Today is the last course on this trip to Kent and we are heading from the Lodge at Prince's over to Broadstairs to North Foreland, which is perched on top of the cliffs there and offers some spectacular views of the English Channel. Originally a 9-hole course it was expanded to 18 holes in 1903 by Fowler & Simpson.
The great Abe Mitchell was once a professional here when the club was in its heyday, but there have also been some turbulent times at the club and none more so than just after the second world war began, when the club went into decline and was wound up.
But as I meet Darren Parris the club's present professional who is busy organising lessons and welcoming groups of golfers on a busy Saturday morning I can see today’s North Foreland is in great hands, and with a group lesson of 4-8 year olds taking place on the putting green outside, I think it has a great future too.
Darren starts me on the 10th tee which as I stand on the tee I can look straight out over the channel and see the off-shore wind farm, they may not be everyone’s cup of tea but I think it looks spectacular and with the clear blue Kent skies I can see a long way out.
The skies look like a beautiful sunny day but this is the beginning of March and the wind brings with it a chill that means I am well wrapped up and you need to be up here. The back nine of the course is exposed and although not a typical links – this is more a free running chalk based surface than sand based tight cropped links – the wind will play a big factor in your course management.
There are some great holes here and position is all-important so I would highly recommend the course planner and take notice of what it tells you particularly when it comes to the tiered greens. You really need to be on the right tier unless you fancy your putting as five of the greens have three tiers and a further seven greens have two.
The front nine – my back nine today – has a very different feel to it, but still incorporates those spectacular views. You definitely need to make your score on the front nine and it does give you a lot of chances and if you get off to a good start you could be at least 4 or 5 under par for the first four holes.
The members here seem to be a friendly bunch and very welcoming of visitors and as I stand admiring the ruins that is on the sixth tee with its castle backdrop this has to be the most beautiful parts of the course.
Ruins and wind farm at the 5th Tough pin at the 6th greenStunning views at the 9th
The back nine is much more exposed, this is the par 3, 11th hole