what makes a golf course royal

Royal Treatment: What Makes a Golf Course Fit for Kings and Queens?

Last Updated on June 4, 2023

Golfers around the world strive to be part of an exclusive club – one that makes a golf course royal. But what does it really take for a golf course to gain this prestigious title? From the benefits and costs associated with becoming royal to how you can apply for such status, we’ll cover all aspects of making your own golf course fit for royalty in this blog post. So join us as we explore exactly what makes a golf course royal and discover why so many courses are vying for their chance at greatness.

Table of Contents:

What Is a Royal Golf Course?

A Royal golf course is one that has been granted the title of ‘Royal’ by the reigning monarch. It is a prestigious honour, and there are only around 300 courses in the UK with this status. To qualify for royal recognition, a golf course must meet certain criteria set out by the Crown Estate Commissioners. The most important criterion is that it must be of an exceptional standard and well-maintained.

A course which has been given royal status will benefit from increased prestige and public attention as people seek to play on such a renowned course. This can lead to higher visitor numbers, which can bring in more revenue for both members and owners alike. There may also be opportunities for sponsorship or exclusive events at these venues due to their reputation.

A Royal Golf Course is an elite designation that only the most prestigious courses can achieve. Gaining insight into the advantages of being designated a Royal Golf Course can help one understand why some golf courses are held in higher regard than others.

Key Takeaway: Gaining ‘Royal’ status is a highly sought-after honour and requires rigorous criteria to be met.

The Benefits of Royal Status

Having a royal golf course designation is one of the most prestigious honours in the world of golf. With this status comes many benefits that can help to elevate your club’s reputation and attract more members, as well as provide an enhanced experience for existing ones. Here are some of the advantages you can expect when you become ‘royal’:

Increased Prestige

Becoming a royal golf course adds prestige to your club. It shows that you have been recognised by the governing bodies in golf, and it provides evidence that your facilities meet their exacting standards. Becoming a royal golf course will be appealing to individuals seeking an elite club with top-notch facilities.

Improved Course Conditions

Royal status means access to better quality materials, equipment and staff training so you can maintain optimum playing conditions on your course all year round. You’ll also receive regular visits from inspectors who will ensure everything meets these standards, so everyone enjoys their game at its best every time they play at your club.

More Media Coverage

As a royal golf course, you may find yourself featured in newspapers or magazines or even on television programs about top courses around Britain – which brings added exposure for your facility and increased publicity for events such as tournaments or charity days held there.

Access to Special Events & Tournaments

Being ‘royal’ often gives clubs access to special events like regional championships, international competitions or even The Open Championship itself. These kinds of tournaments bring extra revenue into the area through tourism but also give local players the chance to compete against some of the world’s best players – something not available at non-royal courses.

Finally, having a royal designation helps foster community pride among locals who get behind their home team and support them during major events hosted there – something that would otherwise be missing without this level of recognition from within British Golf circles. The communal spirit of unity and pleasure experienced by all can be a result of shared enthusiasm.

Key Takeaway: Being granted ‘royal’ status is one of the highest honours in golf and provides many advantages, such as improved course conditions, media coverage and access to special events. It also brings an increased prestige for your club that attracts new members whilst fostering a sense of community pride amongst locals who get behind their home team during major tournaments hosted there.

How to Apply for Royal Status

a golf ball on artificial grass

Securing royal designation necessitates a considerable amount of labour from those participating in the procedure. To begin with, it’s important to understand what exactly royal status entails and how it will benefit your golf course. Royal status can be granted by either The R&A or British Golf Courses Association (BGCA). It essentially means that your golf course has met certain standards set by these governing bodies and been recognised as being of high quality in terms of its design, maintenance and facilities offered to players.

Once you’ve made up your mind to apply for royal status, certain documents must be assembled prior to submitting the application. This entails providing plans of the golf course with details on layout and modifications over time; supplying photos that encompass all areas; information regarding local wildlife habitats; data on drainage systems employed; duplicates of club rules/constitution, figures related to membership numbers/player usage etc.; financial statements such as income/expenditure records etc.; references from other courses who have previously attained royal recognition if applicable; insurance policies covering public liability risks etc., plus any additional documentation asked by The R&A or BGCA when filling out an application form online or via post/email attachment(s).

Once submitted, both organisations will review each application thoroughly before making their decision known within 4-6 weeks after the submission date. If successful, you’ll receive an official confirmation letter confirming the new royal title, plus a certificate acknowledging it. Unsuccessful applicants may appeal against the decision made but should expect longer wait times due to extra paperwork involved in the appeals process itself, so it is best not to delay getting started.

Key Takeaway: Gaining royal status for a golf course is no easy feat and requires substantial effort from those involved in the process. To make sure you hit the ball out of the park when it comes to submitting an application, documents such as plans of layout modifications over time, photos encompassing all areas, information on local wildlife habitats etc., must be gathered beforehand.

The Cost of Becoming Royal

Becoming a royal golf course is an expensive endeavour. It requires significant investment in both time and money to meet the requirements of Royal status. Fees, upgrades and maintenance must be taken into account when budgeting for the attainment of Royal status.


To become a Royal Golf Course, one must pay an annual fee to the governing body for their approval which may range from £1000-£2000. This fee varies depending on your location but typically ranges from £1000-£2000 per year. Moreover, other outlays, such as legal charges or advertising costs, should be taken into account when determining the total expenditure.


Once approved by the governing body, you will need to make certain upgrades in order to maintain your royal status. These upgrades include improvements like new drainage systems or additional bunkers and tee boxes which can add up quickly depending on how extensive they are required to be by the governing body’s standards.


Keeping a royal golf course in top condition is no small feat – it takes constant care and attention throughout the year, including regular mowing schedules and pest control treatments, among other things that require professional services or equipment rentals which all come with a price tag attached.

Achieving Royal status for your golf course is an expensive endeavour, but the recognition and esteem that comes with it make the cost worthwhile. After all, being able to say “we’re officially recognised as royalty” carries quite some clout with potential customers who want only the best experience possible when playing at your course.

Key Takeaway: Becoming a Royal Golf Course is an expensive undertaking, requiring substantial investments in fees, upgrades and maintenance to meet the governing body’s standards. It may not be cheap, but it can certainly pay off in prestige for potential customers looking for only the finest experience.

Maintaining Royal Status

a black clubhead and a white ball

Maintaining royal status for a golf course is no easy feat. Sustaining the quality of a golf course to keep its royal standing is no small task, needing persistent dedication and hard work. The Royal & Ancient Golf Club (R&A) is responsible for granting, maintaining, and revoking royal status from courses across the UK.

In order to keep their royal title, golf courses must adhere to certain regulations set by the R&A. For example, they must have an 18-hole course with a minimum length of 6500 yards and be open for play all year round. Additionally, any changes or additions made to the course must meet R&A approval before being implemented.

The upkeep of a royal golf course also involves ensuring that it meets strict standards when it comes to maintenance and design elements such as bunkers, tee boxes, greens, fairways and roughs. This includes regularly mowing grass at specific heights as well as keeping areas free from debris or weeds that could interfere with game playability. Furthermore, the clubhouse should be kept in pristine condition in order to provide players with comfortable surroundings while playing onsite rounds or attending events hosted at the facility.

Finally, one of the most important aspects of maintaining royal status is providing excellent customer service throughout each player’s experience onsite – from check-in through checkout. Professional staff members should strive towards creating an inviting atmosphere where every golfer feels welcomed and respected regardless of their level of expertise or skill set within this sporty activity. It is imperative to guarantee that all players get a pleasant experience that makes them feel like VIPs during their stay.

Key Takeaway: Maintaining royal status for a golf course requires meeting strict regulations and standards set by the R&A, such as length of play, maintenance upkeep and customer service excellence. The key to achieving this is providing players with an experience that makes them feel like royalty from check-in to checkout.

FAQs in Relation to What Makes a Golf Course Royal

What makes a royal golf course?

A royal golf course is one that has been granted the distinction of being part of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club. These courses are usually renowned for their antiquity, prestige and excellent quality. They must meet a strict set of criteria to be considered for this honour, including having 18 holes, measuring at least 6500 yards long from championship tees, having well-maintained fairways and greens with no more than two bunkers per hole as well as meeting certain aesthetic standards such as mature trees or other landscaping features. All in all, these courses provide an experience like no other when it comes to playing golf in Britain.

How many golf courses are Royal?

In the United Kingdom, there are currently 62 Royal golf courses. These include some of the most prestigious and well-known clubs in the country, such as St Andrews Links, Muirfield, The Royal Troon Golf Club and Sunningdale Golf Club. All these courses have been granted royal status by either a reigning monarch or another member of the British royal family due to their historical significance or excellence in course design. As a result, they remain some of Britain’s premier destinations for golfers from around the world looking to experience an exceptional round on one of its many beautiful links courses.


Gaining royal status for a golf course is an honour that comes with many benefits, but it also requires dedication and commitment. To make a golf course truly ‘royal’, the owners must ensure they meet all criteria set by the governing bodies while maintaining high standards of quality to uphold their title. With hard work and determination, any club can become royalty in the world of golf.

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