Designers: Charles Hutchings, Sir Guy Campbell
The historic links along the Channel Coast of England have played host to 17 Open Championships collectively, with an 18th due to arrive in 2020. Yet for three key reasons, the Prince’s Golf Club stands apart from both its Royal neighbors and most of the game’s links courses.
The first of Prince’s unique attributes is the fact that it is home to 27-holes. The Shore and Dunes nines comprise the bulk of the original course, and thus receive most of the attention. The Himalayas course, however, is a little shorter than its “championship” siblings, but is a favorite among the club’s members. The original course debuted in 1906 and was designed by former Amateur Champion, Charles Hutchings. The links suffered severe damage in both World Wars and was painstakingly restored by Sir Guy Campbell, who managed to use 17 of the original 18 greens in the process.
Those playing the Shore and Dunes nines will find a firm and fair challenge, but also a varied one depending on the direction and strength of the wind. If beginning on the Shore and facing the teeth of the breeze, the outward slog of the first two holes will present a formidable test right from the start. The turn home on both sides, however, will offer a bit of relief provided one can navigate the rumpled fairways in a manner which avoids the numerous cavernous bunkers. Be sure to enjoy the view from the 6th tee on the Dunes, and its panorama across the links of Prince’s and Royal St. George’s.
In addition to its 27-holes, another rarity for a links course found at Prince’s is the presence of accommodations directly on-site. The Lodge at Prince’s is comprised of 12 bedrooms which are located in its original clubhouse, just a stone’s throw from the first tees. Those looking for a convenient base to explore the links of the Channel Coast will find The Lodge a comfortable and enjoyable retreat, with all of the amenities required by the modern golf traveler. The on-site dining is also rather terrific and worthy of both a post-round visit and the double Rosette plaque hanging near the front door.
The final unique piece to the Prince’s story rests in its short stint as a member of The Open rota. Prince’s played host to the Claret Jug in 1932, which saw Gene Sarazen arrive to the links with a new club called a “Sand Wedge.” Sarazen went on to win the tournament by five strokes, thanks in no small part to his trusty invention, and donated the club to Prince’s as a token of his appreciation. To this day, Prince’s remains the only course to ever host The Open for just a single time.