Course OF 14 Open ChampionshipS
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. Georges is the Old Course of England, like St.
Andrews is in Scotland, and Royal St. Davids is in Wales. Although an expensive,
private club, Royal St. Georges makes it possible for visitors to play, if they meet
certain requirements. Although it doesnt have womens tees, the
course is not closed to women, with handicap requirements that match women
equally with men. Royal St. Georges is a frequent venue for Britains premier golf
tournament, the British
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
and #32 outside America by
has not yet been scheduled to host the oldest of golf’s four major tournaments for
a 15th time.
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
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
LENGTH & PAR — 18
CHAMPIONSHIP TEES: 7,204 YDS, PAR 70
6,630 YDS, PAR 70
WEEKDAY TEES: 6,340
YDS, PAR 70
April – October: £170/round; £210/36
November & March: £100/round; £140/36 holes
December - March: £80/round; £120/36 holes
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.
be booked a week or more in advance through the
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
Practice Centre: driving range, putting green, & short game area.
VISITORS Welcome Monday-Friday:
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
MAXIMUM HANDICAP REQUIREMENTS:
Men & Women: 18.
Handicap certificates must be presented
to caddiemaster prior to play.
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
Mobile phones are not to be used in the clubhouse, the
clubhouse grounds, or on the course, except in emergencies.
RESERVATIONS: £30/player deposit required when
• Tel: +44 (0)1304
613090 (Option 1)
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.
Final payment is to be made to the caddiemaster prior to the
start of play.
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, &
ADDRESS: Royal St Georges Golf Club, Sandwich, Kent
CT13 9PB England
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.
FROM HOME AT FIRST’S
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.
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. Georges 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. Georges remains
extremely natural in appearance, as if
Bunker Shot 4th Hole
Royal St. Georges
photo © David Cannon / Getty Images
the course had simply emerged from the
indicating fairways and
landing areas are not obvious a caddy is
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
clubhouse, where jacket, tie,
and Cuban cigars are
British Open Champions Gene Sarazen
and Greg Norman
at Royal St. George's
Royal St. George's photo
American unknown Ben Curtis won the Open at
Royal St. George's in 2003. Royal St Georges (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. Georges 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
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.
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 membership tees off.
Royal St. George's
locations easily visited by train, including southeast
from London toward the English Channel. This guide is provided all
HOME AT FIRST guests to
TRAVELING TO BRITAIN TO PLAY GOLF?
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.
in England •
in Scotland •
in Ireland •
• Home At First's
LONDON travel programs.
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about other courses throughout the British Isles
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