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Royal Cinque Ports

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Founded: 1892
Designer: Henry Hunter, James Braid and Sir Guy Campbell
Length: 7,006 yards
PAR: 73
Type: Links
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The original Links at Royal Cinque Ports, constructed with such speed by Henry Hunter in 1892 as a 9-hole layout, had the same greens on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd as exist today, although the tees were further forward and the holes therefore shorter.  The first major difference from that which a player sees today was the 4th, known as ‘Sandy Parlour’. This went from today’s winter tee by the sea wall, over the high dune alongside the ladies tee, to a green in the hollow beyond. The 5th green was 50 yards short of its present position and led to a short hole of about 155 yards – the 6th – played to today’s 15th green. Today’s 16th, 17th and 18th holes represented the 7th, 8th and 9th respectively although, once again, these were all shorter. It would also seem that today’s dykes at the 1st and 18th were less threatening ditches, but, all in all, the course must have presented a considerable challenge to the players of the day.

The additional 9 holes built at the northern end in 1896 were entirely new and, while 6, 7, 8, 11, 12, 14 and 15 bear relation to today’s greens, (8 being 9 and 11 being 12), the layout was different. The reorganisation of the layout conducted by Braid in 1919, following the ravages of World War 1, made 8 a new short hole, and created new holes at 10 and 11; and the modifications to 13, 14 and 15 are plain to see from a glance at the ‘Professional Opinions’ sketch created at the time.

Two other major redesigns have taken place since: the 4th, ‘Sandy Parlour’, was changed to enable the green to be visible from the tee. A new pulpit tee was built on the left of the 3rd green, and a new saucer green established below the 5th tee. At 151 yards, a much happier design.

Between the wars a ‘Ladies’ course was established – a 9 hole short course running from the Clubhouse parallel to the 1st and occupying the waste ground between the 2nd and Sandown Castle. The greens were small and the layout tight – premium was on correct clubbing. The ravages of the 1939 – 45 war, combined with the development of north Deal led to its total disappearance. Following World War II, Sir Guy Campbell, aided by Henry Cotton, restored the course to substantially that laid out by Hunter and Braid, and play recommenced in 1946. Today, Donald Steel now adds his expertise to the grand design.

Overview courtesy of Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club

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