The best hole I ever played: A sinfully delightful par-4 along the sea

Royal Cinque Ports in Deal 6th hole

A view of the green of the par-4 6th hole at Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club.

Jason Livy/www.jasonlivy.com

Our knowledgeable crew of course raters have stuck pegs in the ground just about everywhere. But which holes stand out as the greatest they’ve ever played? We asked them, and they replied with love letters about their faves.

Every great golf course needs a drivable or drive-and-pitch par-4 to arouse our heroic instincts. Royal Cinque Ports in Deal, England — which is among the most underrated courses on the planet — has not one of these holes but two: the 6th and 10th.

A look from the fairway of the 6th at Royal Cinque Ports.

Jason Livy/www.jasonlivy.com

The former gets my nod as the better of the pair. At 323 yards (from the medal tees), the hole doglegs right over a hummocky sand dune. Its green is obscured from the tee, and its fairway ribbons through crumpled dunes, which tumble like ocean waves. Directly adjacent to the tee is a seawall and a shingle beach abutting the English Channel. It is here that the customary and often capricious southwesterly wind can tempt the golfer to take a bold line via a power fade and pray their ball can bank like a fighter plane and land on a bunker-less, pulpit green that is fronted by a 10-foot bank and backstopped by the seawall.

For mere mortals, a good drive leaves a half-wedge to a green that will rebuff all but a perfectly pitched shot. Hero or goat? Which will you be? The 6th looks easy on the card but it’s a sinful delight to strategize and play.

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