but the further you want to drive, the more dunes you have to carry. Not only that, the further the fairway goes, the narrower it gets, until it's tightly pinched at about 280 yards. Even in perfect conditions you're likely to then be left with at least a mid-iron over confusingly 'dead' ground to a slightly raised green that's surrounded by dunes. Golf World recently included it in their 'Dream 18' holes of Britain and Ireland.
At last at the 16th we stopped going dead into the wind. This hole has a commanding view from the tee and encourages a full-blooded drive. But won't somebody please demolish that hideous tower block that lurks on the hill behind the green.
The 17th reminds you of what this course is really about, namely another par 4 well in excess of 400 yards. And then, finally, is the 18th (202 yds, par 3) - unquestionably a soft ending, even a letdown given the epic nature of the contest.
There's scale and tradition at Royal St David's. For the most part, it's not rollercoaster linksland (and you never see the sea) but nothing detracts from the challenge. No wonder it's often referred to as the world's toughest par 69.
And all this for under 30 quid for a 'twilight' round after 2pm – what a fantastic bargain.
We left windswept and dripping wet. I was elated to have scored 27 stableford points. What's more, if this was a fight – which it was – I was still standing at the end.
And to borrow a famous quote, "I’ll be back."
9.3/10
'Young P'

Posted by Young P on 13/07/2005
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Don't be put off by the "Royal" title that Harlech has. At the back of our minds we were expecting at least some of the heirs and graces that go along with a visit to a top course but were greeted with a warm welcome both from staff and members alike.
The course speaks for itself and is a links paradise in a fabulous setting. A fortnight before the Wales Senior Open, the rough was punishing and made for a 5 hour round but everyone on the course had the same trouble so it just made it an hour more enjoyable than usual!
The green fee of £40 whilst steep for the social golfer, seems more than reasonable when you compare to other clubs who don't really like visitors and will charge in excess of this (is anywhere worth over £40?)just to keep the riff-raff away (but disguise it as being for the prestige)
For a great golfing break play Harlech and Aberdovey and stay at the Dovey Inn in Aberdovey who can organise and discount your golf for you.

Posted by I Haigh on 25/06/2004
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Firm fast greens and tightly mown fairways. Long rough and an uncountable amount of deep bunkers. Add a bit of wind and hey presto you've got Royal St Davids. Great fun if you love links golf. The course is firm but fair. Go off line or drive into a trap and you'll be struggling for par. Keep it on the short stuff and a score is achievable (front nine at least). The back side gets tough with long par 4's and 3's and no Par 5's. This course gives you nothing - everything must be earned. I felt proud (and emotionally drained) to get round with my score intact. A must play if you're in Wales.

Posted by Chris B on 08/10/2002
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Played here in dull & overcast conditions last week. A true links course with the rough grown high enough to loose players’ not just balls. Was disappointed with the condition of the fairways and tees but the greens were true and consistent. You need to be long and very straight off the tees of 14-15-16, it must be difficult in medal play off the back tees!
Average prices in the clubhouse, good food and service, impressive honours boards and photos well worth a look to see how golf was played originally.

Posted by Jon Ponsford on 27/07/2002
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i have just finished playing the course.i had an enjoyable day wonderful welcome in the clubhouse.superb course well worth the £36.00 fee i can see why it is rated no.1 in wales we will definately be back to play again and will be telling all my friends about the course.
also noticed while i was there that the course is playing host to wales senior open in july and will come back to watch this event.

Posted by david on 29/01/2002
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A true baptism of fire to links golf, especially off the white tees and the rough being grown ahead of a couple of competitions!
Front 9 fairly straightforward, but back 9 are scary - almost blind par 3 @ 210yds into the wind, and a couple of par 4's where working out where the fairways are is difficult enough let alone hitting them!
Greens are superb but at 6,400 yds off the whites but "only" a par of 69, it's not surprising this rates as one of the most difficult courses in Britain!

Posted by A Ryan on 29/05/2001
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I really enjoyed playing the course, I found the greens were fast and well looked after, which you would expect from a championship course.
Worth a visit if money no object, but for £33 odd quid you could get 2-3 rounds in other clubs in the area.

Posted on 25/04/2001
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PLAYED THE OLD COURSE TWICE NOW AND THOUGHT IT WAS A REAL TEST OF SKILL.SET IN A LOVELY BACKDROP
OF HARLECH CASTLE AND SURROUNDED BY THE SAND DUNES
OF CARDIGAN BAY.AFTER A BAD ROUND YOU COULD ALWAYS GO INTO THE FRIENDLY ENVIRONMENT OF THE CLUB HOUSE TO WASH AWAY THOSE BAD SHOTS THAT ARE STILL PLAYING ON YOUR MIND WITH A FEW PINTS OF WELSH BEER.LOOKING FORWARD TO PLAYING HER AGAIN SOME DAY


Posted by PAUL on 11/09/2000
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PLAYED THE OLD COURSE TWICE NOW AND THOUGHT IT WAS A REAL TEST OF SKILL.SET IN A LOVELY BACKDROP
OF HARLECH CASTLE AND SURROUNDED BY THE SAND DUNES
OF CARDIGAN BAY.AFTER A BAD ROUND YOU COULD ALWAYS GO INTO THE FRENDLY INVOROMENT OF THE CLUB HOUSE TO WASH AWAY THOSE BAD SHOTS.

Posted by PAUL on 11/09/2000
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OK course but for me didn't justify the hype. The last five certainly don't rival any in the world - three of them are OK and the last two are adequate but not brilliant. We rated this course behind both Nefyn/Porthmadog/Conwy - and it is certainly miles behind the Ruddy-designed European in Wicklow (Eire)which must be one of the greatest links in the world. Holes 1-13 play interestingly enough in the wind but really don't stay in the mind. If you want somewhere to play (after Nefyn/Porthmadog/Conwy) and you have time to kill...then OK - otherwise I wouldn't rush back even if the abdicator King was Captain in '35. Lots of history - less interest - cordial as opposed to friendly welcome.

Posted by ROWAN on 09/06/2000
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A SUPERB COURSE WITH A HELLISH TOUGH BACK NINE... CAN'T WAIT TO PLAY IT AGAIN !
OCT 99

Posted by MIKE on 19/10/1999
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Course information

Number of holes 18
Year opened -
Designer -
Style Links

Tee information

Tees Yards Par SSS
Competition
Men's 6601 69
Ladies'

Green Fees

Summer/High season

Weekday round£48
Weekday day£58
Weekend round£58
Weekend day£68

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Weekday round-
Weekday day-
Weekend round-
Weekend day-

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