Visit Kent is to showcase the wealth and variety of golf courses in the ‘Garden of England’ at the London Golf Show when the golf exhibition debuts at Bluewater in Kent from November 14 to 16. Golf in Kent will located in the Lower Hall of the London Golf Show at Stand B38.
In addition to a rich history and tradition of golf that goes back a century, Kent has over 100 golf courses to choose from as well as a range excellent accommodation for golfers and a host of off-course attractions.
The county is probably best known for its east coast links trail which comprises three Open Championship host courses – Royal St George’s and Prince’s in Sandwich and Royal Cinque Ports in nearby Deal – and the two Open Final Qualifying venues of North Foreland in Broadstairs and Littlestone, located in the dunes between the famous Romney Marsh and the English Channel. This cluster of premier links courses, considered to be some of the best in the world, can be easily accessed using the medieval town of Sandwich, the coastal town of Deal or the city of Canterbury as a base.
Kent also possesses some notable inland tracks set in the picturesque and undulating countryside of the Kent Downs and the Weald of Kent, a number of which have been designed by some of golf’s most acclaimed course architects such as James Braid and Harry Colt.
Over the last few decades the county has continued to build on its golfing tradition with the construction of several new courses. Many of these have quickly gained recognition as excellent tracks thanks to the work of some of today’s famous course designers.
Good examples of these courses are Chart Hills and the two courses at the London Golf Club. Chart Hills near Maidstone was designed by Englishman Sir Nick Faldo, and with its extensive water hazards and abundant and varied bunkering, has quickly established itself in various course ranking.
Meanwhile in the west of Kent and just 40km from central London, the London Golf Club offers two courses created by American legend, Jack Nicklaus, which both provide an exhilarating test of golf. The acclaimed International Course is pure downland though the quick, sloping fairways force a links-style approach. Recently the venue for the 50th anniversary of the Volvo World Match Play Championship, the London Golf Club has also hosted both Regional Open Qualifying and the European Tour Qualifying School, proving that this course is a tough test for even the most talented of golfers.
Kent also offers a host of more manageable, though still testing, courses that can be enjoyed by golfers of all levels as well as families looking to enjoy a round together. These include the Pentland Golf courses of Austin Lodge near Brands Hatch, Boughton just outside Canterbury and Etchinghill near Folkestone as well as Lullingstone Park near Sevenoaks.
With affordable green fees, coaching staff and great practice facilities such as 9-hole Academy courses, these clubs are ideal for beginners and high handicappers looking to improve their game and a great place for better golfers to enjoy a more relaxed round.
It’s no wonder Kent is referred to as a golfer’s paradise in the ‘Garden of England’.
Complementing the golf, Kent’s off-course attractions are plentiful in terms of heritage, tradition, gardens and national parks all set within a natural and varied landscape. The county boasts a number of historically-important buildings such as Canterbury Cathedral, Dover Castle and Leeds Castle as well as a wide range of visitor destinations such as Port Lympne Wild Animal Park, the Turner Contemporary Art Gallery and Sissinghurst Gardens.
Appropriately the ‘Garden of England’ is also fast developing a name for itself as a gastronomic mecca. Traditionally known for Dover Sole, Whitstable Oysters and its local ales – Shepherd Neame is England’s oldest brewer – Kent is now home to award-winning wine makers, Michelin-starred restaurants and as well as a number of smaller ‘kitchens’ offering local Kentish produce at reasonable prices.
For those wanting to stay in Kent, there is a wide range of accommodation from boutique hotels to coaching inns and B&Bs to resort hotels.
To showcase itself as a top golfing destination to consumers, Visit Kent has also launched www.golfinkent.co.uk where weekend breaks and longer golf tours from two to six days can be booked directly or bespoke itineraries can be requested to suit individual requirements. For regular updates on Golf in Kent, follow @GolfInKent on Twitter.