Played right alongside the coast with the shore lapping away at your heels should you push any of your early shots onto the beach the first few holes are a dream.
Located near Grouville Bay the course dates back to 1878 with Royal Patronage, granted by Queen Victoria, arriving the following year. The Club is famous for its connection to multiple major champions Harry Vardon, who was born in a house besides the links and another local, Ted Ray.
The par-5 opening tee shot is played over the 18th green and your drive must avoid a small German bunker on the right as well as negotiate the much larger Fort Henry down the left! The green is reachable in two for longer hitters but the fairway slopes towards the sea so a brave line is required.
The next is a short par-three played to a superb elevated and upturned green complex, apparently Vardon’s favourite hole, and which is well bunkered to boot. Meanwhile, the third, was perhaps my own personal favourite hole and captures the true essence of links golf with a taxing drive to a slithering fairway in a shallow valley before an undulating and rising approach to a large green with some bold contours.
The short fourth completes an unusual 5-3-5-3 par start and requires a solid tee shot to a green tucked into the corner of the property.
The remainder of the front nine continues to provide some solid golf over varied terrain. It is capped with another fine par-five. It is unusual that par-fives are the strongest or most memorable holes on a golf course but at Royal Jersey all three of them really stand out.
Onto the back nine and we find ourselves away from the sea and playing up and down through corridors of gorse but in a variety of different directions across the common. The character of the course is slightly different here and has more of an inland links feel to it.
Importantly, the golf remains good and there are still some stellar holes with the two back-to-back short holes at 15 and 16 adding to the likeable oddities of Royal Jersey. If anything this pair of one-shotters also emphasises the compact nature of the site which feels fairly hemmed in at times after the opening few holes.
The final two holes return to the more undulating and open linksland closer to the sea with the 17th the pick of the duo where we are reacquainted with Fort Henry and play up to a wonderful raised green complex from where the view of the links, clubhouse, sea and surrounding area are magnificent.
All told par is 70 and the maximum yardage just 6,190 but it felt to play a lot longer with a stiff breeze whistling in off the sea.
If you are visiting Jersey for golf then it is a must play alongside La Moye.