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GOLF HOME England Golf Ireland Golf New Zealand Golf Scandinavia Golf Scotland Golf Wales Golf

HOME AT FIRST's

a

Some of the best (but not always best-known) British golf destinations.

 
 

Royal St. George's

Golf Club

  Host Course OF 14 Open ChampionshipS 

The 6th Hole at Royal St. George's — Par 3, 176 Yards
Photo courtesy Royal St. George's G.C.

Seaside links on England's southeast coast, with plenty
of history and weather. On the British Open rotation.

 

          Royal St. George’s is the Old Course of England, like St. Andrews is in Scotland, and Royal St. David’s is in Wales. Although an expensive, private club, Royal St. George’s makes it possible for visitors to play, if they meet certain requirements. Although it doesn’t have women’s tees, the course is not closed to women, with handicap requirements that match women equally with men. Royal St. George’s is a frequent venue for Britain’s premier golf

The Claret Jug at St. George's Clubhouse. Photo courtesy St. George's G.C.

tournament, the British Open.
          The Open Championship (“The British Open”) was played at England’s Old Course for a 14th time in 2011. The
great and venerable (1887) English links (currently rated #29 in the world by Golf.com and #32 outside America by GolfDigest.com) has not yet been scheduled to host the oldest of golf’s four major tournaments for a 15th time.
          Northern Irishman Darren Clarke shot 275 to win the 2011 Open Championship by three strokes over Americans Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson at Royal St. George's. In 2003 the surprise Open Championship winner was American Ben Curtis, whose 283 total was one better than the scores of Vijay Singh and Thomas Bjorn, and two better than the artist formerly known as Tiger Woods.

 


The #1 Handicap 8th Hole at Royal St. George's — Par 4, 457 Yards.
Photo courtesy Royal St. George's G.C.

          In the eight years between the last two Open were held on the sands by Sandwich, the course changed considerably. The 2011 course layout was somewhat longer than in 2003. Played from the championship tees, the 2011 course — 7,204 yards — is 102 yards longer than the 2003 version. Visitors, like the pros, have had to hit a little further now, too, as the weekday tees were lengthened a total of 164 yards to 6,340 yards for a round of 18. The medal tees were lengthened, but only by 23 yards. They play 6,630 yards now. At 70 strokes for a par round, Royal St. George’s plays long from all tee positions. Women continue to get no break in distance or par at the course: there are no “ladies’ tees” at Royal St. George’s. However, one advancement for women has been made recently: handicap requirements have been relaxed from a stringent maximum handicap of 15 strokes to match the men’s still-stringent handicap maximum at 18. A final advancement has been the price to play Royal St. George’s. Greens fees for visitors have risen to £170/round and £210/day from April through October, with significant reductions for play in November & March (£100/round) and December-February (£80/round). Men and women now play on a level playing field at Royal St. George’s: to play here both genders must be pretty good golfers and even better wage-earners.


The #2 Handicap 14th Hole at Royal St. George's — Par 5, 548 Yards.
Photo courtesy Royal St. George's G.C.

 

ROYAL ST. GEORGE'S GOLF CLUB

LENGTH & PAR — 18 Holes:
CHAMPIONSHIP TEES:   7,204 YDS, PAR 70

MEDAL TEES:                 
   6,630 YDS, PAR 70
WEEKDAY TEES:            
 6,340 YDS, PAR 70

GREENS FEES:
April – October: £170/round; £210/36 holes
November & March: £100/round; £140/36 holes
December - March: £80/round; £120/36 holes

FACILITIES:

Electric Golf Cart rental: Available by advance booking for medical certificate holders only.

Trolley (pull cart) rental: Available from the Pro Shop.

Golf Club rental: Yes - from the Pro Shop.

Caddies: must be booked a week or more in advance through the caddiemaster: Tel: +44 (0)1304 626931.

Clubhouse: with Bar, Snackbar, Restaurant. Jacket & tie required in Clubhouse after 11AM.
Coffees, teas and snacks are available to visitors without pre-booking. Breakfast requires pre-booking with at least 24 hours notice.

Pro Shop

Practice Centre: driving range, putting green, & short game area.

VISITORS Welcome Monday-Friday:
Advance reservations mandatory no less than 48 hours in advance of play.

VISITOR TEE TIMES: Monday through Friday (except public holidays).

Monday and Wednesday-Friday: 2-ball format; Tee-times available after 9:40AM, except between 1-2:10PM.

Tuesday: 3-ball and 4-ball reservations accepted for tee-times 8-10:30AM and from 1:30-3:30PM (except during August, when no 3-ball or 4-ball reservations accepted).

MAXIMUM HANDICAP REQUIREMENTS: Men & Women: 18.
Handicap certificates must be presented to caddiemaster prior to play.
Visitors must also produce a letter of introduction from the club secretary of their home golf club certifying their membership.

SPECIAL CLUB RULES:

Dress Code: Jackets and ties are worn in the smoking, writing and dining rooms. Jeans are not allowed on the course or in the clubhouse, and shorts can only be worn in conjunction with long  socks. Dress in the snack bar is more relaxed, where golf attire and spikes are permitted.

Mobile phones are not to be used in the clubhouse, the clubhouse grounds, or on the course, except in emergencies.

PLACING RESERVATIONS: £30/player deposit required when tee-times have
been confirmed.
Tel: +44 (0)
1304 613090 (Option 1)
Email: general@royalstgeorges.com
Automated Form

Or, let HOME AT FIRST pre-reserve your golf tee-times at Royal St. George’s Golf Club. HOME AT FIRST adds no booking charge for this service.

PAYMENTS: Final payment is to be made to the caddiemaster prior to the
start of play.

CANCELLATIONS: No penalty if you cancel outside of 1-month of play.
Loss of deposit occurs for cancellations within 1-month of play.
No-shows will be charged for their full greens fee.

ADDRESS, LOCATION, & DIRECTIONS:

ADDRESS: Royal St George’s Golf Club, Sandwich, Kent CT13 9PB England

LOCATION: Royal St. George’s Golf Club is on Upper Strand St., 1.5mi east of Sandwich — among the dunes and flats by the sea (English Channel) 1 mile east of Sandwich, Kent, England, about 2 hours southeast of London.

DIRECTIONS FROM HOME AT FIRST’S LONDON LODGINGS NEAR THE TOWER BRIDGE: Trains depart London Bridge Station every 1-2 hours for the direct 2-2.5 hour journey to Sandwich. Take a taxi from Sandwich station for the mile-journey to the golf club.

Directions FROM LONDON: Trains also depart London's Charing Cross and Blackfriars stations for Sandwich. Taxi from Sandwich 1-mile out to the course.


 

HISTORY AT ROYAL ST. GEORGE'S
          The links course on the dunes by Sandwich Bay opened in 1887. It was designed by Dr. Laidlaw Purves, a Scottish physician who first saw the potential of the dunes as a golf course during a visit to Sandwich in 1885. As befits a British seaside links, St. George’s is treeless, waterless, rugged but not hilly, and plagued with blind shots, deep pot bunkers, strong winds, and treacherous rough. Like other original links courses, Royal St. George’s remains extremely natural in appearance, as if

Bunker shot at Royal St. George's 4th hole.
Bunker Shot 4th Hole Royal St. George’s
photo © David Cannon / Getty Images

the course had simply emerged from the

 

wasteland. Sightlines indicating fairways and landing areas are not obvious — a caddy is indispensable here.

          Unusually, the club requires play by twosomes, except on some Tuesdays. Not unusually for Britain, the course must be walked — golf carts are anathema here. Rough, natural, and shaggy, the course seems unkempt at first appearance. In the traditional Scottish golfing manner, this natural links requires a nearly

 

formal clubhouse, where jacket, tie, and Cuban cigars are

British Open Champions Gene Sarazen and Greg Norman at Royal St. George's. Photo courtesy Royal St. George's G.C.
British Open Champions Gene Sarazen and Greg Norman
 at Royal St. George's

Royal St. George's photo

de rigueur.
          American unknown Ben Curtis won the Open at Royal St. George's in 2003. Royal St George’s (only 7 years old at the time) was the first course outside Scotland to stage the British Open in 1894, when J. H. Taylor won the first of his five Opens with four rounds shot in the 80’s. By contrast, in 1993 the British Open was won by Greg Norman with four rounds shot in the 60’s. The Open was won twice at Royal St. George's by the legendary Henry Vardon (1899 and 1911), twice by Walter Hagen (1922 and 1928), and, in 1985, by Scot Sandy Lyle, now a resident of Balquhidder, the same lovely Central Scotland village familiar to so many
HOME AT FIRST guests.
          Royal St. George’s has had more than its share of famous associations over the years — most in connection with important tournaments held there over the last 100+ years. Oddly though, the best-known names

 

indelibly tied to the club are not pro golfers, but a former

club captain and two fictional characters. Borrowing heavily from the membership and the course, the club captain, one Ian Fleming, composed a vignette about a golfing duel between his series hero, James Bond, and a classic Fleming villain, Goldfinger, in his book by the same name. It would take a man with the wherewithal of 007 to take on the simultaneous challenges of the evil Goldfinger and the menacing Royal St. George’s Golf Club and emerge neither shaken nor stirred.

 

 

THE REGION
          Southeastern England has been making history for millennia. Being that corner of Britain closest to the European continent, southeastern England has received many visitors over the years, some of whom were uninvited, including the Roman legions of 2,000 years ago and the Normans of 1,000 years ago. As a result, numerous castles (Dover Castle being the most impressive; Leeds Castle being the most attractive), battlefields (Hastings), churches (Canterbury Cathedral, Dover Priory) and important ports (Sandwich,
Rye, Dover, Folkestone, Hastings) have drawn visitors for centuries. Most of these destinations are reachable conveniently from London by rail. HOME AT FIRST's "London Activities Guide" includes a large section about day-trips by rail from London to dozens of

The memberships tees off at Royal St. George's. Royal St. George's photo.
The membership tees off.
Royal St. George's photo

locations easily visited by train, including southeast

 

from London toward the English Channel. This guide is provided all HOME AT FIRST guests to LONDON.

 

TRAVELING TO BRITAIN TO PLAY GOLF?
Let
HOME AT FIRST make your advance tee-times at Royal St. George's and many other British golf courses as part of your pre-reserved British trip itinerary. There’s no extra charge for this service.

MORE RESOURCES:
Golf in England   Golf in Scotland   Golf in Ireland   Golf in Wales

Home At First's ENGLAND & LONDON travel programs.

 

Want to learn about other courses throughout the British Isles
including some of the greatest tests of golf in the world? See our
ENGLAND, IRELAND, SCOTLAND, and WALES
Course Guides for more information.

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