“Driven out of bounds again Lucas.” reads the telegram to Laddie Lucas. But this wasn’t an Instagram story about another errant drive. The year was 1943 (Instagram was yet to hit the App Store). Barraged by enemy fire over Northern France, Lucas’ Spitfire began to stutter as he navigated his way back across the English channel. Informed by a lifetime of golf on the hallowed links at Prince’s, he sought out the 4th fairway as his landing spot, eventually ploughing through the boundary fence on the northmost point of the course. “Driven out of bounds again Lucas.”
Most courses come with a bit of folklore, but few fairways tell World War II tales like Prince’s Golf Club.
Prince’s was founded in 1904 with the intention of providing a place for families, particularly women and children to enjoy golf. This welcoming atmosphere has endured. A healthy membership that operates alongside a prosperous visitor book creates a vibrant setting.
The club hits a sweet spot. An hour and a half from central London by train with a coastal setting that is the antithesis of the metropolis. The course is challenging but eminently playable. The environment is refined yet unpretentious.
The driveway to Prince’s meanders between the mellow dunes. Long golden grass partially obscures the sporadic blue and yellow pin flags.
The land comprises 27 holes split into 3 equally impressive 9s. Naturally undulating fairways give way to rugged bunker lips (which are all too tactfully placed). Repurposed wooden railway sleepers guide you to the correct tees and small thatched roof huts are dispersed across the property. The evening light shines a golden hue across the sun beaten rough, you’d be forgiven for thinking you were in the Elysian Fields.
Whilst there isn’t a weak hole on the property, the signature hole at Prince’s is the result of the most recent remodelling at the hands of the eponymous Mackenzie and Ebert. A short par 3 looks towards the striking white cliffs of Ramsgate. An upturned green complex is protected by a deep pot bunker at the front left, with rugged sandy waste areas extending towards the course perimeter.
This is a golf course that delivers on so many levels: from tales of World War II heroism, to immaculately kept putting surfaces. If you can find me a better 27 hole complex to spend a few late summer afternoons, I’ll happily stand corrected. And book a tee time there within the hour.