Prince's Golf Club is a true links twenty-seven hole golf course, located at Sandwich in Kent, England. It is on 2½ miles of coast in Sandwich Bay immediately adjacent to the famous Royal St George's golf club. Both are on the same stretch of coastline as the nearby Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club.
It hosted the 1932 Open Championship. Prince’s has always been owned privately, not by the members. It is attractive to visiting golfers because the Green Fees are very competitive. About less than half the fee at Royal St George’s and significantly less than Royal Cinque Ports.
It also has 38 rooms currently in its two Lodges and a ‘Two Rosette’ Restaurant. It must be the best place to ‘stay and play’ links golf in England.
Founded in 1906, the club was financed by Sir Harry Mallaby-Deely. The course was the first built to counter the new Haskell golf ball and was almost 7000 yards. The 1902 Amateur Champion Charles Hutchins designed the 18 hole course that opened for play in 1907.
He was assisted by Percy Montagu Lucas a co-founder of Prince's Golf Club and the first Honorary Secretary. Club captain A.J. Balfour, a former British Prime Minister, drove the first ball in the Founder's Vase in June 1907. Prince’s was a fashionable Club in its early days and attracted many important tournaments, The unusual length of the course being one of the attractions.
The clubs hosted the British Ladies’ Open Amateur Championship (1922 and 1964), the Dunlop Masters (1954), the Curtis Cup (1956), Schweppes PGA Championship (1965) and The Open championship in 1932 which in those days was preceded by an England v Scotland match.
The Prince of Wales was club president from 1931 and it hosted many club and society events including the Oxford versus Cambridge match on five occasions.As front-line defence territory, it was taken over by the Military in 1914-18 and the course was totally destroyed when taken over again in 1939-1945.
After the second World War the course was re-modelled and re-built by John Morrison and Sir Guy Campbell. The new layout incorporated 17 of the original greens but most played from different directions to the original course, any blind tee or approach shots were removed.
The re-design always envisaged a centrally located clubhouse, and this was finally opened in 1985 by Peter Alliss, allowing the 27 holes to be played in three loops of nine holes, known as “Shore”, “Dunes” and “Himalayas”, each starting and finishing beside the new clubhouse.
Prince’s has always been owned privately and has had a number of changes of ownership, the McGuirk family have been owners since 1976. The club's most famous son was Laddie Lucas - Wing Commander Percy Lucas DSO DFC CBE, fighter ace, MP, writer, businessman and one of the finest British amateur golfers of his generation.
He played in the Walker Cup in 1947 and was Captain in 1949. Lucas had a life-long connection with Prince’s having been born in its old clubhouse in 1915. During the war, his Spitfire was hit over the Channel and he was unable to make it to his airbase at Manston.
He headed for Prince’s and put down just off the course. His friend, Henry Longhurst sent him a telegram reading ‘Out of Bounds again, Lucas!’. Today, a commemorative plaque by the 4th tee on the Himalayas course marks the spot where he landed.
Prince’s is proud of its support for ladies’ golf. The Ladies Golf Union was based there for twenty years in the 60s and 70s. Ladies’ events have included English Ladies’ Championships in 1912, 1953 and 1986; British Ladies’ Amateur Opens in 1922 and 1964; and the Curtis Cup in 1956.
7204 yards, Par 72
452 yards, par 4, index 6
As its name implies, the clockwise loop of nine holes initially follows the Shoreline south towards the Lodge at the entrance to the course. From the tee, an accurate solid tee shot is required avoiding the deep fairway bunkers located left and right.
A slightly uphill approach follows with a large runoff awaiting any pulled approach shots to the left of the undulating green, which slopes predominately right to left.
415 yards, par 4, index 4
Played into the prevailing wind, the tee shot is intimidating. A large ridge divides the fairway. The flatter right-hand side is the better route from the tee. An accurate approach shot is required with deep bunkers guarding the front of the green and a runoff area over the back of the green.
The deep pot front right gathers poor shots and requires a confident stroke to escape from it. Use the slope in the middle of the green to work any approaches to pins positioned on the left of the green.
158 yards, par 3, index 17
The undulating redan green poses a stiff test despite the hole's short length. A high approach shot will provide the best opportunity to hold the green which runs away towards the sea.
The elevated green has two tiers that fall away from the intended line of play. Deep bunkers and steep runoffs await errant tee shots and will leave a tricky recovery.
You need to focus on correct distance control to achieve an undemanding putt. The lateral ridges on the green are really tricky. The backdrop is the sea framed by the white cliffs of Ramsgate.
434 yards, par 4, index 2
From the slightly elevated tee you can see the challenge of this par four. There is deep bunkers on either side of the fairway. A ridge to the left of the fairway will bring pulled tee shots back towards the centre.
Avoid the right rough which is very severe. The approach shot is very difficult to play to an elevated green with a sharp run off to the right. The ideal approach will be played to the left of the green which should feed towards the middle.
568 yards, par 5, index 8
The tee shot typically plays into the wind with two large dunes on either side of the fairway creating a tight shot. Players unable to reach the green in two should play short of the fairway bunkers and play their following lay-up to the right.
The aggressive strategy is to challenge the bunkers off the tee and go for the green in two. The green slopes sharply from the front right to back left often leaving a difficult two-putt.
The Dunes is a counter-clockwise loop turning at Royal St George's. The fairway contours on Princes are unique. Its neighbours at Royal St George's and Deal both have big and bold patches whereas Prince's has constant ripples, lumps, humps and bumps.
471 yards, par 4, index 3
The first hole is daunting as it plays diagonally to a ridge that runs the entire length of the hole whilst the landing zone appears impossibly narrow. The fairway doglegs sharply right to left meaning tee shots played to the left provide the shortest approach shots but trouble awaits off the fairway.
There is a diagonal 40-yard long bunker fronting hogs back fairway and two more bunkers beyond. This creates a visual which belies the fact the landing zone is actually 90 yards wide.
There is a pot bunker 35 yards in front of the narrow green deterring a running shot. An aerial approach needs perfection as the upturned saucer green has acute runoffs and is particularly hard to hold. The recommended play when missing this green is to take a putter, reducing the risk of chipping over the other side.
430 yards, par 4 index 1
Played into the prevailing wind, the tee shot is intimidating but hit a good one and you will enjoy walking over the humps and hollows which develop during the course of the fairway. The real test here is the semi-blind approach.
It should be played with one more club to negate the rise in elevation to a green which appears from the fairway to be guarded by three deep bunkers awaiting any approaches hit short right.
The deep pot front right gathers poor shots and requires a positive stroke to escape it. Swales wait to gather slightly wayward shots and require dextrous recovery shots.
512 yards, par 5, index 9
There are fine views from the tee. The best line from the tee is achieved by aiming at the two pot bunkers in the distance. This realises the best view of an elevated green guarded by large bunker short right and a sharp slope to the left.
A ridge separates the green from front to back and makes club selection key. There are hazards left and right of the green awaiting those choosing to go for the pin after a good drive. Try to avoid all bunkers along this hole and keep up the left to open up the green.
217 yards, par 3, index 11
A long par three offers a challenge to all golfers. The ideal tee shot is played out to the right avoiding the deep bunker placed to the front left of the green. Shots will feed into the green from the right-hand side and offer the best opportunity to make par.
The 67th Open Championship – 1932
The tournament was held from 8th to 10th June at Prince's Golf Club in Sandwich, England. Qualifying took place on 6th to 7th June, Monday and Tuesday at Prince's and at Royal St George's, and the top 100 and ties qualified, 110 players advanced.
Sarazen opened with a 70 on Wednesday to take the lead, one stroke ahead of four others. He followed with a 69 for 139 (–5) for a three-stroke lead over Percy Alliss after 36 holes. The top sixty and ties would make the 36-hole cut; it was at 154 (+10) and 64 players advanced.
Scoring 70 in the third round on Friday morning, Sarazen increased his lead to four over Arthur Havers, who shot a course-record 68 (–4). With 74 in the final round that afternoon Sarazen scored an Open record of 283 total.
Havers, playing well behind Sarazen, needed a 69 to win, but made the turn in 37 and fell away with a 76 for 289 and dropped to third; Smith shot 71-70 to climb into solo second place at even-par 288. This was not a particularly International field. Of the final 64 competitors, there was just a few from the USA and from France.
The majority were from the UK with many from England. However, the small contingent from the USA excelled. Gene Sarazen of the USA won his only Open title, five strokes ahead of runner-up Macdonald Smith, a Scot now resident in the USA. Sarazen led wire-to-wire to secure the fifth of his seven major championship wins.
The winner's cheque was £100. It was just two weeks later in New York that Sarazen won the U.S. Open. In doing so he joined Bobby Jones (1926, 1930) as the only two golfers to win both the British Open and U.S. Open in the same year. Later this was achieved by Ben Hogan), Lee Trevino, Tom Watson), and Tiger Woods.
Gene Sarazen used his newly invented sand iron at the Championship, and his original club was on display at Prince's for many years. The greenside bunker beside the 9th green on the Himalayas course, a bunker he played from on his way to victory, was unveiled as The Sarazen Bunker in his honour by Pádraig Harrington in June 2011.
This was the only Open Championship held at Prince's to date making the club the only venue to be used once. No explanation has so far been found for this.