In 1920 the inimitable Walter Hagen travelled across the Atlantic to compete in his first Open, a competition that was to be held at Royal Cinque Ports.
The charismatic American was humbled by the Kent links, finishing a lowly 53rd in a field of 54 pros. But, never one to be out of the limelight, the New Yorker stamped his mark on the tournament by striking a blow for the professional game.
At the time professionals were still not allowed into the clubhouse at Royal Cinque Ports and Hagen was incensed. Displaying his trademark bravado he parked his limousine outside the front door, changed his clothes there and later ordered champagne be delivered to his car.
The links at Deal is separated from the English Channel by a large sea wall. The waves are only visible if you hit an errant shot onto its summit and it gives the course a sense of seclusion. Other than the occasional dog-walker you will be undisturbed as you make your way through the rolling dunes on this course, which was the highest climber in our latest Top 120 Course Rankings.
Deal?s rise was due, in no small part, to the pioneering work of course manager Gordon Irvine, who is returning the links to its true state while creating an environmentally sustainable model.
The prevailing wind helps on the outward nine as the course heads out towards Royal St Georges and it?s over these holes that a score must be made. After a sausage sandwich at the recently spruced up half-way hut, it?s time to tackle the treacherous inward nine. On inclement days the closing stretch has ruined many a scorecard as, from the long 12th onwards, the holes play straight back into the wind. With OOB down the right, cunningly placed bunkers and impenetrable rough, a straight ball from the tee is imperative and a five at all of the long par 4s is never a bad score.
Address: Golf Road, Deal,
Kent, CT14 6RF
T: 01304 374170
STATs: par 72, SSS 73, 6,899 yards
GF: telephone for information
GM TOP 120 RANKING: 79