- Neil White
Updated: Sep 11, 2020
Apparently, a "bloody and vicious" battle took place in 851 on what is now Prince's Golf Club's links. Well, 1,169 years later a rather friendlier fight was won by the elements and, thankfully, no red stuff was spilt.
Prince's wears its history proudly on its sleeve - the entrance to its modern clubhouse tell tales of past heroes while plaques on the course reveal stories of amazing fighter pilot courage, the aforementioned skirmish and the wonders performed in a bunker by Gene Sarazen in the 1932 Open.
Nowadays, the top tournaments are played at its esteemed neighbour, Royal St George's, but, as I can testify, Prince's - and Himalayas in particular - are a very stern test indeed.
I played in a competition which linked the nine holes with The Shore rather than The Dunes, the third nine on this 27-hole complex.
But, as those two nines are listed elsewhere in England's top 100 list, I shall relate only how my round succumbed to the fierce wind and driving rain of the beautiful but treacherous Himalayas.
From the beginning, it demands accuracy and driving strength. There is a significant carry on almost every hole and strategic bunkers which are deep enough to be card-wreckers.
The first two holes lull players into wondering how this nine-hole track developed is tough reputation.
Frankly, neither is especially long and decent tee shots can lead to comfortable pars. However, a turn into the prevailing wind for the third changed any notion of an easy day out.
I did manage a birdie on the short fifth by blasting my tee shot way out to the right and allowing the wind to blow the ball back so far that I was only just outside the nearest the pin winner.
Then came the trauma of the par-five sixth, straight into the ever-strengthening driving wind and rain. Suffice to say i failed to score despite Herculean efforts.
Such were the conditions that I required a driver for the 192-year seventh - described by Tony Jacklin as the best par three without a bunker.
I didn't quite reach it but managed a four - the best of our group which included a six-handicapper who found himself trapped at the right side of the green and found it impossible to lift his ball onto the plateaued green without it rolling back to his feet.
The eight is with the wind but please be more circumspect than I was in driving over the water hazard. Yep - I found it.
The ninth - Sarazen's famous hole- was actually more doable than I expected given its reputation - I surprisingly reached the par-four in three.
Himalayas was a chastening experience which continued on The Shore. However, I want to go back and see its beauty in the sunlight and be able to admire vie