Review by Joseph Austin (TGB Director) 02.04.2012 Hcp 6
Prince’s Golf Club, Sandwich Bay, Sandwich, Kent, CT13 9QB
Prince’s Golf Club is situated overlooking Sandwich bay, with the bay itself and the white cliffs of Ramsgate on one side and Royal St George’s golf club on the other. If ever there was a location destined to be a links golfing haven – THIS IS IT!
The club has a history steeped in tradition, most notably, having played host to the 1932 British Open Championship – won by Gene Sarazen – making it one of only 14 golf courses to have hosted this esteemed event. Since then a number of Prestigious Amateur and Professional events have been staged at Prince’s including The Curtis Cup, British Ladies’ Open Amateur Strokeplay Championship, The Amateur Championship (with Royal St George’s) and The Open Championship – Final Qualifying. Prince’s is currently ranked 4th in Kent and 65th in England and is ranked amongst the best links courses in the country.
Prince’s has 3 sets of 9 Holes appropriately named The “Shore”, “Dunes” and “Himalayas”. Each nine provides its own individual test with the Shore and the Dunes making up the Championship 18 holes. The club house, having been initially sited where the new Lodge is now located, was moved and rebuilt after the war. In 1950 Sir Guy Campbell and John Morrison were engaged to redesign and restore the course. Despite the wartime damage it was found possible to incorporate 17 of the original greens into a new layout of 27 holes. The “Shore”, “Dunes” and “Himalayas” courses, each starting and finishing beside the clubhouse have held competitions and Championships, through several combinations of course.
The Club House, open in 1985 by Peter Alliss, was significantly extended and completely refurbished to provide facilities of the highest modern standards for the open Championship in 2003. The panoramic views across the course and the Sandwich bay have helped secure the clubs establishment as one of the leading prestigious venues in the south for society and Corporate Golf Days.
Prince’s is unique in that unlike the vast majority of links golf courses, a golfer will not encounter a blind tee shot, which is very refreshing. The Shore course, as its name suggests, runs along the sea front and feels very exposed to the seaside elements. The opening hole is a testing 433 yard par 4 with fairway bunkers standing sentry approximately 260 yards from the tee. This is a good example of things to come – picking lines off the tee is paramount at prince’s to avoid fairway bunkers and to score well. The Dune’s and Shore’s each consist of 2 par 3′s and 2 par 5′s with 5 par 4′s resulting in a par 72, whilst the Himalayas course has only one par 5 giving a par 35 and resulting par 71 on the other 18 hole combinations.
The Dune’s and Himalayas turn inland and weave between the dunes, giving some protection against the wind, however, finding the fairway is all important as the rough is very penal and can easily result in a lost ball or a bad lie resulting in a chip out sideways. In my opinion the Dune’s, dependant on the wind, plays generally more difficult. The 10th as we played it – the 1st on the Dunes – a par 4 dog leg left, that plays 473 yards, is an upfront portrayal of the testing 9 holes to come. The 12th – a 557 yard par 5 – presents three pot-hole bunkers positioned in the centre of the fairway and out of bounds in play all along the right gives no respite. The par 4 SI 1, 13th follows; another centrally positioned fairway pot-hole bunker awaits, that requires an almost perfect tee-shot to realise par. The penultimate hole, a 217 yard par 3 is the longest par 3 at Prince’s and in my opinion the best – a real stunner, with only a solitary pot bunker guarding the green – a classic links par 3 with the potential to ruin a good score.
Overall, if you are a fan of links golf, Prince’s is a must visit destination. The lengthy drive to Prince’s Golf Club – providing visitors with an extensive view of the breathtaking sandwich bay – only wets the appitite of what lies in waiting. Tightly mown fairways coupled with lightning quick greens and picturesque bunkers create an undeniable test of golf on what is one of the finest links courses in the South East of England.
The recent addition of the Lodge at Prince’s – to be finished in summer 2012 – is a 38 bedroom complex offering the finest in accommodation, gym and catering facilities, coupled with a museum gallery featuring the 1st ever sandwedge club used by Gene Sarazen on his way to victory in the 1932 British Open, is poised to put Prince’s on the map of golfing holiday destinations.
TGB is delighted to offer Prince’s as part of the Visit Kent Group and know that anyone visiting this venue is assured of a warm welcome and memorable experience.