Golf club profile: Prince’s Golf Club

Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick January 16, 2021 16:18

The Kent venue has been widely regarded as one of the best links courses in the world for years – and maintaining this reputation has required upgrades, including a recent clubhouse revamp that led to the creation of a new, exclusive locker room.

If you own a club with such a long and illustrious heritage as Prince’s it could be easy to rest on your laurels and allow past glories to bring in business.

Yet the McGuirk family, proud owners of the famous links lay-out at Sandwich, Kent, take a different approach – constantly evolving and making improvements to maintain its standing.

Designed and completed as an 18-hole course in 1906, Prince’s has seen numerous changes over the years – some forced by circumstances beyond its control, but many because the proprietors and members have been determined to re-enforce its standing as one of the world’s premier links.

The outbreak of World War Two and the club’s strategic position on the Kent coast saw the land and property requisitioned by the military as a battle training ground, and the course was virtually destroyed.

In 1950 it was restored with three sets of nine holes named The Shore, The Dunes and The Himalayas.

Since then, under the stewardship of the McGuirks, substantial investment has been ploughed in with ongoing maintenance and improvements including new championship tees and the revetting of all 97 bunkers.

In recent times, the club has undertaken another renovation under Martin Ebert, of Mackenzie & Ebert.

The initial focus was on The Himalayas, the loop considered to be the lesser of the three. A facelift improved the nine considerably making the venue a much-regarded and genuine 27-hole venue.

Its success prompted a similar facelift at The Shore and Dunes loops as the club continued its evolution. Further development plans are expected to be announced shortly.

Much off-course redevelopment has complemented the course improvements.

The McGuirks built a new clubhouse in the 1980s to a very high specification and it was refurbished for the 2003 Open Championship staged at the adjacent Royal St George’s.

The original, renamed Lodge at Princes, has been transformed into a boutique hotel with luxury bedrooms and suites. It is also the home to the Brasserie on the Bay restaurant.

2020 witnessed a further upgrade of the clubhouse, involving the resiting of the professionals’ shop and administrative offices.

The club also started an investment programme aimed at transforming the clubhouse locker rooms.

Rob McGuirk, who operates in his business as club manager said: “The locker rooms were rather dated after 20 years of use and no longer met the needs and expectations of our members.

“After a tendering process we appointed Ridgeway Furniture, who stood out for a combination of competitive pricing and the high quality we were seeking.

“Our locker room was split into two, and included a dead space that we used as a store room. Ridgeway suggested we turned this area into an exclusive locker room, named The 1932 Room after the Open Championship staged at the club during that year.

“It has been fitted out with 32 large lockers, showers and toilets, carpeted and decorated. We aim to add a small bar area in the future to give it an exclusivity and a special ambience.

“The 32 lockers were offered to the membership for rental and were taken within an hour. Each one is personalised with the member’s name and they have created a real buzz about the place.

“They have been very well received and are of a very high specification in keeping with our expectations. Ridgeway were excellent throughout the whole process and I would not hesitate to recommend them.

“We had planned to continue the work in our other locker areas but the Covid pandemic has prevented us from moving forward. We hope to complete the job when the situation gets back to normal.”

Since its inception Ridgeway, the UK’s largest dedicated manufacturer of wooden lockers, has manufactured tens of thousands of lockers that have been installed in some of the most prestigious golf clubs in the world.

Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick January 16, 2021 16:18
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4 Comments

  1. CLomas January 17, 21:24

    Not just a great course, but a great Club, it is rare to get the 2 combined!! Proud to be a member

    Reply to this comment
  2. Middle January 17, 12:44

    Great job being done there it gets better every time I visit

    Reply to this comment
  3. SorrellR January 17, 07:03

    A wonderful place in great hands , I have fantastic memories of playing there , can’t wait to get back there with my old mates Mitch and Ian Smith

    Reply to this comment
  4. Derek B January 17, 05:23

    The McGuirk family have done a fantastic job at Princes.
    Chapeau

    Reply to this comment
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