When we think of Great Britain as a golf destination, our eyes are often directed to Scotland. However, the island kingdom offers other worthwhile experiences for golfers. There are many courses in the south of England where you can feel the history of the game along the banks of the English Channel. In the county of Kent, about an hour's drive from the center of London, you can find one of the most famous The Open golf courses: Royal St. George's. In fact, there are a total of three The Open courses right next to each other in the area. Royal Cinque Ports and Prince's have also been the venue for the only major competition played in Europe. There are numerous flights to London available every day, which you can also manage to get cheaply. When the destination is Kent and you take a rental car, you can choose any of London's airports. Those who leave on the morning plane are already playing in the afternoon.
If the steering wheel on the right doesn't scare you, the motorways quickly take you to the shores of the English Channel. Kent's most interesting courses can be found right next to each other in the near the towns of Sandwich and Deal.
Although Kent offers visitors a hundred courses in total, it is precisely these old The Open courses that make the trip worth making. Royal St. George's, which still serves as the British Open course, is of course the most sacred. The Prince's Golf Club, located next door on the same beach strip, hosted the tournament in 1932. The third of the old Open venues, the Royal Cinque Ports, can be found a short distance further south on the side of the town of Deal. The Open was played on the course in 1909 and 1920. Many remember the Royal St George's course as Darren Clarke's 2011 The Open. In 2021, young Collin Morikawa won another memorable championship on the golf course. Opened in 1887, it is now the only British Open stage in southern England. In the course rankings, Royal St George's usually competes with Birkdale for the title of top course in England. Whatever the case may be, this is a real championship golf test - with plenty of challenges, as well as blind shots.
Royal St. George's features the deepest bunker in competitive golf on the fourth fairway. Royal St. George's is also the most picturesque and dramatic of these Kent courses in terms of scenery.
Prince's, which is right next door, is in an area that is more flat as there are no massive dunes. This does not prevent the joy of playing, because there are real gems among the fairways.
The course offers 27 fairways, three nine-hole courses: Himalayas, Shore and Dunes. The last two nines together form the so-called competition course. Prince's warmly welcomes visitors and the atmosphere is undeniably more relaxed than on the other side of the fence. The course was once established with the exact aim of attracting women and children to golf. The price level at Prince's is also clearly cheaper and you can find reasonable offers on accommodation and green fee packages on the club's website.
The Cinque Ports (also known as Deal) doesn't seem difficult at first glance. After a few holes, you will eventually notice that there is a level of difficulty available for all the money. The course is simply fascinatingly challenging with strong winds, sloping surfaces on the fairways and tough rough. The last seven fairways usually play against the wind, so the result should be achieved on the front nine. There are also many fine creative design solutions from a hundred years ago. Few designers would dare to propose a bowl green on the third hole for today's courses.
Royal Cinque Ports is also a very visitor-friendly club. If you feel like practicing on a golf trip, the club's practice areas are good. There are also two other true links courses in the Kent area. Rye is a closed club where visiting is extremely difficult. Littlestone on the other hand is a model example of the fine sympathetic courses that can be found in the island kingdom.
While not a famous championship course, Littlestone offers an enjoyable golf experience. The course is famous for its excellent greens. Next to Littlestone is also the pay-and-play par 68 Littlestone Warren Golf, which welcomes visitors at very reasonable prices.
If you are interested and enthusiastic about links, you should put a visit to Kent on your list. Excellent links courses with an attractive landscape and other activities make Kent a recommended destination even for those for whom golf is not everything.