Situated within Snowdonia National Park sits Royal St David’s golf club, like me you may be thinking how is there a links golf course in Snowdonia!
My father and I drove up in the morning for a early afternoon tee off time, I’d like to point out here that I’ve never really driven up the west coast of Wales before. So we decided to drive the coastal road past Barmouth have a look at this photo for the coast line! It’s spectacular and something I wasn’t expecting.
We arrived at the course, into a fairly small car park which was a little shocking, a short walk across the training tracks and your at the practice facilities and just behind you on the 1st tee is Harlach castle.
As we checked in and got our score cards, I noticed that the pro shop was quite small considering this course is ranked 2nd in Wales and with the Welsh accent in this area having a very defined Liverpool twang I thought it be a bit more accommodating as it should have a good number of golfers passing through. The final thing I noticed in the pro shop was the lack of golf clubs (most of us are use to pro shops selling clubs right) and there was no women section for clothing something I thought was strange and a quite frankly wrong.
Anyway to the practice facilities, I was expecting something here following the round at Celtic Manor. Again the facilities were good, a driving range, bunkers/chipping area and a putting green. The putting green was pretty big actually, but flat. What is the point of that, it’s a links course and we all know most greens especially links greens will not be flat. So as good as it was to get a little warming up with the putter done I had no idea what to expect or how I would react to undulating greens something I’ve not really experienced before.
The 1st tee looks out towards the sand dunes, with the castle behind a pretty impressive sight for a 1st tee.
The fairways were a little wider than I thought, which is great! The 1st few holes play up and down one another with the castle always in sight. The 4th you cut over the pubic foot path that runs through the heart of the course and dunes… A few times on the tee I was feeling a little nervous for some of the beach goers!
When you step up onto the 5th tee with the dunes just behind, the Snowdonia mountain range comes into view and stays there until the 11th hole. Again these holes run predominately alongside each other.
The flow of the course is easy and works.
The 12th sees you cross back the same public walk way bringing the castle back into view. From the 14th to the 17th you start to play in the sand dunes. The 14th is 209 yard blind par 3 over a sand dune into a low lining bowl of a green. To be honest it was a little intimidating as I’ve never been a fan of blind tee shots or any blind shot in fact… A little bit down to my confidence in my own ability. Anyway the 14th hole stood out for me because of this! Plus i walked away with par.
The 17th see you having to play from a slightly elevated tee over a sand dune… This was a disaster hole, the carry wasn’t too far only 160 yards or so but my 1st tee shot ploughed into the dune and the 2nd went somewhere else on the course!
Apart from the sand dunes I didn’t end up into many bunkers, but I was fairly happy that the bunkers were not that deep. I was expecting them to be pot bunkers but in fact they were all pretty shallow.
The 18th finishes right in front of the club house with a 189 yard par 3.
All in all the coruse and greens were in good condition, the flow of the course works it has its challenges (more so if the wind was up) and again forced me to think about course management.
I’m being as honest as I can with these reviews, Royal St Davids left me wanting more. It’s difficult to put my finger on why, but nothing really stood out for me which was a little disappointing.
So let’s jump to the scores and the favourite hole of the course:
If you read the review and not just scrolled to the scores you would already know that the 209 yard blind par 3 over the dunes (14th Hole) was my favourite. The reason being club selection and line are critical and being able to execute is even more important. Helps I walked away with a par as well.
Welcome/Hospitality: 4 out of 10
Practice facilities: 6 out of 10
Course condition: 7 out of 10
Greens: 6 out of 10
Flow of course: 7 out 10
Course Ranking in Wales (as per golf monthly at time of booking): 2
Rookie Golfer’s course score and ranking – to follow
The next course review will be Aberdovey Golf Club, next Monday. Until then, Happy Golfing