How Royal Cinque Ports cracked our newest Top 100 Courses in the World list

Royal Cinque Ports in Deal, England.

Royal Cinque Ports in Deal, England, ranks 100th on our Top 100 Courses in the World list.

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GOLF released its latest ranking of the Top 100 Courses in the World (2023-24), and while Pine Valley again took the top spot, there were eight newcomers that found their way into the ranking. Here, we’ll introduce you to them.

Newcomer spotlight: Royal Cinque Ports / Rank: 100th

Location: Deal, England
Play: Semi-Private
Architect: Henry Hunter/James Braid, 1919; Guy Campbell/Henry Cotton, 1946

Why it made our list, according to a rater:

Having fallen into blissful obscurity for all but the most ardent lovers of links golf, Royal Cinque Ports — which is also known as Deal — has been awarded the Open Championship four times in its history. However, due to flooding from the English Channel, it has only hosted the event twice. Deal’s greatest asset is its topography, which makes it a classic links golf experience. Play is over and through bouncy, crumpled terrain. The course resembles St. Andrews in spirit and design as the routing moves snugly along the coastline, with a loop in the middle, before returning home. Greens are heavily contoured and, also like the Old Course, situated on plateaus, challenging the best short games. Holes such as the 361-yard 10th, which the golf architect Sir Guy Campbell said “has the quality of the blow of an angel’s wing,” and the 549-yard par-5 16th, which features a hollow before the green that Bernard Darwin dubbed the “Valley of Inglorious Security,” inspire and mystify golfers. A muscular, vintage links, Deal makes a most worthy entrant to the World Top 100, and, at 7,400 yards, would make a splendid Open host should the R&A ever come calling again. — Noel Freeman

You can view Royal Cinque Ports’ Top 100 Course page here.

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More about Royal Cinque Ports

A former Open venue often referred to as Deal, Cinque Ports is on the English Channel, a few miles south of Royal St. George’s. But the properties couldn’t be more different. St. George’s is the bigger, more sprawling of the courses, while Cinque Ports was built on a thinner ribbon of land. While it doesn’t have the vastness of St. George’s, Cinque Ports has micro-contours galore that will delight links golf aficionados. The humpy-bumpy fairways are rivaled by the superlative collection of greens, from the punchbowl 3rd, to the 12th set between two ridges, to the plateau designs at 6 and 16. Bernard Darwin famously deemed the dip before the 16th green to be “the valley of inglorious security.” To his point, you might initially be happy to see your ball at the base of the green in two, but trying to stick the elevated green from a tight lie is no small task. — Ran Morrissett

Josh Berhow Editor

As’s managing editor, Berhow handles the day-to-day and long-term planning of one of the sport’s most-read news and service websites. He spends most of his days writing, editing, planning and wondering if he’ll ever break 80. Before joining in 2015, he worked at newspapers in Minnesota and Iowa. A graduate of Minnesota State University in Mankato, Minn., he resides in the Twin Cities with his wife and two kids. You can reach him at