Royal St David's Golf Course Review

Lots of golf courses lay claim to being "the best in Wales", but this one might well be. Royal St David's is located in Harlech, steeped in history and surrounded by mountain views, with bracing sea breezes. 

It may only be a par 69, but it measures a daunting 6,629 yards from the championship tees. It features a series of long and testing par 4s and five par 3s. The course is noted for its large, undulating greens, which means that you have to put your approach shots in the right place.

Founded in 1893, it provides a challenging test of golf in a breathtaking scenic setting in the most beautiful part of Wales, overlooked by Harlech Castle.

The view from the clubhouse lounge takes in the 18th green, 13th green and 14th tee. Plus, there are two bars and a dining area that can cater for 100 people.

Let's take a look at some of the key holes.

We all like a nice, easy start to our round. But the opener at Royal St David's is a 440-yard par 4. Any drive going right will find a bunker, and the green is protected on either side by further traps. Five is a good score here.

The 5th, at 397 yards, offers some relief. You drive from an elevated tee and if you can carry the grass cross bunkers on the right it will open up the green. From there you must at all costs avoid the pot bunker to the right of the putting surface.

The 9th is a 180-yard par 3. The green slopes upwards from the front edge, and beyond the thick rough in front of the tee are tiers of bunkers to right and left. A tough hole, especially with a prevailing wind from the left.

The final five holes loop through the dunes and provide a formidable finish to the round. These are holes where you should be trying to protect your score.

Take the 14th. It is a par 3 that measure 221 yards. It's a blind tee shot to a green out among the sand dunes. Miss the green and there is trouble on all sides.

The 17th is a 431-yard, par 4. A dogleg, with out of bounds on the right, means accuracy is a must. Deep pot-bunkers guard the middle of the dogleg and a good drive is necessary to reach the undulating fairway. The cross bunker in front of the green is to be avoided. Beyond the green is a high bank, with bunkers to the left and right of the putting surface.

The 18th is yet another testing par three, this time measuring just over 200 yards. The fairway in front of the green is broken on the left by sand dunes which block the left side from the tee. A high bank at the back of the green gives way to bunkers left and right. Good luck with all of that!

Find out more detail or request a quote if you are interested in playing this course as part of your golf vacation package with the golf travel experts at Golfbreaks.com.

Derek Clements

Author, Derek Clements

Derek Clements is a golf journalist - he has covered many Open Championships and European Tour events, as well as The Masters. Born in Glasgow, he writes for The Sunday Times and Golfshake, and has also written for Today's Golfer, the Daily Mail, Swing by Swing and many other golf websites, magazines and newspapers. He has played golf all over the world and numbers Gleneagles, Kingsbarns and Aldeburgh as his three favourite golf courses in the United Kingdom. He lives in Suffolk, is a member of Waldringfield Golf Club and has a handicap of nine. He had lessons from the late Bob Torrance and has worked with Jean-Jacques Rivet, one of the world's leading golf biomechanists.