The Best Links Golf Courses in Kent |

Welcome to Open Championship 2021, Kent offers some of the best links courses in the country. Its coastal location lends itself to spectacular link developments, several major sites, local hidden gems and one of the best golf resorts in the UK. Join us as we take a look at the best links courses in Kent.

Royal St. Georges

Where else could we start? Often regarded as the best golf course in England, Royal St. Georges is a truly magnificent golf event. The venue has hosted the Open 15 times, more than any other English venue, and has produced notable champions such as Harry Vardon, Bobby Locke, Walter Hagen, Greg Norman and most recently Collin Morikawa.

You’d be hard-pressed to conceive of a bad course at the incredible golfing site on which Royal St George’s is based, with dunes seemingly perfectly positioned for centuries, awaiting the arrival of Ludlow Purves in 1887. The Scottish surgeon had moved in London just over a decade earlier and was keen to emulate the courses north of the border on which he had learned the game. As such, Royal St George’s exhibits all the hallmarks of true Links golf, with firm and fast fairways, bunkers, a strategy dictated by the wind of the day and an emphasis on running (rather than flying) the ball to the target.

The course is laid out largely in two figure eights, so no consecutive holes are played in the same direction, which keeps the golfer on their toes, especially with the wind blowing steadily across the landscape.

There are notable moments, like the huge lion’s mouth bunker on the 4th hole, the superb short 6th (affectionately nicknamed “The Maiden”), or the long, straight par-5 14th, where many games were marred by the out of bounds that runs the full length of its right side. However, every hole at Royal St George’s is incredibly strong, coming together to create perhaps the finest collection of 18 holes in the country.

Simply put, Royal St George’s is a golf course that every golfer should experience.

The five royal ports

The five royal ports

Just a mile or two down the road from Royal St George’s is another course granted with royal patronage. The five royal portsor Deal as it is often called, is an incredible golf destination in its own right, with many struggling to choose their favorite course in Kent between these two titans.

Championship provision, Royal Cinque Ports has hosted the Open twice, although the demands of the infrastructure now needed to host a Major prevent it from returning to a professional golf rotation. However, that hasn’t stopped the site from hosting just about every elite amateur event imaginable, most recently the Boys Amateur in 2021.

The course itself has a more traditional ‘out and back’ layout, with a popular midway hut located at the far end of the course. The course’s collection of par-5s is particularly noteworthy, all with their own unique characteristics – from the split fairway and treacherous green runs of the 16th, to the crumpled fairway and hidden putting surface of the 3rd. However, golfers should look to make their scores here, as a string of demanding par-4s on the back nine, coupled with a solitary par-3 (which is played over 200 yards), can make it difficult to return to par. house – especially with the dashboard. in the hand.

On a hot summer day, you will find few places as pleasant to play as Royal Cinque Ports. It’s a real bond, in phenomenal condition, coupled with a fabulously welcoming atmosphere created by everyone you meet on your visit.

of the prince

of the prince

On the edge of Royal St George’s there is yet another previous Open Championship venue. of the prince is a 27-hole golf mecca, with on-site accommodation in their ‘Lodges’ – the perfect base for a trip to this part of the country.

Prince’s offers three 9-hole loops, named Shore, Dunes and Himalaya. Traditionally, the strongest 18-hole course has been created from the Shore and Dunes, both of which are on the south side of the clubhouse, nearest to Royal St George’s. However, a relatively recent overhaul of the Himalayas has garnered much praise, with many visitors now making it an essential part of their trip. The Himalayas offers some truly awe-inspiring and downright intimidating golf holes; especially the par-5 seconds which can go up to 620 from the blue tees!

The strength of Prince’s courses is evident, with the R&A continuing to use it as an open qualifying site where scores are never particularly low, even in calm weather. Work has also taken place to resurface ‘sand scuffs’, areas of wasteland that previously housed longer grass. It helped redefine some of the on-course shaping and looks visually stunning. Plus, it’s much easier for golfers to find their ball and play their shots, which helps keep the game moving.

If you’re looking to jump more than 18 holes on a links tour in Kent – Prince’s is the perfect destination.

small stone

small stone

With its location south of Dover and overlooking the Romney Marshes, Littlestone Golf Club is located closer to the famous links to Rye in the county of Sussex. As a result, this superb layout misses the plaudits that would come with a location closer to the other courses on this list, with visitors to Kent often overlooking a trip to Littlestone as part of their itinerary.

Those who make the short drive along the coast will be rewarded with a challenging link layout, with an ‘out and back’ route that blesses the golfer with English Channel views everywhere. The terrain here is flatter than on the aforementioned courses, but clever tee box placement coupled with strategic bunkers keeps you on your toes. Additionally, the lack of dramatic changes in terrain typography makes the course a comfortable walk, with an emphasis on speed play at Littlestone.

There is a sturdiness to some bunkers that may feel a bit more natural than the more polished riveting of bunkers elsewhere in Kent. However, don’t let that fool you into thinking that the course lacks conditioning, with some of the smoothest greens in the area all summer long. The course is allowed to dry out in the warmer months of the year, with firm fairways making strategy all the more important as you choose your way around the championship course.

Littlestone also has a second 18-hole course known as the The Warren. Shorter than the Championship Course, The Warren has no par-5s, but still offers a demanding test of links golf – especially in the summer. This is the perfect warm-up course at the start of a trip to the region, or a good course to follow until the end of a day for those wishing to put in a few extra holes; with all 18 holes easily playable in less than 3 hours.

Knole Park

Our latest course in Kent bends the rules slightly. Knole Park is often described as an “inland link” due to its fast-draining terrain and the impact of wind on its brown, hilly landscape in summer. The fairways are lined with wispy hay-like grass, similar to that found along the Kent coast. The course also allows for a wide variety of shots and has a lot of character.

Just twenty years after it opened, the Second World War took its toll on the club, with its proximity to London being targeted by enemy gliders. Thus, obstructions were created and land moved on the course itself to prevent any aerial invasion.

Sadly, despite an almighty effort in the years since – which has led to it being regularly named in the Top 100 courses in England – it is this place in Sevenoaks of us correctly including it in our list of the best links courses in Kent. Despite its linking qualities, the course is simply too far inland to be considered a links course in the truest sense. However, when heading to Kent, this is definitely one worth adding to your trip!

Michael C. Ford