From the moment you enter The Lodge at Prince’s Golf Club it’s clear you’re following in the footsteps of champions.
A photograph hangs in the reception area showing Colin Morikawa drinking from the Claret Jug in joyous celebration. It was taken in the bar here on the night he won The Open next door at Royal St George’s Golf Club.
Morikawa, Cameron Smith, Rickie Fowler and Phil Mickelson were just some of the great names to stay here during the 2021 Open. It was a place where they could relax, stay in comfort and even practice and although it sits on Prince’s Golf Club, it overlooks the 13th green and 14th tee at Royal St George’s.
It doesn’t take long to see why the players felt so at home in a building which was once the original clubhouse at Prince’s. A night or two here, surrounded by the wide open spaces, is good for the soul. The views across the courses, which are just yards away, and onto stunning Sandwich Bay enrich and relax you and it doesn’t take long to adjust to the pace of life. It’s wonderful.
The charismatic Saul Saywood is the storyteller-in-chief here, a natural and charming raconteur. We sit and listen to him at the bar for a while and come away with a better understanding not only of Prince’s Golf Club itself but with a story or two from the days when this place was briefly a home from home to some of the best golfers in the world.
It was here in this very bar where Morikawa arrived with the Claret Jug to celebrate a career-defining moment just hours after winning The Open. The pictures behind the bar show Saul filling the famous old trophy with beer from the taps, as he and the golfers who stayed to celebrate, toasted a famous victory before flying home to all corners of the world.
We sit and enjoy a fantastic meal and a glass or two of wine from the extensive list. The food is nothing short of excellent, with some fantastic locally caught seafood the highlight.
We’re staying in one of the two-bedroom apartments, which have two en-suite bathrooms and a central lounge looking out to sea. My bedroom overlooks the 13th fairway at Royal St George’s Golf Club. The apartment is modern and well appointed and the whole place is spotlessly clean. It’s just perfect for anyone booking a golf trip to this corner of Kent. The Lodge at Prince’s Golf Club also has its own vast putting green, just next to the terrace and bar. It’s a great place to wile away the hours.
During The Open and with their bags safely stored away, the likes of Morikawa, Rickie Fowler, Cam Smith and Marc Leishman borrowed putters and balls from the Prince’s pro-shop and held putting competitions late into the night.
All the details that make a golf trip a success have been considered here. The walls are packed full of fantastic memorabilia, historic images as well as photographs and flags signed by all the players who have stayed here.
After watching the run rise over Sandwich Bay the next morning, we eat breakfast outside on the terrace on a beautiful summer morning, with the freshly cut 6th green of The Shore course no more than 10 yards from our plate of eggs. We finish up and toddle a few hundred yards along the road to the 1st tee.
It is all so relaxed, so easy. No stress, no drama, no rushing. It set us up beautifully for a day of golf ahead. And when our round is over, knowing we are so close to our rooms, another fantastic meal, a comfortable bar and lounge, is just the comfort you need. And that’s the point of this place – you are left wanting for nothing.
There is one drawback if you stay at The Lodge at Prince’s Golf Club, however – you will be clean out of excuses not to play well when it comes time to step onto the 1st tee. You have been warned.
*For stay and play offers for The Lodge at Prince’s visit PrincesGolfClub.co.uk