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The Best Royal Golf Courses in The UK

By: Golfshake Editor | Wed 01 Jun 2022 | Comments


It's a rare honour for a golf club to be bestowed 'Royal' status, a position that is generally granted by a reigning monarch after the club has either applied for the standing or invited a member of the Royal Family to be a patron or honorary member.

There are numerous Royal golf clubs dotted across the planet, with many of them home to the finest courses, including the vast majority of venues used as part of The Open Championship rotation.

We have studied the Golfshake Course Section to identify the leading top 25 in the United Kingdom, ranking them from their GS Rating, which is based on the reviews submitted by everyday golfers.

We haven't considered the most famous of the bunch - The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews - as that institution doesn't own any of the nearby layouts, including the legendary Old Course, which instead are managed by the St Andrews Links Trust. Likewise, the Royal Montrose Mercantile Golf Club simply plays at Montrose Golf Links rather than owns it. The Royal Perth Golfing Society & County and City Club doesn't have its own course either, instead being based at the North Inch municipal, with Royal Epping Forest Golf Club being another similar case.

Outside the UK, there are many other 'Royal' clubs, including Royal Melbourne, Royal Montreal, and Royal Dublin.

If you can't meet royalty, then why not instead play a Royal golf course!

Royal Portrush Golf Club

Royal Portrush

Location: Northern Ireland

Year Royal Status Granted: 1892

Golfshake Rating: 5.00

Review Comment: "The most amazing golfing experience of my life! Enjoyed every aspect of the course."

Royal County Down Golf Club

Royal County Down

Location: Northern Ireland

Year Royal Status Granted: 1908

Golfshake Rating: 5.00

Review Comment: "Wonderful golf course which is intimidating throughout but seems to provide an enjoyment factor above many similar 'top' links golf courses."

Royal Birkdale Golf Club

Royal Birkdale

Location: England

Year Royal Status Granted: 1951

Golfshake Rating: 5.00

Review Comment: "Was incredible to play the course where the pros play, taking in those nostalgic shots, imagining where Spieth played his recovery to on 13 before he romped home to victory in 2017. The round is full of memories like that."

Royal Troon Golf Club

Royal Troon

Location: Scotland

Year Royal Status Granted: 1978

Golfshake Rating: 5.00

Review Comment: "Great course in excellent condition. Very tough in the high winds and weather. Look forward to playing again."

Royal Porthcawl Golf Club

Royal Porthcawl

Location: Wales

Year Royal Status Granted: 1909

Golfshake Rating: 4.95

Review Comment: "Royal Porthcawl, in my opinion, is one of the best links and indeed a tough challenge. Maintenance is immaculate; clean fairways with tough rough, well-cut and true greens."

Royal West Norfolk Golf Club

Location: England

Year Royal Status Granted: 1892

Golfshake Rating: 4.94

Review Comment: "Cracking layout. The old fashioned in and out style of links is great fun, especially if the tide is in."

Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club

Royal Cinque Ports

Location: England

Year Royal Status Granted: 1910

Golfshake Rating: 4.94

Review Comment: "Never disappoints, often immaculate, always aesthetically beautiful whilst presenting a demanding, technical challenge. Just a pleasure from start to finish."

Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club

Royal Lytham

Location: England

Year Royal Status Granted: 1926

Golfshake Rating: 4.94

Review Comment: "Royal Lytham & St Anne's was a bucket list course to play and it did not disappoint. An excellent experience from arrival to leaving."

Royal Aberdeen Golf Club

Royal Aberdeen

Location: Scotland

Year Royal Status Granted: 1903

Golfshake Rating: 4.90

Review Comment: "An incredible course with the first 9 in amazing dunes and the back nine into the wind on a plateau. Simply a must play."

Royal North Devon Golf Club

Location: England

Year Royal Status Granted: 1867

Golfshake Rating: 4.89

Review Comment: "This is the oldest golf club in England and the course was designed by Old Tom Morris. It's a fantastic links course with some unusual holes - notably the 4th which features a fairway bunker with a 25ft wall. The course was in great condition with fast undulating greens. The clubhouse is very pleasant and features an array of golfing memorabilia which is well worth a close look. This is a must play course if you find yourself in the vicinity."

Royal St George's Golf Club

Royal St George's

Location: England

Year Royal Status Granted: 1902

Golfshake Rating: 4.88

Review Comment: "Classic English links course. The layout is wonderful and the greens were the best I have putted on."

Royal Ashdown Forest Golf Club

Royal Ashdown Forest

Location: England

Year Royal Status Granted: 1893

Golfshake Rating: 4.87

Review Comment: "Course was in great condition, greens fast, rough knee length in places so needed to keep it tight and on the fairways, but a really enjoyable game!"

Royal St. David's Golf Club

Royal St David's

Location: Wales

Year Royal Status Granted: 1908

Golfshake Rating: 4.87

Review Comment: "This course is one of my favourites and so much so that I play it annually and am even thinking about a distance membership."

Royal Dornoch Golf Club

Royal Dornoch

Location: Scotland

Year Royal Status Granted: 1906

Golfshake Rating: 4.85

Review Comment: "This is a bucket lister....absolutely out of this world beautiful links. 5 stars from all of my fourball"

Royal Cromer Golf Club

Location: England

Year Royal Status Granted: 1888

Golfshake Rating: 4.76

Review Comment: "Great holes, amazing scenery, superb condition and enjoy great hospitality. The captain went out of his way to make us welcome. You must play there if you get the chance."

Royal Burgess Golfing Society of Edinburgh

Location: Scotland

Year Royal Status Granted: 1929

Golfshake Rating: 4.67

Review Comment: "First class course where everything was in top condition. Fairways are generous, rough is fair and the greens are true and smooth."

Royal Musselburgh Golf Club

Location: Scotland

Year Royal Status Granted: 1876

Golfshake Rating: 4.56

Review Comment: "A cracking parkland layout, great facilities, excellent clubhouse and very friendly staff made the visit one to remember. Nice holes and a good challenge, lovely day."

Royal Tarlair Golf Club

Location: Scotland

Year Royal Status Granted: 1926

Golfshake Rating: 4.50

Review Comment: "Lovely course in very good condition. The 13th is not to be missed. People very friendly on and off the course. A must play if you are in the area."

Royal Belfast Golf Club

Royal Belfast

Location: Northern Ireland

Year Royal Status Granted: 1885

Golfshake Rating: 4.39

Review Comment: "A parkland course with sea views. Beautifully manicured."

Royal Wimbledon Golf Club

Location: England

Year Royal Status Granted: 1882

Golfshake Rating: 4.29

Review Comment: "A great and challenging course in very good condition."

Duff House Royal Golf Club

Location: Scotland

Year Royal Status Granted: 1925

Golfshake Rating: 4.28

Review Comment: "Lovely course, visiting with member friend. Course in great condition, with green challenging as always. Facilities fantastic as well, with food freshly cooked and bar/catering staff extremely friendly and welcoming to guests."

Royal Worlington and Newmarket Golf Club

Location: England

Year Royal Status Granted: 1895 

Golfshake Rating: 4.21

Review Comment: "Excellent course with fantastic greens. It's only 9 holes, otherwise would give top marks."

Royal Mid-Surrey Golf Club

Location: England

Year Royal Status Granted: 1926

Golfshake Rating: 4.21

Review Comment: "Very nice course in great condition. Very welcoming for our society."

Royal Winchester Golf Club

Location: England

Year Royal Status Granted: 1913

Golfshake Rating: 4.20

Review Comment: "I have played here many times. Always in great condition, good variety of holes. Always a bit windy. Well worth a visit."

Royal Eastbourne Golf Club

Location: England

Year Royal Status Granted: 1887

Golfshake Rating: 4.12

Review Comment: "Stunning layout with treacherous par threes! Short course in yardage, but the wind makes it a full size course!"


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