Played by NCG: Prince's (Himalayas)

Courses and Travel

Once labelled the weakest nine, the newly revamped Prince's Himalayas course is now clearly the Kent club's strongest asset, as Steve Carroll found out

Reason for a Prince’s Himalayas review

The club were holding a media day for the launch of their re-imagined Himalayas nine hole layout. It’s been designed by world-class architect Martin Ebert.

Where is Prince’s Golf Club?

You can see France on a fine day it’s so close to the Kent cliffs. Prince’s lies in a wonderful area for golf, with Royal Cinque Ports a short drive away and Royal St George’s right next door…

What to expect

Something very different, and very exciting indeed. Ebert has given full rein to his architectural talents and has created a quite spectacular course.

It’s a big contrast with the traditional links of the Shore and Dunes and will likely become Prince’s most popular loop very quickly indeed.

The opening par 4 is a relatively gentle opener – aside from the sneaky pot bunker sitting at about 255 yards, which provides some menace to what is a large fairway.

Don’t get too comfortable because the course begins to bare its teeth at the next with a new par 5 that’s close to 600 yards.

Prince's Golf Club

The 5th is the hole that got all the pre-unveiling hype and it is an exceptional par 3. The wind will play havoc with club selection, even though it’s only 125 off the white tees.

When the pin is positioned towards the left side of the green, flag hunting is a distinct no-no.

The green slopes away quickly on all sides, but particularly from the left, and you are faced with a tricky uphill putt or pitch from a tight lie if you are going to come away with a par.

This hole shows what all of us really know – that a par 3 doesn’t have to be 190 yards to be a proper test.

A huge expanse of water will focus your attention on the eighth, a driveable four that will strike fear into the heart of the shorter hitters but will sorely tempt the bombers.

If you take it on, there’s room for manoeuvre on the left but don’t take too many liberties. There’s another wetland waiting to claim any shot that hooks too far.

If you’re not long enough to reach and take the lay up, you’ve not got the most difficult of approaches but don’t go long.

It’s a double green, sharing with the 3rd, and a very undulating putt back across to the flag if you are in the wrong spot.

The closing hole is a beast into the wind – I barely made the fairway off the whites – but the approach with the huge Sarazen Bunker guarding the green is a fitting end to a magnificent stretch of golf.

Favourite hole

The 5th is the signature and is definitely a showstopper. For me, though, the 577-yard par 5 2nd is its equal.

Ebert poses a stern question off the tee – the fairway doglegs left and players who get too adventurous will find the wetland with a bit too much curve. Equally, there are two bunkers and a sandy area waiting for those who flail it a little right.

It’s a demanding opening shot but the reward is there for those who find the short stuff as the hole, which winds it way towards a large green with a slight incline, can be negotiated from a much easier angle.

Even though you can ground your club in the waste area, you will be punching out – rather than going for the green with a longer club – so position is pivotal.

Prince's Golf Club

My best bit

Having barely managed to negotiate the water on the driveable 8th, after trying to take on too much of the hazard, I punched a chip out of the rough to about 10 feet and then drained the uphill putt.

As I was playing in the opening group to try the new Himalayas, I can always claim to be the first golfer to make a birdie on this hole!

What to look for

Watch out for the propellers by the green of the 2nd hole, which mark where one of Prince’s most famous members – Laddie Lucas – force landed his Spitfire during World War II.

The 5th is also known as Bloody Point, as it’s believed to be the site of a vicious naval battle in 851 AD that now sits within the links.

When I go back

I will be a bit bolder with my putting. My score might have been a lot better if I’d got the ball to the hole with any regularity.

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