PGA Pro Shawn Weisen Unlocks the Secrets of Playing the Royal Golf Course
Every golf course has its secrets, and mastering a single hole may take hours, days, maybe even a whole season. At the Royal Golf Club, we do our very best to guide you through each hole, and to help you discover the joy of playing our challenging, yet entertaining championship course.
The key to mastering the Royal Golf Club 18-hole course, according to PGA golf pro Shawn Weisen, is to understand the intent of Annika Sörenstam and Arnold Palmer who designed the course. While meant to be accessible to all ages and all playing levels, the two golf legends wanted to see the course grow in its challenge as a golfer put more time into it.
“I’ve heard comments from some very good golfers who were surprised at how challenging the course actually is,” says Shawn, who suggested reading Google reviews of the course online. “The thing is, this course is just in its first year. It’s only going to get better as it continues to grow in and mature.”
In addition to Shawn’s advice, golfers also can explore all eighteen holes of the King and Queen course individually on the Royal Golf Club website for more in-depth insights and advice. Insights about the Short Course are available online, too.
The front nine, or the Queen’s Nine, was designed by legendary professional golfer Annika Sörenstam. For her first project in the United States, Sörenstam hit the ground running with a challenging, but approachable, nine holes.
“I think the front nine is just breathtaking,” he adds. “It’s such a fun course. It has challenging greens, drivable par 4s and reachable par 5s.”
After conquering the Queen’s Nine, golfers move on to the back nine, the King’s Nine, which was designed by the king of professional golf, Arnold Palmer, and his design team. According to Shawn, the King’s Nine is slightly more open than the Queen’s Nine, making it easier to navigate.
“The King’s Nine has a more traditional, wide-open feel to it. It’s where you’re going to want to take some risks and go big with your drives,” Shawn says.
“The front nine is a touch more challenging than the back nine,” Shawn says. “That’s because it’s tighter, you’re going to need to be more accurate with your shots and work the space you have.”
“Work with the space” may just be the mantra you’ll be saying to yourself over and over as you play the Royal Golf Course, which offers a range of terrain and obstacles, from rolling hills to greens that run true.
“Holes 4, 12 and 16 are all on the short side,” Shawn says. “They slope uphill, so meeting par on those is definitely a challenge. We’ve already had two holes-in-one on Hole 4, though.”
“On the other hand, Hole 13 is one of the harder holes on the course,” he adds. “It’s one of the most difficult sections of the course, too, especially with three severe breaks in the green and bunkers beyond.”
Hole 13 features three tiers that golfers must conquer on the green, as well as a bunker. The bunkers in the Royal Golf Course vary greatly in size and depth, but pose a formidable challenge to golfers of every skill level.
“Honestly, I enjoy bunkers. I like a challenge,” says Shawn. “There’s a big ol’ bunker on Hole 11 that just loves to throw me for a loop.”
On top of bunkers, golfers must also successfully navigate uphill holes and downhill holes. Hole 15 features a downward slope, making it easy for the ball to overshoot the green entirely, and Hole 3’s upward slope can bring a weak swing all the way back to the tee.
Shawn also shares some advice with avoiding water and the Royal Club properties that line the course.
“Water comes to play in holes 2, 5, 6 and 7, but you’ll never be forced to go over the water,” Shawn says. “There’s plenty of room to go around it and your score won’t necessarily suffer if you do.”
“The homes within the Royal Club won’t be in your face either,” he adds. “The course is set up so you won’t hit them, so try not to worry.”
Despite a challenging course overall and more than a handful of obstacles to avoid, Shawn applauds the course’s approachability, scenic views and, of course, his favorite hole.
“Hole 2 is definitely my favorite,” Shawn says. “You get the most beautiful view on the course and it’s a great section of the course to take a risk.”
For those playing the course the first time, Shawn advises golfers to keep things simple as they move from hole to hole, as they learn the course.
While Sörenstam and Palmer designed the course to meet the needs of golfers of all ages and abilities, Shawn admits that this is a course that will require multiple trips to master.
“This course has a lot of nuance to it,” Shawn says. “Just when you think you’ve got it figured out, it throws you for another surprise. It’s always interesting.”
“There’s so much to take in at each section of the course, and everyone plays differently,” he says. “Keep your game as simple as possible, and just try to enjoy it. That’s what Arnie would want. Just have fun.”