Rough and ready

Royal Guernsey

Royal Guernsey Golf Club

Royal Guernsey Golf Club

Date Reviewed
February 15, 2023
Reviewed by Ed Battye
Royal Guernsey is a rough and ready links situated at L’Ancresse on the island of Guernsey.

And the rugged nature of this down-to-earth links is a good thing!

There is a real rusticness, almost rustiness, to the course and the feeling I got here was that the course has benefited from not having to keep up with the Joneses like so many courses in the UK have done. It has no neighbours to compete with on the island and can just go about its business in its own unassuming manner without having to tweak this or that.

Played over common land you are likely to bump into walkers, beach-goers, cyclists and other non-golfers enjoying the beautiful location. There is also a road to cross a few times so keep a look out for oncoming traffic!

Two clubs play over the links; Royal Guernsey and L’Ancresse Golf Clubs each with their own clubhouse.

The front nine wanders through gorse (much reduced in recent years according to the member of L’Ancresse who collected us from the Ferry terminal), on relatively flat ground with some lovely lay of the land green sites where you more often than not have the option of an aerial approach or one along the ground.

There are a number of strong holes on the outward half. I particularly enjoyed the second and seventh. The second hole runs alongside Grand Harve, one of two bays that touch the links, whilst the seventh is a classic links par-three played to a tilted green.

Meanwhile the back nine is played on more exposed terrain where we can open our shoulders a little bit and the sight of the sea is more present. There is more undulating ground too and the green complexes are a little bolder and varied.

The climax of the round is very good with 15, 16 and 17 a fine trio of two-shotters before an unusual steeply downhill par-three to conclude the round which I wasn't particularly a fan off but everyone else I have spoken to speaks highly of it.

Royal Guernsey was founded back in 1890 and the signs of war and German occupation are scattered across the links including burial grounds, World War II pill boxes and the iconic Martello Towers from Napoleonic times.

MacKenzie Ross, of Turnberry fame, is the man most responsible for the current layout (done two years prior to his work on the Ailsa) although Fred Hawtree has made significant alterations since. In its current state par is 70 (35 both halves) and the total yardage is 6,215.

In terms of comparing Guernsey to Jersey and La Moye I would put it between the two but much closer to Jersey than La Moye which I think is the superior of the trio.

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