Sandwich Bay, Kent, England
There are good days and then there are unforgettable days. Thursday, April 6 was the latter. I awoke early and caught the tube from my London Hotel to Kings Cross/St. Pancras station where I boarded the 8:20 Southeastern Line train to Ramsgate via Sandwich. Why? To golf, of course. On the train, I met a few great people. One of my new mates, Will, explained to that he was headed out to the English Coast as well to watch the Halford Hewitt (click the link to lead more about this awesome tradition) taking place at Royal St. Georges and Royal Ports Golf Club. My goal for the day, however, was to conquer the most northern of the three Sandwich courses, Princes Golf Club.
I have played courses that are links style but never a true links course. Links is a term used to denote the “linking” of sea to suitable farmland. It should be known that links are generally a sandy, duney, wasteland, or golfer’s paradise. Princes is full of history, most prestigious hosting the 1932 Open Championship won by American Gene Sarazen. The course is on tap to host half of this year’s British Amateur as well. There are 27 holes at Prince's, I played the better two of the three nines in the Shore and Dunes. Most enjoyable about the layout was that there was an equal number of holes headed in each direction, including par 3’s and par 5’s. This is a crucial design feature as it can get very windy in these parts. I, however, enjoyed temperatures of 65 degrees F, nearly cloudless skies, and only a 10 MPH breeze (see the “unforgettable days” statement at the first of the post). Though it took me a few holes to get warmed up using the rental clubs, I was able to make back-to-back birdies on the 5th and 6th. I hit marvelous bunker shot, if I do say so myself, on 5 from about 95 yards that impressed my English playing partners greatly (more about these new mates in my next post about the Halford Hewitt). We played from the white tees and the yardage was about 6800 yards and even at sea level played short because of the immense amount of run you could get. A suggestion on two golf clubs that one might want to invest in for this style of play would include a 2-Iron and a good hybrid/rescue. Though I only lost one ball, the rescue will be necessary for all the fescue that surrounds ever whole. I was able to shoot in the 70’s on this new style of course for e and can’t wait to play something similar soon. Chambers Bay, anyone?
If you ever have a free day in England this is a journey worth taking. Even if you have travel companions that aren’t interested in golf, they easily could get off the train in Dover and explore the castle and white cliff vistas while you play your round. The total price tag for the day was £165, around $200 with the current exchange rate, including golf (a £50 green fee), rental clubs, train ticket, lunch, and Sandwich Car (Uber is not yet a thing in this part of the world). Pro-tip: Renting clubs is not a bad option, it was a nearly new Titleist set, but bring your own golf glove and a few balls so you don’t have to pay club shop prices. Fortunately, I packed my own shoes.
|Princes Dune #2|
|Princes Shore #1|
|Sandwich Train Station|
|Princes Dunes #4|
|Princes Dunes #5, First Bunker on the links|