Golf Guide to Kent
The marvellous county of Kent has many outstanding features and it prides itself on its rich and steep history. It will play host to the 149th Open Championship in July and although the district is revered amongst the golf community, its reputation is deeper than its extraordinary connotations with the sport of golf.
The county is located within the south-east of England and borders Greater London to the north, Surrey to the west and East Sussex to the south-west. Canterbury Cathedral is the oldest cathedral in England, allowing visitors to walk among the same footsteps that graced the building over 1,000 years ago.
Due to its coastline and entry into the land of England, the area became a vicious aerial warzone during the Battle of Britain, with many of its resident witnessing the carnage that the skirmish caused. Kent produces an abundance of fruit and hops, which has resulted in the country being known as ‘The Garden of England’. Tourism is a major industry for the local economy and due to its desirable assets, it is one of the most visited destinations in England.
Kent have an array of splendid golf courses that aren’t only historical but provide the sternest tests of golf. Three golf clubs have hosted The Open Championship inside the county and it is often described as the best location for golf within the south of England.
Royal St George’s, Prince’s Golf Club and Cinque Ports all share the same coastline. Away from the more popular golf clubs lie hidden gems and difficult challenges. There are almost 100 golf courses in Kent, which provides virtually limitless choice as to where you tee it up.
A testament to the standard of sublime golfing facilities in the county is the fact that it has hosted The Open Championship on 17 times and it was the first hosting away from Scotland. Below, we’ll provide information on six golf courses that you absolutely have to play if you’re considering a trip to The Garden of England.
Royal St George’s
The crème de la crème of golfing in Kent, Royal St George’s is one of the most iconic venues across the entire world, let alone England. The history that this facility holds is truly remarkable and it is the only southern course that is part of The Open rotation. Founded in 1887, its mission was to rival St Andrew’s and provide an excellent links challenge for the south of England.
It was the first club to host The Open outside of Scotland in 1894 and it also produced the first non-Scottish professional victor during the same championship, as John Henry Taylor bested the field around him. The club’s Challenge cup is one of the oldest amateur competitions that still remains today and Jack Nicklaus picked up victory at this event in 1959. Ian Fleming used the golf course at Royal St George’s for his novel, Goldfinger – although the name was changed to Royal St Marks. This year’s championship will mark the fifteenth time that the venue will play host.
Prince’s Golf Club
During the early origins of the previous century, Sir Harry Mallaby wanted to build a golf course that would specifically welcome lady, junior and family golfers. As someone who frequently visited Kent for golfing purposes, Harry knew the potential that the vicinity held. He and a Cambridge University friend Percy Montagu funded the majority of the project after being donated the land by the Earl of Guilford.
Charles Hutchings, the 1902 Amateur Champion, was employed as architect and he worked alongside Percy to create the Prince's golf course in 1904. Once completed, former Prime Minister A.J Balfour drove the first ball and was named club captain. It also hosted The Open Championship in 1932 and it was viewed as a success. However, the imminent war would prevent any further hosting rights. Both Phil Mickelson and Gary Player are honorary members at the golf club.
The London Golf Club
One of the more recently established golf clubs within Kent is the London Golf Club. It provides a test that only Jack Nicklaus could set, after he designed the course in July 1994. The Heritage Course has been nominated for England’s best golf course during the World Golf Awards 2021.
It was originally developed by a Japanese businessman Masao Nagahara, after there was justified concern for a lack of a premium golf hub near the city of London. Following its opening, Jack, Seve Ballesteros and Tony Jacklin partook in a skins match for the official launch of the club. It has hosted The European Open and also played host to the European Senior Tour and PGA Seniors Championship.
Chart Hills Golf Club
Chart Hills Golf Club was designed by Steve Symers and Nick Faldo – whilst the latter was still a touring professional. The duo had managed to successfully create an enticing course with plenty of water and sand hazards that were specifically designed to test the greatest of golfers. It has hosted European Tour Qualifying School, Ladies European Tour, Ladies English Open and the Ford Golf Classic.
Royal Cinque Ports
As aforementioned, Royal Cinque Ports shares the same coastline as Royal St George’s and Prince’s Golf Club and also shares another similarity – it has hosted The Open Championship. The 1909 and 1920 editions of the competition were held at Cinques Ports and the venue would have received more too. However, the 1938 and 1949 championship had to be relocated due to abnormally high tides that had partially took over the course. Designed originally by James Braid before Henry Cotton helped restore the site.
There are two excellent courses for you to choose from at North Foreland, which is a testament to its versatility as a classy golf club. Founded in 1903 and located in Kingsgate, the village had previously existed as a poor fishing vicinity. In the 18th century, it became the grand estate of Lord Holland and it propelled its status amongst England. During World War II, members of the club would sit on the veranda and watch the Battle of Britain high above in the skies. Abe Mitchell, who features on the lid of the Ryder Cup, had worked at North Foreland Golf Club.
Top Resorts and Hotels
The Lodge at Prince’s Golf Club
As you enter the premises of Prince’s you’ll notice that there is an accommodation option: The Lodge. It boasts 12 bedrooms across two floors, each with efficient club storage and tea making facilities to help you start the day in the correct fashion. Each room comes equipped with free WiFi, large double or twin beds and a bath or shower room. The apartments offer a contemporary and stylish interior that is ideal for groups or families that are looking to relax and unwind. However, the bay suite provides a more luxurious setting where you will experience unrivalled views across the bay of Sandwich.
The Bell Hotel
The Bell Hotel is a popular facility to stay at and has welcomed visitors since Tudor times. Overlooking the River Stour, this hotel has recently undergone extensive refurbishment but it has not compromised on its charming period features that make it such a unique place to stay. Accompanied with the overnight options are a pub, restaurant and terrace that serve only the finest food and drinks. If you have already secured alternative lodgings, then feel free to visit the eating area as it is not exclusively available for guests of the hotel.
The Pegwell Bay Hotel
The Pegwell Bay Hotel is located on the cliffs of Pegwell Bay and the venue offer an array of overnight options. Single, double and twin rooms all come equipped with en-suite facilities and the home cooked food is one of Kent’s best eating options. It is an excellent base if you are looking to play plenty of golf during your visit and guests can enjoy panoramic views across the English Channel. There are 42 bedrooms and a homely restaurant on site, where visitors can enjoy a relaxed and friendly environment.
The Blazing Donkey
The Blazing Donkey is tucked away in the countryside of Kent but it is only a short car journey from the town of Sandwich. The history of this building can date back to the late 1700s, where the premises was utilised as an annual meeting for gentleman florists. The Blazing Donkey truly shines during summertime, where its wonderfully kept gardens provide the perfect escapism from the hecticness of daily life. In 1997, this establishment became the first property in England to be licensed to host outdoor civil marriages and in contemporary times, it is one of the most popular party venues throughout the entire district.
Kent is a large county that homes slightly less than 2 million residents. Considering its large locality, there are plenty of activities to keep you occupied. Below, we provide details for tourist information centres, helping you to make an informed decision when discovering new activities that don’t involve the golf course.
Another appealing reason to visit Kent is that it’s not prone to extreme weather, resulting in the area being an ideal destination all-year round. In the summertime, you’ll typically experience warm weather but not overbearing heat. However, during the colder months, expect a traditional English winter – which isn’t immune to the occasional snowfall.
There will be two primary travel options for those that reside in England and that’s either via train or by car. However, for those who are based in Ireland, Northern Ireland or Scotland, air travel may be more convenient.
All times listed is the journey from the location noted to Kent.
- Liverpool – 4 hours
- Manchester – 4 hours
- Bristol – 2 hours 30 minutes
- Nottingham – 3 hours
- Cardiff – 3 hours
- Newcastle – 5 hours
- Edinburgh – 7 hours
- London – 1 hour
- Birmingham – 3 hours
- Liverpool – 3 hours
- Manchester – 3 hours
- Bristol – 3 hours
- Nottingham – 3 hours
- Cardiff – 4 hours
- Newcastle – 4 hours
- Edinburgh – 6 hours
- London – 45 minutes
- Birmingham – 3 hours
- Luton – 2 hours
You won’t be able to fly directly to Kent. Luton is the closest airport and you may be required to get a train from there.
- Dublin – 1 hour
- Edinburgh – 1 hour
- Belfast – 1 hour
Considering its close links to the capital of England, Kent is viewed as an ideal location for a weekend getaway. What makes this such an attractive destination is the beautiful countryside, sensational coastline and vibrant towns and cities that are easily reached from one another. Both Stagecoach and Arriva are operating throughout the Kent area, which results in ultimate ease if you are planning to visit different areas of the county. Additionally, P&O Ferries and Eurotunnel le Shuttle carry visitors across the channel to Kent on a daily basis.
Considering its large size, there are endless activities to keep you and your family occupied when in Kent.
Things to do
Whether you’re a fan of live music, enriching yourself with the abundant history that the area contains or if you want to get up-close-and-personal with some wildlife, Kent has it all.
The Wildwood Trust is a centre of excellence for the conservation of British Wildlife and in 2002, it became a registered charity. It homes over 200 native animals and its setting is a mesmerising ancient woodland where visitors to the park can witness bears, wolves, owls, foxes, wild boar and many more wild animals. During the summertime, the trust will be operating in the evenings, allowing visitors to get close to the wildlife that reside within the park.
Dover Castle has such a rich history and, through the events and shows put on by the staff, you’ll be given an opportunity to refresh your history of England. You can explore recreated rooms that are filled with colourful furnishings and your imagination will be used to reflect on how drastically different life once was. On weekends throughout the summer, English Heritage will be bringing Dover Castle’s history to life with costumed characters who will reveal the involvement of the castle during the front line of the Second World War.
Rock The Mote
Are you a fan of live music? If so, Rock The Mote is an absolute must-attend festival that will celebrate the history of rock and roll. It will be located in Mote Park, which is based in Maidenhead, across the 7th and 8th of August 2021. You can expect performances from the country’s top tribute bands such as: Muse, Queen, Ed Sheeran and many more. Tickets will cost anywhere between £25 to £40 and Saturday tickets are running low.
Sandwich is a historic town and civil parish, which is within the Dover vicinity. The town was one of the Cinque Ports and it still has many original medieval buildings for tourists to visit. With a population of 4,985, it is small in size but there are many things to do to make your day memorable. You can visit the Guildhall Museum, displaying the history of sea battles, Sandwich at war and other notable historical moments in the town’s past. Additionally, a river tour is available and they take place all-year round – they also act as a mode of transport to and from Richborough Roman Fort
Dungeness Beach is a unique and marvellous destination. If you held the thought of golden sand beaches then you may be in for a shock at the vast shingles that the beach lies upon. It is technically classified as a desert but that has not stopped up to 600 species of wildlife, plants and rare inspects from habituating its environment. Angling is a popular activity here and during the summertime months, the Snack Shack operates to serve up scrumptious seafood.
As well as its rich history, Kent also has plentiful restaurants within the district. Whether you’re in the mood for an Indian, curious to trial a French bistro or you’re looking for a traditional menu, the county has it all.
The Frog and Scot
The Frog and Scot is a French bistro that is located in the beautiful coastal town of Deal. The restaurant was included in both the 2020 Michelin Guide and the Good Food Guide. During lockdown, the establishment went through a revamp that has improved its setting and general appeal. On the menu you can find: grilled lobster, baked pollack, pigeon breast, sevenscore asparagus, custard tart and cherry clafoutis.
Coppers is located in Hythe and it is a unique and stylish authentic Indian restaurant. Their vision is to create a buzz and further expose the taste and style of Indian culture. The modern café provides a warm and welcoming atmosphere and the venue can host large groups. The restaurant offers: samosa aloo matar, dahi puri, dalcha gosht, shahi paneer and they also present extensive vegetarian and vegan options.
The Canopy Bar & Kitchen
Kent is an inclusive and varied district of England and it is reflected in their diverse eating choices. However, if you’re looking for something a smidge more traditional, then The Canopy Bar & Kitchen has you covered. Based in Maidstone, they offer a wide range of drinks and Wi-Fi. If you’re feeling peckish, you can order: smashed burger, hummus and baba ghanoush and a warm chocolate brownie.
Namaste Indian Restaurant
Located in Sandwich Bay is Namaste Indian Restaurant, a traditional yet stylish Indian cuisine that continues to serve happy tourists. Accompanying the terrific service is a fine selection of beers and the atmosphere is warm and welcoming. As you walk through Namaste’s doors, the entre staff will offer you friendly service and provide helpful comment on the food that they serve. On the menu, you can find: lamb rogan josh, malai kofta and prawn biryani.
The Zetland Arms
The Zetland Arms has a fantastic setting for an eatery – as you’ll be overlooking the beach in Kingsdown, Deal. You’ll be located so closely to the waterfront that it will be possible for you to skim a stone into the ocean from the patio seating area! Not only do you experience sensational views of the expansive water, but you’ll also be indulging in some of the most premium seafood that Kent has to offer. Away from locally caught food and other options include: sandwiches, burgers and ever-changing daily specials. This establishment is located closely to Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club, Prince’s Golf Club and Royal St George’s.
The Crispin Inn
Sometimes, there’s nothing more appealing than true pub grub. If you’re in the mood for a traditional dish during your travels in Kent, then there are seldom better options than The Crispin Inn, which is also located in Sandwich Bay. First built in 1491, it originally operated as a dwelling house which was smaller in size before its modern business use. During the summertime, the expansive patio is open for customers and food will be served until 8:30 PM.
Where To Play
Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club
Rated 4.94 from 60 reviews
London Golf Club
Rated 4.89 from 442 reviews
Royal St Georges Golf Club
Rated 4.88 from 63 reviews
Pedham Place Golf Centre
Rated 4.08 from 810 reviews
Birchwood Park Golf Centre
Rated 3.71 from 744 reviews
Chelsfield Lakes Golf Club
Rated 3.44 from 735 reviews
Cobtree Manor Park Golf Club
Rated 3.5 from 727 reviews
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