There are not many towns in the world that can say they have hosted a major championship but there are very few that can say they have two golf courses that back on to each other and both have held a major championship. The 1932 Open Championship was held at Prince’s Golf Club and became famous not only for Gene Sarazen winning all three major championships at the time – The Masters only came into being in 1934 – but also the secret club he had invented to win that championship which is now known as the Sand wedge.
The course has changed a lot since Sarazen’s time due to the damage it took during World War II which is a shame in a way as Prince’s was one of the first golf courses to be designed to take account of the modern golf ball. Charles Hutchings, the 1902 Amateur Champion was given the task of moulding this beautiful stretch of land looking out to the white cliffs of Dover. The new design now has 27 holes split into three loops of nine with the new clubhouse sitting in the middle. I have played Prince’s several times now and I have to say I always enjoy playing here. Today the sun is out and it’s one of those beautiful sunny winter days where the wind is constant and has that cold biting edge to it – thank you for modern apparel keeping me nice and warm!
Troon Golf have recently become involved with Prince’s Golf Club and as I played the Dunes first then the Shore and after a stop for a beer and a very nice ham, egg and chips - The Himalayas nines. You can see all the green staff beavering away and modernising the course and getting it ready for the summer months.
There are enough great holes on this course and the space once all the work is completed to try and get Prince’s back on the Open Championship rota. And with the newly built Lodges (see review in the Hotel & Spa section) Prince’s has staked its claim to become a base for golfers wanting to play three great links courses that all sit next to each other – Royal St George’s and Royal Cinque Ports Golf Clubs are the other two.
If I was pushed I would say my favourite nines where between the Shore and Himalayas nines, but I would hate that to be a detriment to the Dunes as it also has some great holes on there. It’s just a personal preference and I think you will have to head down to Sandwich Bay and decide what one is yours. I am sure it will be a great topic of discussion over a nice few local Kent beers or wines watching the sunset over the Shores 5th green in the bar at the Lodges and believe me that is a sight worth watching.