3. Royal St George's
LOCATION: SANDWICH, KENT, ENGLAND
DESIGNER(S): WILLIAM PURVES (1895)
LATER MODIFIED BY ALISTER MACKENZIE, FRANK PENNINK
A golf course that has the ability to mesmerise, enthrall and enchant, as well as tear your self-esteem into smithereens and leave you whimpering like a small child at the end of 18 holes, Royal St George’s is southern England’s best links by a considerable margin. It was ranked No.1 in our Top 100 England list in 2017 and, all things being equal, would most likely have retained its position this time around had several members of the review panel not raised slight concerns over conditioning during the club’s transition to pure fescue in preparation for the return of the Open Championship in 2020.
That aside, Royal St George’s oozes history and class. Crisscrossing one of the most majestic pieces of links turf on the planet, it’s a course that simply has to be experienced… for its challenge, its eccentricty, its bunkering and for its epic greens complexes that are quite simply without peer.
Many make the convoluted journey to this corner of the Kent coast to play Royal Cinque Ports, Prince’s and Royal St George’s. Take our advice and make RSG your last stop. While the other two are robust links and certainly deserving of their respective places in the upper echelons of this list, they lack the variety in terrain, the scale, the turf, the aura and the sheer bloody-minded consistency of RSG.