Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club: Course Review, Green Fees, Tee Times and Key Info

This strong links heads along the sea wall before turning for home on 12 and asking big questions of your game all the way home

Royal Cinque Ports 16th hole
The excellent par-5 16th at Royal Cinque Ports now boasts split-level fairways
(Image credit: Kevin Murray)

Top 100 Courses UK & Ireland 2023/24

(Image credit: Future)

Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club Key Information

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Header Cell - Column 0 Header Cell - Column 1
AddressGolf Road, Deal, Kent, CT14 6RF.
Phone Number+44 (0)1304 374007
Websiteroyalcinqueports.com
Emailoffice@royalcinqueports.com
Green Fees£210 per round April to October
Visitor TimesMonday to Thursday only
ParMen: 72 black, white, yellow, blue; Ladies: 73 red, blue
Slope RatingMen: 131 black, 129 white, 125 yellow, 112 blue; Ladies: 124 red, 123 blue
Opened1892
Designed byHenry (Harry) Hunter
Golf Monthly Verdict

Royal Cinque Ports - Hole 8

(Image credit: Jason Livy)

The links follows a broadly out-and-back routing north of Deal, with one or two deviations along the way, among them a St Andews Old Course-style loop at the far end.

The best holes are perhaps concentrated in what you might call the ‘central’ section of the course (holes 3-8 and 12-17). The rolling terrain in this part of the links has paved the way for some wonderful green complexes, such as the punchbowl 3rd, the raised plateau 6th and the rollercoaster 16th.

The run for home into the prevailing wind from the 12th is as tough a test as you'll encounter anywhere.

REASONS TO PLAY ROYAL CINQUE PORTS

- It's a two-time former Open Championship venue so steeped in history

- There are some fascinating green complexes and run-offs allowing for a huge variety of greenside shots

- There's a real chance to show where your game is at on the testing final stretch from 12 to the clubhouse

RANKINGS

UK & Ireland Top 100 Golf Courses 2023/24 - 45

Along with Royal St George’s and Prince’s, Royal Cinque Ports is one of three Open Championship links in Golf Monthly's UK&I Top 100 Courses that lie almost back-to-back-to-back on the Kent coast between Sandwich and Deal.

Founded in 1892, the original nine-hole links had grown to a full 18 by the turn of the century. James Braid, Henry Cotton, and most recently, Martin Ebert, have been involved in its evolution over the years.

The links follows a broadly out-and-back routing north of the town of Deal, with one or two deviations along the way, among them a St Andrews Old Course-style loop at the far end.

The outward nine heads north, hugging the sea wall closely in places, nowhere more so than the green on the short but tempting par-4 6th, which sits atop a steep bank right beside the wall.

There are some cracking moments in among the taller dunes over this stretch, among them the par-5 3rd, which plays semi-blind to a fascinating sunken green set in a hollow. This hole was remodelled recently by Ebert with the fairway re-aligned further to the left and the tee moved across to the left-hand side of the 2nd green and elevated to give a stunning view right down the hole. The tee is surrounded by a striking sand scrape

The four holes from the 8th play back and forth in more of a west-to-east and east-to-west direction to potentially unsettle your rhythm, with the run for home from the 12th into the prevailing wind as tough as you’ll encounter anywhere. Choose your tees wisely!

The 16th has now been restored to a par 5 rather than a very challenging par 4, with the tees going back 60 yards. A split fairway offers a new elevated option on the left for a better view of the green. The fairway is lined with large rough-edged bunkers.

The Open visited in 1909 and 1920 and was scheduled for two further stagings in 1938 and 1949. Sadly, both were thwarted when easterly winds and high tides inundated the course. All three neighbouring Kent coast Open Championship links sit right at the top of any best golf courses in Kent list.

A new short-game area, also designed by Ebert, features two greens and three bunkers to enhance the club’s practice facilities.

Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club

Looking up towards the 8th green

(Image credit: Jason Livy)

What The Top 100 Panel Said

James Holland UK&I Top 100 panel
James Holland

A wonderful layout with no holes that I didn’t like. The 6th is quirky but great fun - almost every other hole is there in front of you with some wonderful links fairways with all the undulations. Some holes avery scorable, some incredibly tough, but it is a fair test throughout. I really find it difficult to find any faults. 

John Winter UK&I Top 100 panel
John Winter

A pure links course with sunken greens, broad swales penalising the mishit shot, deep bunkers, sandhills, bumps and humps. Links golf at its very best. Outstanding greens, a solid routing and great setting with views across the English Channel. No two holes are the same. The variety makes the round so challenging, interesting and ultimately eventful.

Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club location

Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club Green Fees

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April to October 2023£210Mon-Thurs only
November 2023 to February 2024TBCMon-Thurs only
March 2024TBCMon-Thurs only

Book a tee-time direct with the club online

Best Courses Near Royal Cinque Ports

ROYAL ST GEORGE'S

ROYAL ST GEORGE'S
Royal St George’s was founded in 1887 and was the first English course to host The Open back in 1894. A great feature here is that the holes constantly play in different directions, so the test is ever changing. The green complexes are famously appealing, beautifully presented and highly challenging.

PRINCE'S

PRINCE'S
All three nines at Prince’s have benefited from a transformational and hugely impressive upgrade under the expert guidance of Martin Ebert. Sand scrapes abound, and while it is very difficult to say which two loops are the best, each of the Shore and Himalayas nines has a delightful new par 3 facing out to sea.

Best Places To Stay Near Royal Cinque Ports

The Lodge at Prince's -  Book now at Booking.com
The Lodge at Prince’s Golf Club in Sandwich offers excellent accommodation not far from Royal Cinque Ports. Set by the 6th green on the Shore nine, there are views across the course or out over Sandwich Bay towards Ramsgate. The Brasserie on the Bay provides high-quality dining, featuring Kentish produce and locally foraged ingredients. There is also a cosy lounge bar with log fire, serving a range of cocktails, and an outdoor terrace.

Royal Hotel, Deal - Book now at Booking.com
The Royal Hotel is on the seafront in Deal. It is an 18th-century three-star hotel with beautiful rooms only a mile or so from the course, renowned for its warm hospitality and comfortable surroundings. The elegant à la carte restaurant serves a variety of freshly cooked meals.

Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club Scorecard

Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club scorecard

(Image credit: Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club)

Royal Cinque Ports Gallery

ROYAL CINQUE PORTS HISTORICAL TOP 100 RANKING UK&I

  • 2023/24 - 45
  • 2021/22 - 53
  • 2019/20 - 58
  • 2017/18 - 56
  • 2015/16 - 56
  • 2013/14 - 47
  • 2011/12 - 47
  • 2009/10 - 52

Frequently Asked Questions

Who won the two Opens played at Royal Cinque Ports?

In 1909 it was home favourite J.H. Taylor who claimed the fourth of his fifth Claret Jugs and the £50 winner's cheque with an impressive six-stroke victory over Tom Ball and James Braid. In 1920, Scot George Duncan won by two from fellow Scot, Sandy Herd, despite shooting 80 in the opening two rounds. The winner's cheque had increased to £75 by then.

Does Royal Cinque Ports have one of golf's toughest closing stretches?

Quite simply, yes. When you turn back south on the 12th tee, not only are you playing into the prevailing south-westerly wind all the way back to the clubhouse, but you will also be facing some of the toughest holes on the course. Off the tips, four of the five par 4s are over 450 yards, with the only par 3 219 yards and the solitary par 5 549 yards.

Jeremy Ellwood
Contributing Editor

Jeremy Ellwood has worked in the golf industry since 1993 and for Golf Monthly since 2002 when he started out as equipment editor. He is now a freelance journalist writing mainly for Golf Monthly. He is an expert on the Rules of Golf having qualified through an R&A course to become a golf referee. He is a senior panelist for Golf Monthly's Top 100 UK & Ireland Course Rankings and has played all of the Top 100 plus 91 of the Next 100, making him well-qualified when it comes to assessing and comparing our premier golf courses. He has now played 1,000 golf courses worldwide in 35 countries, from the humblest of nine-holers in the Scottish Highlands to the very grandest of international golf resorts. He reached the 1,000 mark on his 60th birthday in October 2023 on Vale do Lobo's Ocean course. Put him on a links course anywhere and he will be blissfully content.

Jezz can be contacted via Twitter - @JezzEllwoodGolf


Jeremy is currently playing...

Driver: Ping G425 LST 10.5˚ (draw setting), Mitsubishi Tensei AV Orange 55 S shaft

3 wood: Ping G425 Max 15˚ (set to flat +1), Mitsubishi Tensei AV Orange 65 S shaft

Hybrid: Ping G425 17˚, Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro Orange 80 S shaft

Irons 3-PW: Ping i525, True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 R300 shafts

Wedges: Ping Glide 4.0 50˚ and 54˚, 12˚ bounce, True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 R300 shafts

Putter: Ping Fetch 2021 model, 33in shaft (set flat 2)

Ball: Varies but mostly now TaylorMade Tour Response