Royal West Norfolk Golf Club: Course Review, Green Fees, Tee Times and Key Info

Packed with character and a little bit different, Royal West Norfolk’s rugged links is a wonderful golfing experience from start to finish

Royal West Norfolk Golf Club 4th hole
Looking down on the par-3 4th green at Royal West Norfolk with its sleepered banks
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Top 100 Courses UK & Ireland 2023/24

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Royal West Norfolk Golf Club Key Information

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Header Cell - Column 0 Header Cell - Column 1
AddressBrancaster, King's Lynn, Norfolk, PE31 8AX.
Phone Number+44 (0)1485 210087
Websiterwngc.org
Emailsecretary@rwngc.org
Green Fees£125-£145 per round high season (singles), £95-£115 (foursomes)
Visitor TimesVisitor tee-times limited; twoball play only
ParMen: 71 white, yellow; Ladies: 75 red
Slope RatingMen: 123 white, 121 yellow; Ladies: 133 red
Opened1892
Designed byHolcombe Ingleby
Golf Monthly Verdict

Royal West Norfolk - Aerial

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Royal West Norfolk really should be on every player’s bucket list. It feels like everything from the clubhouse to the course has been left untouched for a century and, for many, it’s all the better for it as it provides a unique and authentic experience that is hard to find these days.

At just 6,478 yards, it’s only of modest length, but with the wind perpetually whipping in off the sea and the golfer always open to every element, you’ll need to have your wits about you to score well.

REASONS TO PLAY ROYAL WEST NORFOLK

- A unique golfing experience where holes can play very differently depending on the height of the tide

- Packed with old-school charm, it has a wonderfully different feel to it

- Not long even off the tips so perhaps a good chance to play to handicap on calmer days

RANKINGS

UK & Ireland Top 100 Golf Courses 2023/24 - 63

Regularly cut off by the tide, Royal West Norfolk or Brancaster on the north-west Norfolk coast is unique in more ways than one. It also heads the Golf Monthly list of the best golf courses in Norfolk.

This rugged links is the perfect antidote to modern corporate golf - if you like your links golf old-school and ‘au naturel’, Brancaster will be right up your street. It has been a mainstay in the top two-thirds of our Top 100 Courses in the UK and Ireland rankings since day one.

Laid out in 1892 by Holcombe Ingleby, a prominent and popular politician, relatively little has changed in the intervening 121 years. Of course, the ‘naturalness’ of this spit of marshland twixt field and sea is part of its charm and appeal, with the par-5 8th and par-4 9th playing very differently at high tide when there’s water to cross on both.

Stepping out of the quirky old clubhouse, you cross a section of beach to reach the 1st tee. Out on the links, in the shelter of the low dunes, there’s a great feeling of tranquillity and this is a course where pure golfing escapism is possible.

Brancaster is an out-and-back links delivering an excellent test of seaside golf, with the prevailing wind helping on the way out and hurting on the run for home. It features prominently in our best links courses in England list.

You’ll encounter great variety and some uniquely memorable holes among the sleepered bunkers, elevated greens, salt marshes and sand dunes. The 3rd and 4th, with their sleepered bunkers and banks, stand out early on, while the blind drive on the 5th will leave you coming over the crest full of anticipation or trepidation depending on where you’ve hit it.

You’ll find the two toughest par 3s - the 6th and 15th - play a similar distance in broadly the same direction, so club one right and you’ll probably get the other one right too. It could be anything from an 8-iron to a 3-wood, mind you, and both greens will be pretty elusive into the wind.

It’s probably fair to say that Royal West Norfolk provides a golfing experience like no other. At just 6,478 yards, it’s only of modest length, but with the wind perpetually whipping in off the sea and the golfer always open to every element, you’ll need to have your wits about you to score well.

It’s also one of few courses, if not the only one, to offer a reduced rate for foursomes golf. How much demand there is for that, who knows! But it’s there if you want it.

Royal West Norfolk Golf Club

Holes like the 9th can be a different proposition when the tide is in (Photo: Getty Images)
(Image credit: Getty Images)

What The Top 100 Panel Said

James Holland UK&I Top 100 panel
James Holland

A very enjoyable layout. The opening drive must be one of the most welcoming in golf. If you get 1st tee nerves, this is the place to visit! Some of the holes are slightly quirky but that just adds to the appeal. Despite there being variety in the holes, there is also consistency in quality. 

John Slater UK&I Top 100 panel
John Slater

The well-rehearsed eulogies about its charm and old fashioned values mask the fact that Brancaster has a really good golf course too. Most of the front nine is memorable, the back nine a bit less so, but you are mainly fighting the wind rather than memorising the holes. I love the place and it continues to cruise along just as it always has. It doesn’t re-invent itself or embrace change, but why should it? It’s quite good enough as it is.

Royal West Norfolk Golf Club location

Royal West Norfolk Golf Club Green Fees

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Row 0 - Cell 0 SinglesFoursomes
Summer 2023 - weekday 18 holes£125£95
Summer 2023 - weekend 18 holes£145£115
Summer 2023 - weekday day rate£160£125
Summer 2023 - weekend day rate£195£155
Row 5 - Cell 0 Brancaster is a two-ball clubFoursomes is the members' format of choice

Contact the secretary at Royal West Norfolk for details or to book

Royal West Norfolk Golf Club scorecard

Best Courses Near Royal West Norfolk

HUNSTANTON

HUNSTANTON
Hunstanton is a classic out-and-back links, with the holes largely played on either side of a sand dune ridge running down the middle of the layout. The conditioning of the course is always excellent and sand dunes are a real feature on most holes, as are the traditional pot bunkers.

SHERINGHAM

SHERINGHAM
The best links golf courses don't have it all their own way when it comes to seaside golf. For some, the clifftop version has even more appeal on account of the elevated views it affords over our beautiful coastline. Sheringham boasts some memorable front-nine holes hugging the cliff edge, among them the long par-4 5th, which serves up spectacular vistas and a lengthy approach to a long bunkerless green.

Best Places To Stay Near Royal West Norfolk

Titchwell Manor, Titchwell -  Book now at Booking.com
Titchwell Manor is a Victorian farmhouse less than two miles from the club, which offers luxurious boutique accommodation. Each individually designed room has its own en suite bathroom with shower or bath and luxury toiletries, flatscreen TV and tea- and coffee-making facilities. Many have sea or garden views.

The Hoste, Burnham Market - Book now at Booking.com
Situated in the centre of Burnham Market, about five miles from the club and just two from Norfolk's sandy beaches, The Hoste boasts a private 20-seat cinema room, a gym and beauty treatment rooms. The uniquely designed accommodation lies across two individual properties. Many boast a free-standing bath, pretty terrace, or views over the village green.

Royal West Norfolk Gallery

ROYAL WEST NORFOLK HISTORICAL TOP 100 RANKING UK&I

  • 2023/24 - 63
  • 2021/22 - 60
  • 2019/20 - 54
  • 2017/18 - 47
  • 2015/16 - 47
  • 2013/14 - 45
  • 2011/12 - 44
  • 2009/10 - 44

Frequently Asked Questions

When did Royal West Norfolk achieve its 'Royal' status?

Most clubs achieve 'Royal' status some time after their formation. Royal Troon, for example, was still just Troon when Tom Weiskopf won The Open there in 1973, with 'Royal' status arriving in 1978 during the club's centenary year. But Royal West Norfolk was just that from the outset in 1892, when the Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII, accepted an invitation to become the club’s patron.

Is Royal West Norfolk the best golf course in Norfolk?

Yes, according to the latest Golf Monthly UK&I Top 100 rankings, where it sits in 63rd place, nine higher than Hunstanton (72nd), 15 minutes west on the north Norfolk coast. Most other lists have them the same way round as numbers one and two in the county. Like most coastal counties, it is the links courses that tend to fare best in ranking lists. Despite their proximity, the two courses have a different feel and a day spent playing both is a day very well spent!

Jeremy Ellwood
Contributing Editor

Jeremy Ellwood has worked in the golf industry since 1993 and for Golf Monthly since 2002 when he started out as equipment editor. He is now a freelance journalist writing mainly for Golf Monthly. He is an expert on the Rules of Golf having qualified through an R&A course to become a golf referee. He is a senior panelist for Golf Monthly's Top 100 UK & Ireland Course Rankings and has played all of the Top 100 plus 91 of the Next 100, making him well-qualified when it comes to assessing and comparing our premier golf courses. He has now played 1,000 golf courses worldwide in 35 countries, from the humblest of nine-holers in the Scottish Highlands to the very grandest of international golf resorts. He reached the 1,000 mark on his 60th birthday in October 2023 on Vale do Lobo's Ocean course. Put him on a links course anywhere and he will be blissfully content.

Jezz can be contacted via Twitter - @JezzEllwoodGolf


Jeremy is currently playing...

Driver: Ping G425 LST 10.5˚ (draw setting), Mitsubishi Tensei AV Orange 55 S shaft

3 wood: Ping G425 Max 15˚ (set to flat +1), Mitsubishi Tensei AV Orange 65 S shaft

Hybrid: Ping G425 17˚, Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro Orange 80 S shaft

Irons 3-PW: Ping i525, True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 R300 shafts

Wedges: Ping Glide 4.0 50˚ and 54˚, 12˚ bounce, True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 R300 shafts

Putter: Ping Fetch 2021 model, 33in shaft (set flat 2)

Ball: Varies but mostly now TaylorMade Tour Response