- +44 (0) 1304 611118
2 miles NE of Sandwich
Welcome, contact in advance
Prince’s hosted the Open Championship on one occasion. The winner, Gene Sarazen, only claimed one Open title, but “The Squire” was the first golfer to win all four Majors.
It was difficult to decide exactly where to rank Prince’s Golf Club because there are 27 holes in three loops of nine, named Himalayas, Dunes and Shore. We've since made our minds up and agree the Shore & Dunes loops form the best 18-hole combination, but only just. Recently we've added a new independent webpage for the Himalayas so we don't do any of the three circuits a disservice.
At the turn of the 19th century, it was decided that a new links should be built at Sandwich, next door to Royal St George's. The new Prince's Golf Club would welcome ladies, juniors and men. Charles Hutchings and Percy Lucas laid out the course on land donated by the Earl of Guildford. The 18-hole course, stretching out to almost 7,000 yards, opened for play in 1907.
The military commandeered the course during both World Wars; it was virtually obliterated during the Second World War. However, in 1932, Prince’s Golf Club proudly hosted its first and only Open Championship. “The Squire”, Gene Sarazen, was the eventual winner. Sarazen continued his winning streak, becoming the first player to win all four Majors.
Sir Guy Campbell and John Morrison were commissioned to re-build Prince’s after the devastation of the Second World War and, incredibly, they were able to save 17 of the original greens and incorporate them into the new 27-hole layout. They have created a classic “links and a half”, with raised greens, rippled fairways, deep bunkers and, naturally, that famous links rough.
Following on from Martin Ebert’s successful Himalayas
upgrade, the Shore and Dunes nines have been similarly reworked, including re-bunkering, installation of new raised tees, new open natural sand scrape areas and a new sea-facing
short par three on the Shore loop. The work completed in early spring 2020.
The Dunes and Shore loops make up the “championship” course. The Himalayas is shorter but nonetheless, an enjoyable nine holes. Above all, a warm welcome awaits everyone, much as it did it when Prince’s Golf Club first opened, over a hundred years ago.
Fantastic links golf.
For me perhaps slightly more playable and not quite as absolutely special as it’s neighbour Royal St George’s, but at the same time it’s a wonderfully mature course that provides a true test of all facets of golf.
Raised tees and greens ensure challenging but interesting tee shots and approaches alike, and your short game will come under focus with the hidden drop offs around the green!
Great fun in a fantastic region for golf.
Played Dunes in possibly the heaviest winds the UK has seen for a while in Feb 2022, what an introduction to links. The Dunes 9 hole course was very intimidating in such wind but so enjoyable to play and in amazing condition. The staff and team were very friendly and helpful, well worth playing.
We played the Dunes first and it is a very tough course and very similar to Royal St Georges next door. The first , into the wind, was one of the most daunting tee shots i have played. The fairways are narrow and if you miss them you are doomed as thick rough/long grass awaits. The par 3s are long but are scorable. Will test your golfing abilities, and people that cant hit 200 yards off the tee will struggle. Great club and good atmospher. Would recommend.
Time for an update after two visits here in 2021. Now all three loops have been refurbished and the changes have had time to bed in, Princes is looking outstanding, with impressive bunkering and immaculate conditioning. The new tees add length and change angles to increase the options and challenge off the tee. The wide run off areas leave you with very tricky shots, but the option to recover with a putt, chip or pitch. Much more fun and thought provoking than one dimensional rough.
The new par three 5th on Shore offers a lovely respite from the long tough run into the prevailing wind over the opening stretch (1, 2, 4, 6). A great addition testing distance control.
Arguably, Dune/Shore is no longer the "championship combination", as Himalayas offers a little more variety and combines well with Dunes or Shore. But all three loops are equally good.
This is a venue which is very much on an upward trajectory, and I'd like to see that reflected in a climb up the next rankings.
So why have I given this 4.5. Reading the rating description above I don't quite think Prince's is worth flying in to play; it's certainly worth staying the night, and I did. As a collective - Royal St George's, Royal Cinque Ports, the full 27 at Prince's and a further 18 at Littlestone would definitely merit 5.5 balls.
My memories of Prince's will be of immaculate conditioning, huge greens (maybe two club lengths from front to back) and run offs which many courses would be proud to have as greens. It was also, and maybe some golfers might be astounded at this on a links, fair. Good shots got rewarded, brave lines could be taken and a good quality short game was needed because no one ever hits 18 good approach shots.
What doesn't sit brilliantly in my mind is each hole, on an individual basis. Some certainly do such as the 1st on the Dunes and the 9th on the Shore, but as a collective they tend to merge a bit into each other; as has been said before they tend to be played parallel to the sea and so played in the same wind.
I'll definitely go back, and maybe concentrate a bit more on each individual hole as opposed to the package, and excitement of being there. Just one question. While as a package we all got course guides, could we also have been handed the pin positions? No blind approaches, so not the worst thing in the world, but these are huge greens.
A very good test of golf. If you're from out of the area, Prince's have some fantastic deals where you can stay in the dormy house (meals included) and play a couple of rounds of golf. If you combine it with playing R. St George's next door, you will be sure to have a terrific mini golfing break.
I've played here several times now over the last 10 years, and as a venue it is definitely moving in the right direction, both off course and on course. The work on the Himalayas has been fantastic, but now the Shore and Dunes are benefitting from the ongoing renovation programme. The new short par 3 5th hole on Shore was under construction when I last visited in 2019. This hole plays towards the sea and offers a bit of variety as the other holes on this loop all play parallel to the coast. It looks a significant upgrade on the old 8th, which was a cramped and featureless par 3 squeezed into a small piece of land. Our 2020 visit fell victim to COVID so I'm looking forward to getting back there in 2021 to play this new hole.
The Shore starts strongly, with two long holes along the coast, followed by three shorter holes on the inside. My favourite holes on this loop are at the far end bordering Royal St George's. The 6th used to be a dogleg right, but new tees have been built close to the beach which turn this into a dogleg left. The hogsback fairway is difficult to find, and the green has gentle run offs on both sides that carry your ball away but still give you a chance to get up and down. The 7th is a great driving hole to an angled fairway guarded by bunkers. The green is perched on the edge of a dune, with anything right falling away and anything left in deep rough.
The Dunes starts with a very long tough par 4 into the prevailing wind which doglegs to the left. Bunkers protect the inside of the dogleg and tempt you to cut off more than you should. The green is then a very narrow target - this really is a par five for most golfers. The 2nd is a very attractive short par 3, enhanced by the open sandy waste area between tee and green. There's then a tough stretch of holes into the prevailing wind, which culminates at the 5th green, elevated and well defended up in the dunes at the far end of the course. You then turn for home and there are chances to finish strongly on holes 6-9.
Overall, the undulating fairways, green complexes and pot bunkers offer a classic links challenge, and the conditioning has consistently been excellent. If I’m nit-picking, nearly all the holes run up and down, in comparison to say RSG or Muirfield where the holes are routed in a loop so you have more subtle changes in the wind direction. Maybe not quite Open rota calibre but it's up there with the best of the rest. Some of the back tees look really intimidating and I'd like to see the pros play here.
Played here in winter, and stayed at the Lodge overnight. And got to experience all 3 9’s. The main 18 comprising of the Dunes and the Shore 9’s are simplistic links golf at its finest. It was beautiful weather and the greens were very good for late December! And here at Princes you get great value for money and it is affordable for the every day golfer, which RCP and RSG definitely are not. Also, the Lodge accomodation is absolutely beautiful, the service was great, the food was nice, and it was just a general treat being here.
I need to start with a confession. This review should be a 6. Having reconsidered my rationale, I struggle to see why I have marked it down at all. The clubhouse was lovely, staff welcoming, price reasonable, course excellent, basically everything you could ask for.
Why mark it down then? Its nothing more than a nagging feeling that it was set-up for tourist golf. Hypocritical coming from a tourist,I know, but it just played a couple of shots too easy. I played it well, and shot under my handicap (unusual for any first time course) - however we had other good scores in our group from some pretty average golf.
However that shouldn't be a criticism, it was a great course in great condition, and I did notice the competition tees were frightening, I mean genuinely terrifying to imagine playing off them. I also imagine that its set-up is entirely deliberate for tourist season and I can well imagine that had it been set-up harder it would have been a less enjoyable experience for some of our group.
As it happened though, all 6 in our group agreed it was brilliant, and you cant get more of an endorsement than everyone having an enjoyable round.
Having played Princes more than once you see how much effort and detail has been put into the course. Playing for the first time I didn’t really take the time to stop and look I was to busy playing my own game and not stopping once to take it in, but the next time I played I did stop and I realised how cleverly designed Princes really is. The bunkers have been placed well so that the player has to think more about his next shot rather than pulling out whatever club he feels like hitting. The greens are very challenging as they have big slopes on the edges that can carry the ball in any direction. The sides of the greens slope down a lot so it is hard for your ball to stop on the edge. The ball usually gets carried by the slope to the fringe or rough. The new par 3 smugglers rest is stunning on the eye and although it is short the huge green complex means you could be hitting anything from a sand iron to a driver depending on the weather! Overall the Shore & Dunes are very well designed and very well treated making Princes a great place to stay and play golf!