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The Royal Courses Of The UK And Ireland

Courses to have been given royal status by the monarchy

Posted Jun 24, 2011 by Chris White

Royal Troon is the latest course to receive royal status

With this year’s Open Championship taking place at Royal St Georges, it got me thinking about what other ‘Royal’ courses there are around the UK and Ireland, and the whole story about where the Royal part of the name comes from.

To become a Royal Golf Club, you have to be given the title by a reigning monarch. Typically, a club will invite a member of the royal family to become a patron, or honorary member of the club. Alternatively, they can apply to have the title bestowed upon them. Whichever way the title comes about, the approval must be given by the current reigning monarch, which, at present, is Queen Elizabeth II.

A number of clubs will not be found on a list of the Royal Golf Clubs, such as The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, which was given its status by King William IV, as it is not a course owning club. One club, which has been given royal status is the Curragh Golf club in Ireland, but they choose not to use the title.

The first club to be given Royal status is the Royal North Devon. The club received the honour in 1867 by Queen victoria, with the Prine of Wales – Edward VII – as patron. A flood of other royal courses ensued, with Liverpool, Musselburgh, Jersey, Wimbledon, Belfast, Ascot, Eastbourne, Cromer, Epping Forest, Guernsey, Dublin, West Norfolk, Portrush, Ashdown, Norwich and the Worlington & Newmarket clubs all receiving their titles before the turn of the 20th century. All of which were granted their title by Queen Victoria.

King Edward VII announced Royal Blackheath as the first to receive royal status in the 1900s, doing so in 1901, with Household following soon after, and then this year’s Open venue, St George’s, receiving their status in 1902.

King Edward went on to bestow the Royal title upon the clubs at Aberdeen, Dornoch, County Down, St Davids, Porthcawl, Cinque Ports and Curragh – who, as mentioned, choose not to use the title.

Winchester was the first to be granted royal status by King George V, in 1913, followed by Duff House, Lytham and St Annes, Mid-Surrey, Tarlair, Burgess and Birkdale.

To date, the only course to be given royal status under Queen Elizabeth II is Troon, which was granted its title in 1978.

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