I got the chance to replay the Shore/Dunes combo the other day, exactly five years after my previous visit. I commented in my review then that there surely could not be 50+ English courses better than Prince’s and I fully stand by that earlier remark.
Indeed, in light of all the recent upgrade work carried out here, that assertion holds even truer now than it did then – and there’s even more to come this winter with more new tees and bunkers, separating dune ridges and sandy scrape areas, in addition to introducing a new par three hole on the Shore nine.
The owner must be commended for addressing the concerns expressed by quite a number of people with world-wide experience (as well as taking into account their suggestions) then doing his level best to remedy any perceived weakness and improve on what was already an outstanding layout.
Overseeing the whole operation has been Martin Ebert, the R&A’s go-to designer who now seems to have cornered the architectural market in this corner of Kent because he also consults at near neighbours Royal St George’s and Royal Cinque Ports.
My main reason for revisiting Prince’s was to have a look at the remodelled Himalayas nine but I’m so glad I took the time to check out the Shore and Dunes again. In particular, the green surrounds on these two nines are absolutely sublime, transitioning fairway to putting surface seamlessly.
The (current) #5 on the Shore is a brilliant par four, played to what was the 18th green when the Open was played here next to the old clubhouse, and the reworked #2 on the Dunes, with its raised green sitting behind a newly developed sandy waste area, is a fabulous little par three hole.
In fairness, the Shore and Dunes are still something of a work in progress but once the new grass paths on the Himalayas are fully rolled out and the new low-lying dunes and wetland areas have been established on these two nines, it will more than likely cement their premier 18-hole status at Prince’s.
Date: August 15, 2019