Located in the south-east corner of England and also known as Sandwich, Royal St. George’s Golf Club is located along a highly regarded stretch of links coast that includes The Prince’s Golf Club and Royal Cinque Ports. Founded in 1887, Royal St. George’s was established to be the St. Andrews of the south. It was the first course to host the Open Championship outside of Scotland and to this day, has hosted more Opens than any other course except for its famous Scottish rival. Designed by Dr. William Laidlaw Purves, it has in more recent times seen upgrades at the hands of Donald Steel and Ebert and MacKenzie. It is a real links challenge; rolling fairways, punishing rough, undulating greens and fearsome bunkers.
St. George’s is a stern test for the low handicapper and yet a playable and enjoyable experience for the average golfer. Art of the challenge at St. George’s is the fact that it is an untypical links layout in that it is not a straightforward out and back eighteen holes. The wind swirls around as much as the holes do, affecting the golfer’s choice of club and strategy almost at every turn. You rarely get a flat lie at Royal St. George’s with many of the fairways resembling a kicked rug. The greens are reasonably large, frequently undulate and quite often have subtle run-off’s that will instantly punish shots that are not precise and on target.
As for the golf course, it is your quintessential links test and gets going at the 3rd. After two reasonably straightforward par fours, the opening par three, at 239yards, with its two-tiered green, really gets the interest levels going. The green is reasonably receptive, so anything hit on target should line up a decent birdie attempt. The 4th is possibly one of the most recognizable holes in golf. Allegedly the second biggest bunker in England sits firmly in view on this blind tee shot. A ball played to the right side of the fairway allows a decent view of the green, one of the smallest on the golf course at only 37 yards long. It is also one of the toughest on the course, with undulations on top of undulations, so par here is a great score.
The 5th is arguably a better hole than the 4th. From the tee box, you look out upon a lunar landscape of dunes, humps and bumps and wild rough on this magnificent dogleg par 4. Tee shot placement is crucial, ideally down the right half of the fairway to open up the bunker-less green which has some subtle run-offs and undulations. The vista across the English Channel is beautiful, but don’t let it distract you from the task at hand.
The final hole to highlight is the 14th. This 545yard par five hole with out of bounds running the entire length of the right side has seen the end of many an Open challenge. The burn that dissects the hole can be in play for the longer hitters if the tee is forward or if the wind is from behind and as the tee shot is semi-blind, great care needs to be taken with club selection. The art to scoring well on this hole is to avoid the sand at all costs and in particular the principle’s nose bunkers 80yards short of the green. A great golf hole and one that Dustin Johnston won’t wish to see for a long time!
Royal St. George’s is one of the most iconic golf courses in the world, and the Consummate Pro will be delighted to bring you to this stunning part of the English coastline to enjoy what can only be described as a world-class golf experience.