HARLECH is a fascinating combination of history, mountain views, bracing sea breezes and the home of Royal St. David's Golf Club. The youngest of what might be called Britain's senior clubs, Royal St. David's was founded in 1894 at the very end of the first great golfing boom, when the sport at last ceased to be an almost exclusively Scottish pastime.
Having heard of the pre-eminence of St. Andrews in Scotland, and conscious that the English had a St. George's at Sandwich, founding fathers, The Hon. Harold Finch-Hatton, fourth son of the Earl of Winchilsea and Nottingham and William Henry More, then Crown Agent for Wales, the name of St. David's seemed logical and appropriate for this new Welsh initiative. It turned out to be an inspired piece of what would today be known as 'branding', and helped enormously to launch Harlech upon the golfing world at large.
Plucking up courage, the founders contemplated launching their modest creation upon the world with an open competition of some kind, and somehow persuaded emissaries from the Royal & Ancient, St George's and most notably, The Royal Liverpool, to attend. So, in the autumn of 1894, three of the most distinguished golfers in the world found themselves on the Cambrian Railways, heading towards this small seaside town where, rumour had it, a links of unusual quality was in the making. Within 18 months golf at Harlech assumed a basic rhythm that it has enjoyed ever since, periods of relative tranquillity interspersed by two or three important meetings and events each year.
Royal St. David's is indeed royal, Edward VII gave the club his patronage and the Duke of Windsor (Edward VIII) captained the Club in 1935 whilst he was Prince of Wales.
Close scrutiny of the club's honours-board reveals the names of five Open and five Amateur Champions, plus an American Amateur winner, a Canadian Ladies' Champion and a winner of The Masters, together with many more English and Welsh Champions of both sexes.
Royal St. David's has, over the years, played host to many exciting events, including five Ladies' Championships, ten series of Home International Matches (ladies, men and boys). Eleven Welsh Amateur Championships and Welsh Ladies Championships, the Seniors' Amateur Championship and the Youths and Boys Amateur Championships as well as the first five Wales Seniors Opens on the PGA European Seniors Tour, one Ladies European Tour event in 2009 and two Club Professional's Championships. In 2013 the Club hosted the Jacques Leglise Trophy.