The Takeaway: 100% worthy of hosting a British Open again, Deal shouldn't be missed when travelling to southeast England. Only ¾ of a mile from Royal St. George as the crow flies, Royal Cinque Ports greens and bunkering stack up with the best in the UK. Grade A-
Designer: Henry Hunter 1892 (James Braid 1919 and Guy Campbell 1946)
Cost: £110 - £175 Click for current rates
Phone Number: +44 1304 374007
Course Website: Official Website - Visit Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club's official website by clicking on the link provided.
Directions: Get here! - Golf Rd, Deal, Kent CT14 6RF – UNITED KINGDOM
What to Expect: The queen of southeast London golf with nearby Royal St. George’s claiming the spot as king, Royal Cinque Ports (often referred to as Deal) is a high quality championship layout with superb greens, challenging bunkering, and a setting on the sea that allows for the winds to dictate the day’s difficulty. A former British Open host, Deal has the chops to test the best players in the world even though Sandwich is the course in the neighborhood currently in the Open rota and acted as host in 2021. After a flat and straightforward opening hole, Royal Cinque Ports is routed through more interesting terrain with moderate undulations bringing character to the course and occasionally some challenging lies. Leaving the fairway is an instant funeral for your golf ball with the fescue and marram grasses creating an effective cemetery, so accuracy is key all day long. The closing seven holes are the ultimate challenge into the prevailing wind and will test the merit of even the best players. In the end, a 36 hole day at Deal and Sandwich offers one of the finest experiences in the world, let alone England.
By the Numbers
Individual Hole Analysis
Signature Hole: 8th Hole – 169 Yard Par 3 – A one-shotter playing directly back to the sea, the 8th is an attractive hole that can become perilous quickly when the wind is whipping. The green looks to be wearing a string of pearls as six pot bunkers wrap around the neck of the putting surface while the back side slopes off to a berm of fescue. The green is the only safe place to hit it as par saves don't come often from off the putting surface. The par threes on the front at Royal Cinque Ports won't knock you over in terms of length, but they are a couple of crackers when the wind is blowing and they also require your best work with the flatstick.
Best Par 3: 4th Hole – 151 Yards – Your touch is tested on Deal's first par three, as an undulated putting surface in a bowl surrounded by fescue awaits. With the wind commonly in your face as it rolls in from the sea, club selection and ball flight are paramount for success. The right side of the green complex creates a unique bowl situation where the right kick could put you on the putting surface while catching the wrong slope can put you in a spot where bogies are plentiful. Pin locations in the front right are the most difficult to get close to as the hump in front of the green in that location provides more defense than meets the eye.
Best Par 4: 9th Hole – 458 Yards – The most unique tee box on the course is here on the 9th hole and found between the public walking path and the beach. The tee shot plays with the prevailing wind mostly at the player's back with a right to left bias, which is beneficial to move the ball in a shape that matches the turn in the fairway. Balls that fly over 250 yards will carry the fairway bunkers and set up nicely for an approach shot to the green that sports three bunkers short and another bunker just right of the putting surface. The swells in the early portion of the fairway seem to mimic the waves behind the player before smoothing out into the green as if the water reached the beach; a beautiful hole in a setting worthy of the design.
Best Par 5: 3rd Hole – 566 Yards – The first par five at Royal Cinque Ports takes players to the sea as the fairway runs parallel to the beach line for the second half of the hole. The right side of the hole is where the most trouble lurks with a fairway bunker resting on that side 75 yards before encountering a pair of spectacle pot bunkers that gets pinched by a dune moving in from the left and squeezing down the fairway to an eye of the needle width. The rolling fairway features a variety of kicks and tumbles before entering a bunkerless punchbowl type green that offers a certain amount of excitement and intrigue to approach from a distance. With the wind coming in from the player's right, a fade that fights the breeze and lands soft is an ideal approach.
Birdie Time: 10th Hole – 361 Yard Par 4 – RCP has two driveable par four, the 6th and this opening hole on the back nine. On a calm day, the line is a 275 yard poke straight over the horseshoe bunker on the left side of the fairway which will tumble towards the front of the green. Into the prevailing wind it is wise to stay right of the bunker, while downwind you'll want to take a line over the left edge of the horseshoe bunker. The angle of the green sets up best for an approach from the right, so if you don't have the juice to take a rip at the green then laying up short of the two fairway bunkers on the right will leave you a wedge to the flag and a great chance to stuff an approach shot close. Whether you are trying to drive the green or lay back, the 10th is a great opportunity to card a birdie to start the second nine.
Bogey Beware: 15th Hole – 476 Yard Par 4 – Starting with the 12th hole and its challenging length combined with its crazy undulated green, the closing stretch of holes at Deal are notorious for their difficulty. Of all those holes though, the long and strong 15th stands as perhaps the most difficult par of all of them. The fairway looks like the sea during a storm with flat lies being more difficult to find than an Arsenal jersey on the wall of a Tottenham pub. A carry of 260 yards will be required to clear the fairway bunker on the right and find the fairway that maxes out at 28 yards wide. From there you'll be faced with a long approach shot, from an unlevel lie, to a green with edge slopes that are difficult to consistently account for with a non-scoring club in your hand. There is no hiding from this hole, you just have to take it straight on and hope to minimize the damage.