What we say
Royal St George’s, host of the 2021 Open Championship, is the No.1 links golf course in England according our latest Golf World Top 100 ranking. Editor Chris Bertram explains why this stretch of land in Kent is so special.
‘Sandwich’ is a links that can divide opinion by virtue of its humps and hollows as well as its blind shots – or rather, the occasional bad bounce or mysteriously lost ball that the idiosyncratic topography can lead to.
We are strongly of the opinion that if you don’t enjoy Royal St George’s, you are taking your golf a bit too seriously. So, of course it’s fine for Jack Nicklaus or any other tournament professional to be more immune to its charms – when they play it, they are at work. Anyone else, surely, must love the eccentricities?
While some of the original blind shots have been removed, enough still remain to enchant. And thankfully, little of the uneven ground on which Sandwich is built has been softened. Sandwich remains relatively unsanitised, its uncertainties still representing the essence of the links game.
This is an endlessly fascinating links where imagination, insouciance and humour are as useful to enjoying your round as your sand wedge or driver.
It is not some kind of elaborate crazy golf course though; beyond its quirks lies a fearsome challenge. Set in an expanse of linksland, yards have been added of late to take it beyond the 7,200-yard mark. So, Sandwich is long and unrelenting in a strong wind but, off the members’ tees, rarely unplayable and never boring.
You don’t come here to be beaten up anyway.
You come here to smile at the enormous bunker, the height of a double-decker bus, that faces you on the 4th tee… then laugh as one of your group thin a drive into it or fail miserably to escape from it.
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The next hole is also madcap by today’s standards; from most of the fairway there is a blind approach with a mid-iron over a gigantic due to a hidden green. Yet what fun there is in lining up the shot against a distant landmark and clambering up to see whether you have hit the green.
Around the greens the amusement continues, whether it be being stymied by the ridge that runs along the 9th green or clattering chips from side to side on the 10th a la Tom Kite in the 1985 Open.
Royal St George’s bunkers, as Thomas Bjorn proved in 2003, are not to be taken lightly either.
For those who love golf for its uncertainties, there is no more characterful or character-building place to play in England.
Our affection for this most under-appreciated of Open venues continues with its thatched-roof shelters, the red cross of St George flags and a clubhouse that oozes history. For us, the best in England.
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- TG Rating
- Players Rating
- Address Royal St George's Golf Club, Sandwich Bay, Sandwich
- Tel 01304 613090
- Website www.royalstgeorges.com
|Course Length||7,204 yards (6,587 metres)|
- Course has: Bar
- Course has: Buggy Hire
- Course has: Driving Range
- Course has: Practice Green
- Course has: Pro Shop
- Course has: Restaurant
- Course has: Trolley Hire
- Course has: Dress Code
- Course has: Club Hire
- Course has: Handicap