JUNE 2011 n TROONGOLFANDTRAVEL.COM 15
THE OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP
A Review Local Courses of
ROYAL CINQUE PORTS
Just down the beach and separated from
Royal St George’s by just a couple of roads
and a few houses, Royal Cinque Ports has
hosted The Open twice. Sadly, later at-
tempts in 1938 and 1949 were both thwart-
ed when abnormally high tides and east-
erly winds swept the sea over the course.
A wall now exists so that golfers can enjoy
this vintage and first-class, out-and-in
links. The final seven holes, when into the
wind, are as tough as they come.
Often described as a "hidden gem," this is
a super links some half-hour from Sand-
wich. It will provide challenge and enjoy-
ment in equal measure. No. 2 is a fun hole
with its approach over a ditch and be-
tween two large dunes, while No. 17 is one
of the best par-3s you will find; a wood
one day, a short-iron the next. Along with
Royal Cinque Ports, Littlestone will host
Final Qualifying for the 2011 Open.
“...gene sarazen won the 1932 open (at prince's) using
a golf club which he had invented specifically for
the tournament: the first modern sand wedge.”
This par-71 course eight miles from Royal St
George's is a little different from the others
as it is actually more of a cliff-top setting.
However, it has plenty of links characteris-
tics and has been used for Open qualifying.
There are two distinct loops of nine either
side of a country lane. For those feeling
thirsty and fancying something a little dif-
ferent to break up their round, it is possible
to leave your clubs by the 7th green, sneak
out through the boundary fence, and have
a pint in the Captain Digby pub that is just
over the road.
Immediately adjacent to Royal St George's is Prince's Golf Club, where Gene Sarazen won the 1932 Open using a golf club which he had invented specifically for the tourna-
ment: the first modern sand wedge. He went on to describe this excellent facility (now
managed by Troon Golf) as “Britain’s finest course,” and whilst it has only hosted The
Open once, it is used for local final qualifying whenever the event comes to Sandwich.
Unusually, it is blessed with three loops of nine, with the Shore and Dunes generally be-
ing used for more serious competitions. Slightly flatter than its neighbor, it offers a more
relaxed welcome and exceptional value throughout the year. The original clubhouse at
Prince's is currently being rebuilt and expanded into The Lodge. The new portion of
The Lodge development will be ready ahead of The 2011 Open Championship and will
accommodate up to 48 guests. The original clubhouse will have 15 suites, a restaurant,
bar, gym and snooker room and is scheduled to be fully operational in January 2012.
Meanwhile, the bunkers on all 27 holes are being redesigned and revetted, with a three-
year refurbishment program for tees and paths throughout the courses.
A little further away but well-worth the
trip is this Harry Colt-designed classic.
With his trademark bunkers and a num-
ber of blind shots over ridges, this is his-
toric and traditional golf played the way
it was designed to be played. There are
some excellent long par 4s, and the five
short holes are as testing, fun and attrac-
tive as you will get to play anywhere. Rye
is staunchly old-fashioned with memora-
bilia and the ghosts of golf-gone-by haunt-
ing every corner of the clubhouse.