Royal St George's - the first English course to host The Open - is just a little different from the other links on the rota

Royal St George’s Golf Club Course Review

Green Fee Range: £100-£225

Medal Tee: Par 70 – 6,630 Yards

Visitor Times: Visitors may play Monday to Friday – fourballs on Tuesday, otherwise two ball golf


Royal St George’s Golf Club Course Review

The unquestionable star of the Kent coast’s triple Open alliance became the earliest English host course when the Claret Jug first ventured south 120 years ago.

Set over a beautiful tract of unspoiled seaside land, every hole at Royal St George’s is distinct.

The 5th. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

It’s a testing course and with its undulating terrain, dunes and deep bunkering, a premium is placed on accurate hitting and steady driving.

Related: Top 100 golf courses UK and Ireland

Founded in 1887, the club has welcomed golf’s most prestigious tournament 14 times in all, with Darren Clarke the most recent Open champion here in 2011.

The Open will return to the Kent links in 2020.

Royal St George's Golf Club Course Review

JH Taylor won the first ever Open at Royal St George’s in 1894, and didn’t break 80 once. In 1993 – 99 years later – Greg Norman became the first champion golfer to shoot four rounds in the 60s.

Darren Clarke won his first major in 2011, the last time St George’s hosted the world’s oldest major.

The links terrain here is imbued with greater character than its immediate neighbours, courtesy of a more rugged dune system and the most rumpled fairways on the Open rota.

The par-4 10th. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

But it was these dunes that saw Royal St George’s fall out of Open favour after 1949, as William Laidlaw Purves’ 1887 creation boasted too many blind shots for mid 20th-century tastes.

The classic par-3 6th, for example, was originally a blind par 3 played over the tall dunes to the left of the green where spectators gather during Open week.

Frank Pennink was the man enlisted in the 1970s to make the improvements which would pave the way for an Open return, and although the odd blind test remains – on the 4th and 7th for example – the quirkiest of them are long gone.

The par-4 finishing hole. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

Despite a par of just 70 off the tips, and only one par 4 under 400 yards, success at Royal St George’s is still less about power than it is about shrewd golf, and the ability to deal with the odd rogue bounce you will inevitably be dealt.

That remains part of its charm, and those who can rationalise things will know that the luck of the bounce evens itself out over time!

Course changes since previous ranking

Creation of championship standard practice range

Proposed course changes

None planned

Royal St George’s Golf Club Course Review – Golf Monthly Verdict

Windswept links providing a thorough examination of ball striking. Uniquely rumpled fairways are a point of difference among the Open rota links