Rob Smith enjoys a great value stay at one of the finest clubs in Wales
Royal St David’s Golf Club Stay and Play Review
Par 69, 6,403 yards
Superbly situated by the railway line under the sentinel watch of historic Harlech Castle, this Golf Monthly Top 50 links is a serious championship test at the same time as being a wonderful place to play golf. Residents can take their cars over the railway line and park right outside the excellent accommodation that is situated in the clubhouse.
The course plays to an extremely tough par of 69, and opens with a hat-trick of par 4s that let you really open up the shoulders.
The course is separated from the beach by towering dunes, and it heads north where the 6th green offers up excellent views of Snowdonia in the distance.
The back-to-back and relatively short par 5s at 7 and 8 offer birdie opportunities, but these are counter-balanced by some extremely demanding par 4s. The course is also subject of ongoing and sympathetic gentle upgrades, perhaps most evident at the short 11th.
From almost every location, you are watched over by Harlech Castle, itself more than worth a visit. If you feel able, it is only a 10-minute (ish) walk via the steepest street in the world!
The five par 3s are all very varied, and the longest of them is the blind 14th which is played over an opened-up waste area, another recent improvement.
The closing loop of 5 holes, particularly the three par 4s, makes for a superb climax to the round, and the final green enjoys a fabulous site right outside the clubhouse.
Back in the clubhouse, the hearty Welsh breakfast is the perfect way to start the day, and the lunches are also very tasty and extremely well priced.
Tucked away in a self-contained block at the back of the Royal St David's clubhouse are five very smartly appointed bedrooms, all of them en-suite. One is a single, the others all doubles/twins, and a full Welsh breakfast is included.
For an added experience of golf with a difference, it is also great fun and very easy to take the train down to lovely Aberdovey Golf Club, while just over the road from the dormy house is the excellent Y Branwen pub and restaurant. Royal St David's residents also enjoy discounted green fees, and the various stay and play packages offer exceptional value for a course and club of this stature.
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Rob Smith has been playing golf for 45 years and been a contributing editor for Golf Monthly for over ten years, specialising in course reviews and travel. He has now played more than 1,200 different courses in almost 50 countries. Despite lockdowns and travel restrictions in 2021, he still managed to play 80 different courses during that year, 43 of them for the first time. This included 21 in 13 days on a trip to East Lothian in October. One of Rob's primary roles is helping to prepare the Top 100 and Next 100 Courses of the UK&I, of which he has played all but seven and a half... i.e. not the new 9 at Carne! During the 2021-22 review period, Rob played 36 of the Golf Monthly Top 200. He is a member of Tandridge Golf Club in Surrey where his handicap hovers around 16. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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