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Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Founded in 1892, Royal Cinque Ports' (aka Deal) first 9 holes are to have been designed by Ramsay Hunter, the greenkeeper at Sandwich and construction supervised by Harry Hunter (Ramsay's brother), the greenkeeper at Deal. It only took a few years for the club to gain traction when it decided to acquire land for 9 additional holes designed by Harry Hunter.  After disastrous flooding in 1897, the extension didn't open until 1899.  The Ladies British Open was soon after held at Deal, thus initiating the club's long and sometimes rocky road as a host of such events.  It was on the cards that an Open would come to Deal and it came to pass in 1909. JH Taylor easily won the 4th of his five Opens. Deal looked set to be a regular stop in the Open rota, sadly, this wasn't to be the case. Mother nature in the form of flooding and politics in the guise of world wars scuppered Deal's hopes of hosting the Open in 1915, 1938, 1942 and 1949.  It came to pass that only one more Open would come to Deal, a very popular win by George Duncan in 1920. Onto the course.



#2 Approach


The third is a lovely hole the length of a par 4, but quite often plays like a par 5.  With the new changes, I am not sure what the par is!  In any case, the tee was pushed well left to ensure the safety of the walkers along the beach wall.  Before and after.




Unless one is very long the second plays over the spectacle bunkers to a puncbowl green...I believe one of only three original Hunter greens remaining.  If the hole is forward I reckon the idea is to try and bang the approach off the base of the 4th tee and hope one gets a reasonable birdie putt.  Coming from the left side of the fairway, there is a wee bit of space on the right side of the green which leaves a decent chance for a two putt birdie.

In the old days.


Right of the green looking toward 4 tee. 


Front.


Back.


I think the one-shotters are the weakness of Deal.  Still, I like the 4th despite some rather silly rough too tight to the back left of the green.  Of course, the 4th used to be one of the more famous holes in British golf.  Known as Sandy Parlour, the green was well left of the 3rd green and right of the 17th tee.  The blind green was approached from a tee near what is now the sea wall.  The current version was created in time for the would be 1938 Open. 

Sandy Parlour






Today


While not a bad hole if a bit too similar to #2, #5 is not a par 5 which comes close to the interest and charm of #s 3 & 16.  The club should consider playing the forward tee as the daily tee, par 4.  The 6th is one of the great short 4s in golf.  Ironically, Deal's long time benefactor and owner refused to play the hole.  Sir Aynsley Bridgland, the Australian entrepreneur, wanted to straighten the hole and place the green near the 14th green.  His very good friend and then President of Deal, Jack Aisher, persuaded Sir Aynsley to leave well enough alone.  Usually the focus is on the approach and rightfully so. However, the mix of tees available is also a strength which keeps the player guessing as to the best play on the day.  I have played previously where I just gave driver a go at the green and was successful. Below is the approach after a sensible lay-up. There aren't many holes I have played 5 iron off the tee and a scuttling 6 iron approach!  One can see how the green opens up if the drive is well past the hill.


The 7th is Deal's ace up the sleeve.  Often treated as a walk-over, with the prevailing wind quartering off the left and a tricky hole location, #7 can quickly be recognized as one of the better holes on the course. 






Holes 8-12 were radically redesigned  in time for the 1920 Open with the helping hand of James Braid.  Except for Sandy Parlour, the course as presented for that Open is the same routing played today. 
Depending on the wind, the 8th can either be a good hole or a decent hole.  Despite the large green, when downwind there is very little room for maneuver. That said, the club has improved the area behind the green so rocks are less of an issue and instead there is a place to miss when the wind isn't cooperative.


Roundtree's vision of the hole.


The 9th has one of the best placed bunkers on the course guarding the left corner off the tee.  In a good wind it can seem as if there is no fairway at all! 

The back nine has a few hitches to accompany its brilliance.  First, the 11th is too similar to the 9th.  Second, I don't care for the similar tee shot look at #s 13 & 15.  Attacking these bunkers successfully, or at least the right bunkers, leads to a lie in the rough.  I also don't believe these bunkers really guard the best line for the approach (a problem noted for other bunkers as well), but this would obviously depend greatly on the wind.  Finally, despite many claims to the contrary, play seems to be a beat back into a headwind or a some sort of quartering crosswind for too many successive holes.  Despite these reservations, there is some cracking golf to be had - starting with #10.  I am particularly enamoured with good use of flat land.  The tenth may be my favourite at Deal due to its somewhat obscured driving line and how the flag beckons to the left, beyond troubling rough, a ditch a hollow and a large bunker.  This bunker recently replaced a pot bunker. Some believe, this change has softened the hole because there is a play from the bunker to the green.  The pot bunker made any such recovery very unlikely. 




The 11th begins the back nine proper.  In a 20mph prevailing wind its probably best to treat the last eight holes as par 5s - 40 shots isn't at all bad for the final eight holes.  Many of the greens at Deal are by nature repelling.  The 12th on the other hand is unusually quite receptive.




The 13th has yet to make much of an impression on me.  This most recent trip provided me with an opportunity to reassess the 14th.  Given that its big hitter golf coming back at Deal, I think a much shorter hole would provide for a better rhythm.  Even so, if more space were provided down the right the hole would be improved.  I did play it from the 170 yard tees on one game - much better hole to my way of thinking.


Bunkers are down the right and a bank left.


Turning right and playing over bounding ground, the 15th is an excellent if very difficult two-shotter. 


16 may well be the most loved hole at Deal and why not?  The approach for aggressive players is likely one of the best they will face anywhere especially if the hole is up front.  Flat bellies will often try to carry the ridge onto a small blind landing zone short of the green and hope the ball feeds to the green - slowly.  I suspect, as is the case nearly everywhere else, Deal's fairways have shrunk.  Carrying the right hand bunkers on 13 and 15 results in play from the rough.  In the case of this hole, its a good angle if the wind isn't howling off right.   Recently, the fairway was extended quite a bit to the left. I suspect this is basically a restoration as there used to be additional fairway. It is now possible to flank the green for a good angle should the hole be located up front.  This is a controversial change to a much admired hole.  I don't think there is any doubt the added width has softened the hole, but that may be the price to pay for options. 




The Valley of Indecision. 


The new left side of the fairway.






#17, while not long, can play so.  The fairway is quite similar to #3, a roller coaster which can leave a very tough approach for such a short hole.  The first photo was taken on top of the hill, a short drive. 






Most people wouldn't choose the final hole as one of their favourites, but I love the look of the raised green.  Despite holding the opinion that the entire plateau should be green, this green-site helps foster variety which Deal's par 4s has in spades. 


A look at what was the 9th circa 1895, which is now the 18th. As one would expect, conditions were far more rough and ready.


I have always believed the terrain at Deal is ideal for golf and perhaps I have been overly critical of the out n' back routing in the past. However, the shape of the property isn't great for golf and this is probably the critical factor in my not taking to Deal as much as others do. The bottom line is the final seven holes can be a terrible slog.  Maybe half of the best terrain on the property is eaten up by beating back into the wind when the number one priority is distance.   It seems a shame for these lovely ground contours not to be used for more intricate play-making rather than simply banging driver-wood.  Be that as it may, Deal has as good a set of par 4s as any course I know. Throw in the 16th, the newly improved 4th (the soup in the rear of the green seems less severe) and an imaginative set of greens and this is a recipe for an unquestionably great course.  2*  2019



An incredible set of photos by Jason Livy which are equally beautiful and relevant.
www.jasonlivy.com/golf/golf-courses/royal-cinque-ports-golf-club/#section1

Ciao[/url]
« Last Edit: May 11, 2022, 04:18:14 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies, Meadowbrook, Dunes Club & Crystal Downs

Jamie Barber

Re: KENT KALEIDOSCOPE or I Was Wrong
« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2010, 06:35:38 AM »
Sean, glad you had fun. W.r.t the bunkering at Prince's, currently this is being revised. All are being refurbished, many moved. The club had hoped to be further along, but the very wet winter hampered it (hard to believe now I expect but the 9th Dunes was underwater for much of the winter).

I agree about the "sameness" of the driver, in additional to your suggestion, I'd also love to see some routing to cross the dunes on one or two holes, but not sure if it will ever happen.

Next time you're down, look me up. Tony had mentioned your trip and I had hoped to hook up with you guys, but work got in the way (I'm writing this from a sweltering Muscat)
« Last Edit: July 06, 2010, 06:42:41 AM by Jamie Barber »

Brent Hutto

Re: KENT KALEIDOSCOPE or I Was Wrong
« Reply #2 on: July 06, 2010, 09:08:39 AM »
Next time you're down, look me up. Tony had mentioned your trip and I had hoped to hook up with you guys, but work got in the way (I'm writing this from a sweltering Muscat)

I thought the shock of going from the 50F Kent coast back home to 95F was extreme. By comparison to Jamie's change it climate I got off easy enough! Of course it'll still be 95F here in August when Jamie is back home enjoying a English late summer.

Noel Freeman

  • Karma: +0/-0
Sean-

Finally you see the error of your ways re: Deal.. I could nitpick you to death on your review. #3 has that short bunker because the tee is going back to make it a 570y par 5.. That bunker will be very very much in play then.. The fairway has shifted over to accomodate this as well..

#10-- Sir Guy Campbell said the hole's greatness affected him like the blow of an angel's wing

No love for the new seawall tees on #7 and 9?

How could you forget #15 or #17 in your pix?  You do have a nice one of the Valley of Inglorious Security on #16

And I could disagree with your depiction of the par 3s..

Sadly, Deal has just seen its club secretary resign.  The club has done well under his aegis, I hope they get a worthy replacement.


JNC Lyon

  • Karma: +0/-0
Sean, you must have had so much fun at Deal!  The course looks like it is at its ultimate firm and fast condition, making those little humps and bumps even more devilish.  

I was struck by the one stretch of green grass--the valley in front of 16 green.  That low-lying area is what makes the hole so maddening to me.  The second shot will not bounce up as much as it should, meaning that two good shots often leave a vexing pitch shot to the raised green.  The last 150 yards of the 16 is an unbelievable combination of ground features that make for big swings in fortune.  Although I loved the 3rd at Deal, I think the 16th is the best three-shotter between Sandwich and Deal.

One correction: you're last photo of the 16th is really a picture of the 15th green.  I'm surprised you didn't feature the 15th in your essay, as it is the most interesting of Deal's many long par fours.  I also dig the par fours at 7 (a Mark Chaplin favorite), 12, 13, and especially 17.  Is there a better stretch of golfing terrain than the 17th at Deal?

The 6th is an all-time favorite, one that grows on me after each play.  That green is just phenomenal, especially because it does not clearly favor a ground approach or a aerial approach.  I think the seawall actually makes this hole better, because it means the golfer is rewarded for stuffing a tee shot into the long-left portion of the fairway.  An approach looking directly into that seawall behind the green is much more comfortable than one looking across the narrow portion of the green from the right.  I love the 6th, and it might be favorite at Deal.

As for the 18th, I do think it is an underrated hole.  The tee shot asks the golfer to challenge the left side of the fairway for the best angle into the green.  The raised green is nearly impossible to judge, both on the second shot and on putts outside of 15 feet.  It is a very solid closer.  However, I can't say it is one of my favorites at Deal.  I would pick all of the par fours I named above ahead of it.

Just out of curiousity, why do you think Sandwich is better than Deal?  Aren't the best holes of the two found at Deal?  Does Deal have any holes that are measurably weaker than the weakest ones at Sandwch?  I feel Deal has a charm about it that Sandwich cannot match, and Deal has the balance of challenge and fun to back up this charm.
"That's why Oscar can't see that!" - Philip E. "Timmy" Thomas

Brent Hutto

Just out of curiousity, why do you think Sandwich is better than Deal?  Aren't the best holes of the two found at Deal?  Does Deal have any holes that are measurably weaker than the weakest ones at Sandwch?  I feel Deal has a charm about it that Sandwich cannot match, and Deal has the balance of challenge and fun to back up this charm.

The sixth and tenth at Deal are second to none in my estimation. As individual holes go, the tenth is probably my favorite two-shotter ever.  But two things elevate Royal St. Georges above (almost) all other courses, Royal Cinque Ports included...

One is that thing they have going on with the fairway contours where there is often a tight (in some cases almost impossibly tight) driving target offering a clear advantage for ones approach. Yet on the same holes there is ample fairway that even a hacker playing in a breeze can find, offering safe haven and to one extent or another a manageable second shot. It seems fairly easy to build a hole that offers an exacting tee shot and punishes anything less. In my experience it is a rarity to find a hole that offers an accessible tee shot and rewards a more precise position. Yet I'd think the latter is very much a GCA ideal.

The other thing about Sandwich is harder to define. The scope and scale of the dunesland, the close alternation of seclusion and huge vistas as one walks along the course, the sound of the breeze in the grass, the frequent sight of St. Georges Cross flying in front of the clubhouse (often from a great distance viewed across wonderfully up-and-down terrain) and just generally a wonderful "Big" vibe that contrasts with the more homey and individually-scaled feel of Deal. I feel at home (even as an infrequent visitor) at Deal but feel like a tiny figure adrift on something much larger at Sandwich and I have to admit I enjoy the latter feeling immensely.

Noel Freeman

  • Karma: +0/-0
Sadly, the full profile for Deal I wrote for the World Atlas of Golf didnt make the cut--although if you have the book a good part of the text made it into the England introduction.. In it, I said (and I am not the first to say it), there is NO course in the UK that has a closer spirit, ethos and similarity to the Old Course than Deal..

Why?

1) Routing-- both are narrow affairs out and back, with a loop at the turn
2) The first holes are very similar short par 4s with a ditch in front
3) You are by the sea but never really see it (changed now a bit with Deal's seawall tees).. Obviously before the sea-wall Deal didnt have that nature.


Bill_McBride

  • Karma: +0/-0
Sadly, the full profile for Deal I wrote for the World Atlas of Golf didnt make the cut--although if you have the book a good part of the text made it into the England introduction.. In it, I said (and I am not the first to say it), there is NO course in the UK that has a closer spirit, ethos and similarity to the Old Course than Deal..

Why?

1) Routing-- both are narrow affairs out and back, with a loop at the turn
2) The first holes are very similar short par 4s with a ditch in front
3) You are by the sea but never really see it (changed now a bit with Deal's seawall tees).. Obviously before the sea-wall Deal didnt have that nature.



Noel, I finally got to Deal last September for the Buda and thoroughly enjoyed my four rounds there.   What a great walk in the park and yes, it does remind you of the Old Course for the reasons cited above.  A few of us are returning in mid-September this year pre-Buda, join us if you're in the neighborhood!

JNC Lyon

  • Karma: +0/-0
I feel at home (even as an infrequent visitor) at Deal but feel like a tiny figure adrift on something much larger at Sandwich and I have to admit I enjoy the latter feeling immensely.


Maybe that's one reason why I prefer Deal to Sandwich.  I have a feeling of warmth and closeness when I play Deal.  Deal is a test, but the charm keeps the course very close to my soul.  Sandwich, while grand, feels grand, distant, and almost alienating.  I felt like I could never get to know and love Sandwich in the way that I love Deal.  That is why I would rather play Deal any time.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2010, 09:09:09 AM by JNC_Lyon »
"That's why Oscar can't see that!" - Philip E. "Timmy" Thomas

Bill_McBride

  • Karma: +0/-0
By the way, I love Sean's title for this thread: "Kent Kaleidoscope!"

Other areas of the UK stake their claims, but it's hard to find a better stretch of seaside links than Rye - Littlestone - Deal - Princes (which I'm excited to be seeing in September) - Sandwich.  Each is unique, all are exciting golf over great ground.

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: KENT KALEIDOSCOPE or I Was Wrong (for the benefit of Deal members)
« Reply #10 on: July 06, 2010, 11:02:51 AM »
Tuco

I like all of the par 4s without exception though several are not in anyway exceptional.  The par 3s are all flawed however.  #8 should be a cracker (and nearly is), but the bunker scheme is too tight.  #14 is okay, but I don't tend to be a big fan of long par 3s.  #4 is the best of the lot and would be better if the rough to the rear left was hacked down.  The penalty for hitting the green and being fed into junk is too harsh - more is the pity. 

John

I don't think Deal has the best holes because the 4th at Sandwich is the best of all of them.  For me, the changing wind direction is a huge plus at Sandwich.  I like the massive amount of space and yet the holes all link together in a sensible routing. I also think the par 3s at Sandwich while not a great set (with the 3rd not impressing me at all) is better than Deal's.  Finally, I think Sandwich is more playable.  There is more space to play the game whereas Deal feels a bit too tight when the wind blows.  Its nothing that a bit of rough hacking can't cure. 

Next up - PRINCES SHORE & DUNES: The 2017-18 Winter Tour Rambles On

Let me get this off my chest immediately.  I despise the three nine hole loop system.  There is always a combo which either most want to play or is considered the best.  It is clear Princes markets the Shore/Dunes combo as the championship course so why not call it the 18 holer with the Himalayas designated as the 9 holer? Phew!

With the fortunes of Sandwich going from strength to strength over the past 100 plus years and Deal being a club much in prominence as well, it should be remembered there was a time when Princes was perhaps considered the premier club among the three.  After WWI, Princes came into its own due to its connection with the London set.  The membership roll counted many very prominent families of great influence which included the Astors, Slazengers, Playfairs, Wighams and du Mauriers.  The great and good of the Services, London clubs and Parliamentarians were also well represented at Princes.  It should be no surprise then that the 1922 Ladies Open was chosen to be played at Princes.  The storied Joyce Wethered (later Lady Heachcote-Amory) won the first of four Ladies Opens that year with a devestating 9 & 7 victory over Cecil Leitch.  The quality of Wethered's play was widely recognized.  The Scottish Professional, Willie Wilson, commented "Why mon, she could hit the ball 240 yards on the fly while standing barefoot on a cake of ice."  Bobby Jones said he doubted if there had been a better golfer, man or woman.  In the Associated Press's 50 year poll in 1950, Wethered ranked 7th among all golfers!  The six golfers listed higher were Jones, Hogan, Hagen, Snead, Nelson and Sarazen! 

It is easy to see why Bobby Jones and Walter Hagen admired her swing! 

www.youtube.com/watch?v=ivo0n49U3aI

The club owes an immense debt of gratitute to Sir Aynsley Bridgland, who in 1950 engaged Sir Guy Campbell and John Morrison (courses completed in 1956) to breath life back in Princes after the destruction by WWII training exercises.  To those with some knowledge of British golf architecture, this combination of architects may sound highly unusual.  However, the arrangement is even more strange as apparently Campbell and Morrison worked individually on the project rather than as a team.  Sadly, I do not know which architect designed which holes.  Be that as it may, the club would never regain its pre-war prominence which likely reached a peak when the club hosted the 1932 Open won by Gene Sarazen.   At the time, the winning score of 283 (-13), leading wire to wire was an Open record.  Despite wartime damage, 14 of the original Percy Lucas(?) green sites (consulting architects included H Fowler, M Fergusson and C Hutchinson) were incorporated into a new layout of 27 holes, yet no hole of complete orginal stock survives.  We now have a course which is very good indeed, even if not quite of the character which once existed at Princes. 

www.theopen.com/sitecore/content/Home/Heritage/OpenVenues/Princes/1932

The Shore/Dunes combo is chocker block with fine holes and I dare say the Dunes 9 stands up very well with the front nine of Sandwich and the back nine of Deal.  Hole after hole is full of interest and fun.  Many of the green sites are wonderful and the putting surfaces have enough interest to keep golfers engaged. However, I will say that like Deal, the rough is harsh when playing in a cross wind (like Birkdale, Princes is in the main a crosswind design) and perhaps some concessions in the way of wider fairways should be made for the handicap golfer. Princes can sometimes be found in more primitive condition than either Sandwich or Deal, but not to the point where it is a detriment to oneís enjoyment.  Many believe a singular drawback to the design is many of the drives look similar as they progress between low lying dunes.  I am not of that opinion and think the low-lying nature of the terrain still provides for each hole to play differently.  That said, Princes would benefit from more holes like #s 1, 5, 6 Dunes and 6 Shore, where the dune ridge is used in a more oblique manner.  Of course, a design of this ilk would probably require the use of the Himalaya 9 which would mean only 18 holes would be possible on the property.  Finally, I have heard some grumbling about the bunkering, but for the most part their placement is very considered.  There are some centre-line bunkers both in driving zones and the approach landing zones which are particularly interesting.

PRINCES SHORE

The course starts off in a difficult way with a straight par 4.  Things ease off for a shortish three-shotter before turning about face for the medium length short 3rd. 


Not unlike 1 & 2, the 4th pushes back into the wind toward St Georges.  In a way Shores 5 is typical and atypical of Princes.  The typical aspect is the player must decide how much of the mini-cape to chew off. The course is littered with this particular decision as many holes move a penny left or a penny right.  The atypical aspect is the hole heads over flattish terrain.  Still, the effect of a low-lying depression down the entire right side is what makes this hole.  Just left of the green (which I believe was the original 18th green) are the new Lodges built on the site of the old clubhouse. 

The good golf continues on #6.  The fairway snakes along a dune ridge with bunkers pinching on the right.  The green is perched on the ridge and reminds me a lot of Cruden Bay's 6th where it is often wise to flank the green right then play up to the ridge.  Princes would benefit greatly with more holes such as this which attack the dune lines.  The main feature of the Princes skyline was the Richborough Power Station; it was torn down a few years ago. 


The approach can plague one with thoughts of how far left can I go and still be safe? 


A look at the green from the right.


Heading in the same direction as 6, the 7th is decent length three-shotter with a semi-plateau green. 




Turning once gain, we come to the final par 3 on the Shores.  The front of the green looks to have been recently re-designed to great effect.  The new left bunker is well placed to grab shots floating on the wind.  The 9th is a unique hole in my experience.  The double ridge fairway can funnel a well placed drive an immense distance.  I wouldn't be surprised if flat bellies playing forward tees couldn't reach this green and perhaps the back tees should be eliminated in favour of this sort of set-up. 


PRINCES DUNES

The Dunes is easily the best nine on the property.  The opener is a brutal two-shotter of some 439 yards.  Once again the golfer is asked to choose a line off the tee with extreme caution, aggression and everything inbetween being on offer.  I don't recall the bunkers in the face of the ridge; perhaps they are new.  In truth, the sand doesn't change the strategy though the three bunkers do offer a different look to most of the course.  No matter which line off the tee is chosen, all must cope with the centre-line bunker some 30 or so yards short of the green.  I am trying to think of a more severe green for such a long approach and can't come up with an example to beat this.  There can't be more than 20 feet between steep drop-offs right and left.  In truth, this green is likely too severe, but what a wonderful hole regardless. In the first photo below we can still see the derelict clubhouse prior to the construction of the Lodges. 






Like Princes itself, the par 3s are likely undervalued.  I think they are the best of the Kent links.  Richborough before and after photos.




Perhaps the clutch of vegetation acts a visual block, but if this isn't the case, the hole would be more attractive with a bit of gardening behind the green.


The third is a fine par 5 with fairly new centre-line bunkers and oob down the right.  The slightly raised green is a perfect example of the sublime simplicity which abounds at Princes. 




Next comes a par 4 which has been radically re-worked in recent years.  The fairway is unusually generous for Princes, but the hole progressively narrows to a tough green set on a mini mesa. 


The 5th is slightly unusual at Princes because one doesn't go in search of the fairway.  Rather, the drive calls for a whack up the middle of a fairway which reassuringly cozies up to the tee...even if the large sleepered bunker on the left causes a second take.  The approach to the diagonal plateau green is one of Princes' best. 




The 6th wriggles right around a dune ridge and features a handful of well placed bunkers.  The fairway narrows and turns into an elephant's graveyard near the bi-level green. 


Princes is slowly "improving" the look of their bunkers.  I do like many of the newer style which have gone more for the dinasaur print look, but I do lament the loss of the rough and ready look.  The bunker short and right of the green was a prime example.




The 7th chugs along without making much of an impact except for the new huge bunker set into the right dune ridge.  The outstanding short hole on the course is #8.  From the photo it is evident that getting close to this hole location is near on impossible. 


A look at the green from the right side. 


Unfortunately, the side ends with a rather mundane par 4 that lacks the critical joy factor of its neighbouring 9th.  But not lets stop this from admiring what I think is a lovely course.  Despite Princes getting a load spot on with a largely functional approach to the design, keeping the rough too long and/or fairways too narrow is an issue not to be ignored.  Many will rightly say that Princes simply doesn't have the character of terrain which produces the heroic holes of Sandwich and the quirk of Deal.  This viewpoint is obviously correct, but not of great importance for all three are expressly divergent and strike me as very comfortable in their own skin.    One thing is for certain, the first time visitor to the Kent coast should not forego a game at any of the three links for each is excellent.  I leave with you the Finegan's final thoughts on Princes.  "There is a purity, an integrity, and challenge to this collection of links holes that I think you will find genuinely satisfying.  The Pleasurable excitement is of a subtler, cumulative nature."  1*  2018

Ciao
« Last Edit: August 18, 2019, 01:09:06 PM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies, Meadowbrook, Dunes Club & Crystal Downs

Mark Pearce

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: KENT KALEIDOSCOPE or I Was Wrong (for the benefit of Deal members)
« Reply #11 on: July 06, 2010, 11:07:57 AM »
Aren't the best holes of the two found at Deal?  
I have more limited experience of both courses (though hope to experience Deal again this summer) but whilst Deal has some great holes, I thought the best hole on either course might well have been 4 at RSG.  I also think Deal has more average holes.  Interesting that neither has a stellar set of par 3s, though I thought 6 at RSG was pretty good, despite what Sean says.
In July 2022 I will be riding 3 stages of the Tour de France,  in the Alps, to raise money for the William Wates Memorial Trust which is dedicated to providing opportunities for under privileged young adults.  To support the Trust, please visit https://fundraising.wwmt.org/fundraisers/MarkPearce/rid

Jamie Barber

Re: KENT KALEIDOSCOPE or I Was Wrong (for the benefit of Deal members)
« Reply #12 on: July 06, 2010, 12:05:36 PM »
Conditioning at Prince's is on the up now Troon are in charge. It will take more years but soon I think it will be kept how it should.

The course manager told me that the new hotel in the ruins of the old clubhouse, together with the dormie house, will eventually offer 80 beds, so might make a good base for golfing in kent for visitors.

Brent, natives here are telling me the weather is nice right now, not too hot; it's been topping 40C each day with stifling humidity. Thank goodness for AC.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2010, 12:09:17 PM by Jamie Barber »

JNC Lyon

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: KENT KALEIDOSCOPE or I Was Wrong (for the benefit of Deal members)
« Reply #13 on: July 06, 2010, 10:11:45 PM »
Aren't the best holes of the two found at Deal?  
I have more limited experience of both courses (though hope to experience Deal again this summer) but whilst Deal has some great holes, I thought the best hole on either course might well have been 4 at RSG.  I also think Deal has more average holes.  Interesting that neither has a stellar set of par 3s, though I thought 6 at RSG was pretty good, despite what Sean says.

I know, I know, everybody loves the 4th at Sandwich.  The dunes and the tee shot bunkers are majestic.  The tee to green strategy is very sound.  The green is wild and very cool.  However, I just cannot get over two things about it. 

First, I think the tee shot is a bit awkward.  I don't think the angle of the tee shot is suited for the heroic setting of the dunes.  The goal is to try and carry as much of the bunkers as possible, yet making the deepest possible carry to the right leaves the golfer in knee-high rough right of the fairway.  I think these heroic features are more suited to a "bite off as much as you can chew" type of carry than the current hole.  I fully understand that the constraints of the property did not allow for such a carry.  Nevertheless, the hole will always remain a bit awkward in my mind.

Second, the green at 4, while very unique, plays the same way to the same pin position each day.  The 4th green only has limited areas for hole locations, which makes the hole less interesting in my book.  On the other hand, holes like 3, 6, 16, and 17 at Deal all play differently each day, with myriad hole locations to dictate different strategies back to the tee.  For these two reasons, Sandwich's 4th does not quite match up to my favorites at Deal.

I think that Deal suffers less from having inferior par threes than does from having only three par threes.  I do like all three par threes at Deal.  When will you ever find two short threes that are as different as 4 and 8.  4, I think, is especially good because it is so different from the normal short iron par three. 

I also love the 14th, which is made great by the prevailing right to left wind.  This hole tempts the golfer to throw his tee shot out to the right and let the wind bring it back to the green.  Invariably, the golfer will find one of the three greenside bunkers on the right, leaving an impossible up and down.  The golfer must swallow his pride here and aim left if he wishes for a good chance at three.  However, the farther right he goes, the harder the up and down through the hollow left of the green.  The 14th is one that gets better with multiple plays.

With all of that being said, I don't think Deal has any truly great par threes.  I saw bunch of par threes in England that were much better than any at Deal during my stay in London.  Swinley Forest has five of them, for starters.  Of course, Sandwich does not have any great ones either.
"That's why Oscar can't see that!" - Philip E. "Timmy" Thomas

Sean_A

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Re: KENT KALEIDOSCOPE or I Was Wrong (for the benefit of Deal members)
« Reply #14 on: July 07, 2010, 07:06:09 AM »
Yes John, only three par 3s is a bummer as I like at least four if not five and possibly six short holes. 

PLEASE NOTE: A new tour with better photos was posted...Photobucket strikes again.
http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,60867.0.html

Sandwich is usually considered the best of the three, but the margin between it and Deal is slim, ever so slim. Despite the absolute all-world front nine and plethora of superb two-shotters, the course is a bit let down by the 3s and 5s.  They arenít bad holes by any means, but neither of the two par 5s hold my interest for the entire trip and only the short 16th is a hole I could hold up as a ďmodelĒ par 3. Although, the 6th is hole where the hole placement could alter oneís perception of its quality by quite a margin. 


Like New Zealand in far off Surrey, Sandwich is a course unto its own. "It does not compete with other courses, but it sets its own standard and lives up to it.".   Surprisingly, I found Royal St Georges to be the mildest test on offer this weekend.  The fairways seemed generous, the hole locations farly benign for the most part and the wind wasn't really a big factor.  I am sure the relative ease of Sandwich had a part to play in it being the most enjoyable game of the weekend.  However, as Darwin said "...whatever happens the larks will continue to twitter, the sun will be shining on Pegwell Bay: the charm can never be gone."  Sandwich also has the element of making one feel alone amongst the dunes.  Like the club seems detached from the course by a typical English garden backed by a hedge, the few other golfers seen are somehow removed as if playing a different course.   

The first is a good starter which utilizes a hump back fairway.  The approach is difficult due to the bunkering.

#2 is a chewer dogleg left.  There is an advantage to be gained by taking on the corner bunkers at the turn, but one can easily lay-up and be left with a 9 iron or so.  There is a grand swale short right which will catch any approaches not struck firmly enough.

I find the third to be uninspired, but not a poor hole.  I would have hoped something a bit more interesting could have been built considering the land.  John Lyon is quite right about the 4th.  The rough does impede more from the right than it seems it should and the green is very limited for hole locations.  However, this is still a grand hole by any standard. 

Wonderful golf continues on the 5th with a very demanding drive requiring pin point accuracy to earn a view of the flag through the gap.  The dune on the left is the famous Maiden.  In Darwin's day the hole was changed forever from a par 3 hitting directly over the pinnacle to what eventually became an abondonment of the sand scarred face. 


The second one-shotter, #6, is a tricky one as the green slides front to back with a slight ridge protecting the rear section. 


Sandwich's first three-shotter requires a thrilling drive over a dune to flat fairway protected with a well placed bunker down the right. Unfortunately, the approach doesn't do the tee shot justice. 


The 8th turns back on #7 and works gently around a dune to the right with hidden bunkers at it's base.  The green is a wasp waist affair and similar to #6, with a ridge protecting the rear section. The side ends with a slippery two-shotter of modest length.  Two huge bunkers block the fairway, but they serve more as a way to create depth perception dfficulties.  I am told by reliable sources that Sandwich has flat greens.  I found very little evidence of this.  Below is a closer look at #9.


The terrain coming home is not as compelling as going out, yet there are several holes worth mentioning.  The 10th rather reminds some of Dornoch's 16th with its drive and approach up to heaven.  The hole strikes me as one of the more primitive at Sandwich and for this reason its a keeper. 


The par 3 11th is not without some merit due to its two-tier green, but the 12th gets the blood flowing a bit more freely.  Choosing the line for the tee shot is critical as bunkers dug into a ridge and beyond guard the direct line to the green.  For most a lay-up left is prudent, but the approach can still be made difficult if the hole is cut on the front of the green. Perhaps the drive for the 13th is too similar to the 7th, but as on the previous hole, choosing a line for this blind shot is paramount.  It is hoped the members of Sandwich can convince the powers that be at Princes to provide an aiming point on their new hotel - a clock would be original. Somehow, I don't think this is in the cards.  For now, the line is the right edge of the hotel shell.  Gaging the distance for the second is made harder by the boundary line not too far from the rear of the green. 

The namesake of the fourteenth awaits the golfer off the tee.  After a brief pause to debate if The Suez Canal is reachable, one must hit and hope if he wants to reach this green in two.  The bold line is down the right with the dreaded stakes standing erect and brightly white, the colour of danger in golf circles.  The safer line left leaves yet another perilous decision to be made for the next shot...Of course one can always play a 9 iron or so short of the bunkers and accept a five as a matter of course.


The 15th is slightly out of character with the other holes as the fairway bunkers in the driving zone pinch and those further up the fairway are akin to the Thames Barrier.  One must pay the toll previously to have a chance at passing these gates. 


The best par 3 was saved for last.  The green heaves from back left to front right - feeding to a blind bunker.  If one does his homework and tries to give this bunker too wide a birth, another blind bunker awaits on the left. Seventeen is a fine hole which sails through undulating waves of dunes to a green with a less pronounced false front than it appears. The home hole is a bit of a disappointment as much for the flatter terrain as for where it finishes in a position isolated from the house. 


It is easy to tell I am most impressed with Sandwich.  This shouldn't be a shock as there is very little not to like.  The course is big and brawny, yet playable for all and sundry; a very difficult dichotomy for a championship course to achieve.  To top off a fine day the club is one with great charm and ambience.  2*.

Ciao
« Last Edit: January 27, 2018, 05:23:21 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies, Meadowbrook, Dunes Club & Crystal Downs

Michael Whitaker

  • Karma: +0/-0
Sean,

I'm glad to see you like RSG so much as I think it might be the best course/experience combo in golf.

Please explain your rating criteria... I've missed the details of your "system."

Mike
"Solving the paradox of proportionality is the heart of golf architecture."  - Tom Doak (11/20/05)

Scott Warren

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Quote
I am told by reliable sources that Sandwich has flat greens.

That's a strange one.

2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 12, 13, 17 and 18 all stick in my mind as having plenty going on both within the green and around it.


Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Sean,

I'm glad to see you like RSG so much as I think it might be the best course/experience combo in golf.

Please explain your rating criteria... I've missed the details of your "system."

Mike

Whitty

3* Donít Miss For Any Reason (I have yet to see one of these)
2* Plan A Trip Around This Course (quite a rare bird)
1* Worth An Overnight Detour
R  If In The General Vicinity Without A Game Look Up First For A Go/A Good Fall Back On Course If In The Area And Canít Get On Others

Criteria include: course & beauty/location (~70%), price (~20%) club & history (~10%).

Thanks for making me look at this.  Its the first time I really went into detail about it and it looks about right for whats important to me.

Scott

My flat greens comments is a piss take of our very good mate Tony M.  It had to be mentioned as Tony stated Sandwich's greens were flatter than Deal's.  I think I responded that the degree if difference is minimal enough to not worry much about - tee hee.    

Ciao

« Last Edit: July 07, 2010, 09:22:59 AM by Sean Arble »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies, Meadowbrook, Dunes Club & Crystal Downs

Bill_McBride

  • Karma: +0/-0
Sean,

I'm glad to see you like RSG so much as I think it might be the best course/experience combo in golf.

Please explain your rating criteria... I've missed the details of your "system."

Mike

Whitty

3* Donít Miss For Any Reason
2* Plan A Trip Around This Course
1* Worth An Overnight Detour
R  If In The General Vicinity Without A Game Look Up First For A Go/A Good Fall Back On Course If In The Area And Canít Get On Others

Criteria includes: course & beauty/location (~70%), price (~20%) club & history (~10%).

Thanks for making me look at this.  Its the first time I really went into detail about it and it looks about right for whats important to me.

Ciao



Is this the Rihc Michelin Scale?

Brent Hutto

I wouldn't say the greens are flat at Sandwich but the asst. pro I played with warned me on the first green that everyone over-reads breaks there. Generally by a good margin. After I played a non-existent break on a 6-foot putt at the first and played five inches of break on a putt that moved maybe an inch at the second you would think I might heed that warning.

But then I had a downhill birdie putt of about 4-1/2 feet on the third and I can not for the life of me explain how it failed to have at least four inches of break, given how lightly it had to be tapped. But I tried to take his advice and played it just on the right lip...which is exactly where it rolled, lipping out after not breaking one iota. He said "Did I forget to mention that the putts here are straighter than they look?".

So the rest of the day I pretty much aimed anything inside 10 feet directly at the hole and I finally made some putts. With one glaring exception...

The "primitive" tenth is one of my favorites at Royal St. George's. Nothing much in the tee shot but the green is not receptive. The day I played the hole was cut just barely above the rolled-off front right corner, perilously situated. I missed the green and chipped up to pin high and five feet left. My playing partner put it in the tiny little front-right pot bunker and hit a brilliant shot inches inside my own ball. Once again I aimed just off the left edge of the cup and was rewarded by seeing my putt glide by that edge totally unperturbed by any break whatsoever. Probably because it was downwind (about 18mph) on one of the most exposed spots on the course. The pro made his par putt and admitted it was his first time every getting up and down from that pot bunker to that hole location. I'd have felt more congratulatory if my putt had managed to go in!

The tenth is a great hole because of the green. The fourth is probably the best hole on the course although I'm also partial to the eighth and I just love the fifteenth (even though I took eight there). The fourteenth is its own beast, the only really penal feeling hole on the course.

Sean's "bold line" down the right of Suez is made even riskier by the little pimply humps positioned just about where a short hitter like me will land a downwind tee shot (or where a longer hitter would land into the wind). I'm convinced that my tee ball, which was hugging the right edge of the fairway and trying to fade back toward the center, must have hit one of those and caromed out of the bounds. We never found it even though watching from the tee it looked to be in great shape. Depending on the wind, the contouring of the right side of that green complex can produce a similar horrific bounce OB on a long approach shot. I would find that a perfectly wonderful hole if the OB fence were moved to the right about 10-12 paces further. As is, for a player of my caliber I'd have to play every shot cautiously to the left on my next time around. Not that you can bail out too far left. Narrow hole given the firmness of the ground and exposure to the wind.

I also really love nine and seventeen as both are just a tiny bit quirky/busy but play short and fun. Heck, I love the whole course, I forgot to even mention the fifth hole!
« Last Edit: July 07, 2010, 09:17:38 AM by Brent Hutto »

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Sean,

I'm glad to see you like RSG so much as I think it might be the best course/experience combo in golf.

Please explain your rating criteria... I've missed the details of your "system."

Mike

Whitty

3* Donít Miss For Any Reason
2* Plan A Trip Around This Course
1* Worth An Overnight Detour
R  If In The General Vicinity Without A Game Look Up First For A Go/A Good Fall Back On Course If In The Area And Canít Get On Others

Criteria includes: course & beauty/location (~70%), price (~20%) club & history (~10%).

Thanks for making me look at this.  Its the first time I really went into detail about it and it looks about right for whats important to me.

Ciao



Is this the Rihc Michelin Scale?

Ace

Rihc and I use the same Michelin (Rihcellin) stars, but I think Rihc just looks at the course (like I think most folks do) to determine his rating whereas I look at some other stuff - probably mainly money, but I could be wrong.  

Ciao
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies, Meadowbrook, Dunes Club & Crystal Downs

JNC Lyon

  • Karma: +0/-0
Quote
I am told by reliable sources that Sandwich has flat greens.

That's a strange one.

2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 12, 13, 17 and 18 all stick in my mind as having plenty going on both within the green and around it.



Yeah, who came up with flat greens at Sandwich?  I think there are even more than Scott listed here.  The greens at Sandwich were a highlight for me.

The 3rd and 11th holes really bring Sandwich down in my book.  They are not bad golf holes by any means.  However, the holes appear to be designed with cookie cutters (Sandwich cutters?).  The long par three to a two-tiered green is very common, and these holes at Sandwich could been found at countless inland courses.  These holes are not in any way fun or whimsical.  They are simply two tough par threes built with one purpose: attracting the Open Championship.  Another reason Deal is preferred in my book: Deal might have some average holes (although the 9th is the only one that sticks out as a weak hole for me), but it does not have any holes like these.

I'll take plenty of holes like the 5th at Sandwich, a hole that is not really strategic, but a hole that is thrilling and tons of fun.  Maybe the 5th is one of those holes that gave the illusion of a flat green, but one that is really full of interest upon reaching the green.

Sean, I think you underrate the merits of the 7th and the 18th.  The 7th plays beautifully upon a gentle valley after climbing over the dunes off the tee, and the second and third shots are full of interest.  The golfer must endeavor to get his ball as far left as possible to set up an acceptable angle for approach.  The green slopes slowly but surely from right to left, making any shot from the right less than desirable.  The 18th has a similar sort of strategy off the tee, except flirting with the left side is more fearsome due to the mid-fairway mound that can kick shots into the left fairway bunker with easy.  Are these the best holes at Sandwich? Probably not, but they were both sleepers in my book.

"That's why Oscar can't see that!" - Philip E. "Timmy" Thomas

JNC Lyon

  • Karma: +0/-0
Brent Hutto,

I'm glad you say that you love the 15th at Sandwich.  That hole is one of my absolute favorites on the golf course, along with the 4th and the 9th.  I think it is very playable for all, and it creates tons of interest for a hole that is almost dead flat.  The green complex is the most unique and possibly the most interesting on the golf course.  Bernard Darwin picked it as one of his favorites in the UK, and I wish more people on this site saw it the same way.
"That's why Oscar can't see that!" - Philip E. "Timmy" Thomas

Bill_McBride

  • Karma: +0/-0
Sean,

I'm glad to see you like RSG so much as I think it might be the best course/experience combo in golf.

Please explain your rating criteria... I've missed the details of your "system."

Mike

Whitty

3* Donít Miss For Any Reason
2* Plan A Trip Around This Course
1* Worth An Overnight Detour
R  If In The General Vicinity Without A Game Look Up First For A Go/A Good Fall Back On Course If In The Area And Canít Get On Others

Criteria includes: course & beauty/location (~70%), price (~20%) club & history (~10%).

Thanks for making me look at this.  Its the first time I really went into detail about it and it looks about right for whats important to me.

Ciao



Is this the Rihc Michelin Scale?

Ace

Rihc and I use the same Michelin (Rihcellin) stars, but I think Rihc just looks at the course (like I think most folks do) to determine his rating whereas I look at some other stuff - probably mainly money, but I could be wrong.  

Ciao

Got it and agree, the total experience should be factored in.

Brent Hutto

I'm glad you say that you love the 15th at Sandwich.  That hole is one of my absolute favorites on the golf course, along with the 4th and the 9th.  I think it is very playable for all, and it creates tons of interest for a hole that is almost dead flat. 

You're right. It's not often that one of the most interesting holes on a course is created from just about the least interesting piece of land on the property. That could very easily be a "get you from here to there" long connector hole. On a lot of American courses it would just be a boring, flat hole toughened up by being narrowed in with rough and "protected" by a handful of scary-looking bunkers well off to the side.

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