Day 299 we made the hike from our base with Syd and Sandy in Hastings to the Princes Golf Club in Sandwich.¬†¬† After two days with S&S we were rested and ready to continue our Patton entitled ‚??Kentish Experience‚?Ě.¬†¬† We were particularly looking forward to celebrating the 300 mark at St Georges and so with the wind flying across Princes and the rain looming ominously in the backdrop, (like the prospect of no more golf in 2 months time looms) it was a case of heads down and get on with it at the Princes Golf Club.¬†
Princes is one of 14 golf courses in the world to have hosted the Open Championship and is the 12th such course on our roster this year.¬† The honour of hosting the Open was bestowed on Princes in 1932 when Gene Sarazen came out the victor and subsequently titled the course as the ‚??best in Britain‚??.¬† ¬†
But then as we all know there was a minor international incident known as the Second World War and the Germans bombed the living daylights out of the course like they did to the Rye Clubhouse.¬† No, actually the course was requisitioned by the military and used as a battle training course and was all but obliterated by the young soldiers using it as target practice.¬†¬† Lord Brabazon likened this to ‚??throwing darts at a Rembrandt‚??.¬†
Whatever the case, the course sans war needed to be entirely rebuilt and Messers Campbell and Morrison took it upon themselves to recreate 27 holes using 17 original greens (which I might add are the absolute, without a doubt feature of the course ‚?? great links greens).¬† The 27 holes are now made up from three nine hole loops, the ‚??Shore‚?? the ‚??Dunes‚?? and the ‚??Himalayas‚?? courses.¬†¬† We opted for the Shore and Dunes layouts taking the advice we‚??d been given recently by ‚??those in the know‚??.
As I said mother nature was huffing and puffing and so the course was Tough.¬† Each loop played out towards the neighboring Royal St Georges straight into the wind, before there was some respite coming back downwind.¬†¬† It looked like the course is currently a work in progress as the bunkers were being revetted and many more new bunkers were being built.¬†¬† I thought they were very well positioned (many of the bunkers were being constructed around driving length) and well designed pots, but they did have fluffy white sand in them and fluffy green meadow grass around them which contradicted the natural links land upon which Princes is set.¬† In time they‚??ll bed in nicely and I can see Princes becoming a serious ‚??driving course‚??. ¬†
The three of us got around alright; Bart continued his struggles with links greens and the art of putting in the wind (I could relate after months of struggles), and JP was pretty focused on simply getting around after a big few days.¬† As has been documented my golf has been poor but I managed to get negotiate the track today in 4 over which I was pretty happy with considering the conditions.¬†
Princes is run very efficiently by Troon Golf and is open to play for any folk on a golfing holiday down in Kent.¬† I think a tee time is going for around 150 quid during the winter which represents top value.¬† After playing a few courses in this area I can report that this is, without a doubt, a hot spot for golf in the UK and I hope to return again one day, perhaps even next year to watch the Open at the neighboring track..
So after golf we retired to the Royal Cinque Ports Dormy house which was perfect.¬† Of course we didn‚??t just go the 2 minute drive down the road to get there, but via Canterbury 30 miles down the road for a few hours whilst the car windscreen was fixed.¬† Upon our return to links golf territory, Bart and I got stuck into some putting practice and we went up for a drink and a chat with Ken the secretary, a few local members and Laura behind the bar.¬†¬†
As we went out for dinner we thought about checking exactly what day on our journey we were up to?¬† It can‚??t be too hard to count back now can it??¬† 31 days in December, 30 days in November and 4 left in October‚?¶ 65 days left‚?¶¬† BUGGER ‚?? so today was day 300.¬† So there we sat at a particularly dodgy curry house sticking to the waters and clinking glasses and saying a few words to celebrate the triple century.¬† Unlike Crowe we‚??ve made it to the milestone.¬†
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