Location: Sandwich, Kent, England
Prince’s golf club, located immediately adjacent to Royal St George’s, is one of the younger courses ever to have hosted The Open. The course was completed in 1906 with a layout, designed by 1902 Amateur Champion Charles Hutchings, that was among the first to counter the longer distances being achieved with the new breed of rubber-core golf balls. At just under 7,000 yards, it quickly gained a great reputation as a top quality links and a great test of golf.
After a spell during the First World War when the course was used as a coastal defence and training area, the links were quickly restored and began to host golf tournaments. In 1932 The Open visited Prince’s for what would prove to be the first and only time. Gene Sarazen played beautiful golf to set a new scoring record for the Championship of 283, a mark which would remain unsurpassed for 18 years. The event was a success, the reactions of the players were all positive, and the Championship seemed likely to return.
|Prince’s at a glance|
|Course length (1932 Open)|
6,890 yards (est.)
Gene Sarazen winning the 1932 Open using a club which he had invented himself: the first modern sand wedge. Sarazen’s design remains the basic template for sand wedges to this day.
In 1939 war once again claimed Prince’s, and this time that impact would prove to be far heavier than before. The links was used for bombing target practice by the Royal Air Force — an act which Lord Brabazon likened to “throwing darts at a Rembrandt” — obliterating much of the old course. Restoration work began in 1950, this time creating three new loops of nine holes each that integrated 17 of the original greens, which somehow had remained largely intact.