CINQUE PORTS GOLF CLUB
Travel North from Deal town
centre to the mouth of the river Stour where the Emperor Claudius landed his legions
in ad43 and you will find 8 miles of the finest golfing country in the United
Kingdom. Royal Cinque Ports, Royal St George’s and Princes provide three of the
finest tests of links golf. The Open Championship was first held outside Scotland
at Royal St Georges in 1892 and since then the three courses have hosted no less
than 15 of the 43 occasions on which the championship has ventured South of the
Andrew Reynolds on the left – Golf Club Pro
– Golf Club Sec
Tuesday, 3rd July, I was lucky enough to be invited to take part in
a press day including golf. Who could refuse such an invitation to play this classic
seaside links. The day itself, whether by chance or due to the good offices of
President Jack Aisher, Club Captain, retired ferry captain Bob Blowers, Andrew
Reynolds the long serving energetic Club Professional or Colin Hammond the industrious
Secretary of Cinque Ports, was a classic English summers day, hot and sunny without
a cloud in the sky and just enough of a sea breeze to make the closing stretch
from the 12th a true test of Deal’s demands.
Although nine years older
than the Queen Mother who is the Warden of the Cinque Ports, Deal or to give it
its proper name, The Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club is energetic and forward thinking
in this first year of the new millennium and at a course that was predominantly
for singles or foursome play only, now promotes mainly on Tuesdays and Thursdays
excellent four-ball packages to include food and golf. Full details of these and
of the course itself, how to get there and who to contact etc can be found on
the Club’s comprehensive website at http://www.royalcinqueports.com.
|After an excellent
breakfast we had the use of the Club’s driving range, putting green, chipping
and pitching area under the vigilant eye of Andrew Reynolds. We could have our
swings videoed and subsequently analysed (in my case not a pretty sight) and then
we played some competitive golf. Led by Andrew Reynolds who strikes the ball magnificently,
our group comprising seven handicapper, Michael Coffey a member of the R&A
and publisher of The Golf Club Secretary, Paul McKinley an eleven handicap player
who hits the ball out of sight and produces score cards and printed material for
Golf Clubs throughout the UK and Europe and your scribe led the rest of the field.
With two scores out of four to count we were pleased with our score of 85 points.
Until you play Deal you’ll never know how good it is. Laid out in traditional
links style – it’s greens are fast and true.
Aerial view looking
South from Sandwich Bay to Deal Town
|On the outward
nine there are some fine views of the channel. Henry Longhurst once wrote that
putting on the 6th at Deal was almost impossible with all the passing
shipping. We led for a while until a three-ball but still with two scores to count
of Linda Bayman, who equalled the ladies course record by going round in 70 supported
by Sue Severn and well known golf writer Dale Concannon produced an 86. However,
the final three-ball of Ian Mason, a five handicap player from Royal Cinque Ports,
Arthur Severn and Jamie Head who produces the Essex County Golfer produced a magnificent
score of 91 Stableford points. It is worth recording that the local player went
round in 76, Arthur Severn off nine returned a 78 and perhaps even more remarkable,
Jamie Head with a handicap of thirteen (which one hopes has been adjusted) returned
a gross score of 77.
We were welcomed to the
Club by President Jack Aisher who has given so much in every sense of the word
to The Royal Cinque Ports and after an excellent lunch, Captain Bob Blowers and
Club Professional Andrew Reynolds then told us of the clubs exciting plans for
the future. Deal is amongst the foremost clubs in deciding that men and ladies
should have equal rights and having put the appalling last winter’s weather behind
them, Royal Cinque Ports was moving forward with new and innovative ways of improving
the Club’s finances.
|It was appropriate
that John Hopkins of the Times should respond on behalf of the guests. The last
time the Open Championship was held at Deal in 1920, the then golf correspondent
of the Times wrote: "Royal Cinque Ports is probably one of the most difficult
links courses in the British Isles and is worthy to host any Open Championship".
In thanking the Club for the opportunity to play the course, and sample
the hospitality of the clubhouse, John reminded us that many Clubs advertise how
wonderful they are whereas they are really little more than mutton dressed as
lamb. Deal however is truly one of the finest golf courses in the British Isles
and should blow their trumpet and let the rest of the world know just how good
A day of great enjoyment
not just for the golf and one which this correspondent will remember for a many
months to come with fond memories.