Originally called Castle Bar Golf Club when it formed in 1898, Ealing changed name to its current title shortly after it was founded. James Braid was subsequently commissioned to lay out an 18-hole course for the club before Harry Colt carried out modifications in 1926 when the A40 road was constructed just to the north of the property.
Down the years, improvements have been made to the layout in terms of adding new tee positions, pruning trees and upgrading bunkers but the routing has remained intact, even if the playing order has changed a number of times. The club was also one of the first to automatically water its greens and this irrigation system has since been extended to cover the fairways.
Ealing is a typical parkland track with tight, tree-lined holes laid out on the flood plain of the River Brent. As you might expect on such a flat landscape, the river encroaches at several points during a round here; none more so than at two of toughest holes on the card, the long par four 6th and the left doglegged 13th, where the meandering waters cut across the fairway in front of the greens.Other notable holes at Ealing include the back-to-back par fives at 7 and 8 and the two par threes on the back nine at 14 and 18 – the former is a tough “short” hole which plays as long as 227 yards from the back tees whilst the latter is a new closing hole that was recently brought in, along with a new par four 17th, to replace the old pair of par five finishing holes.
Ealing is an odd one. The holes are crammed into a tiny property, and the routing lacks interest, as do the holes. Ealing is best known for its greens however. They are often described as the best in the country, and it's not a bad shout. They're very flat, but because of this, they get them to 12+ on the stimp. I wouldn't get to Ealing with high expectations, but if you do, enjoy the greens.
Golf course come in many shapes and sizes. Some are grand - not Ealing. Some are long - not Ealing. Some offer you peaceful seclusion - definitely not Ealing. Some make the most of what they've been given. Yes yes yes. Ealing is a lovely example of how to take flat, riverside land and create a golf course that’s worth playing.
It does this by condition. As has been said before the greens are excellent. They are also fast, so make sure you land the ball on the right side of the hole. But they very much do reward the well struck putt; just don’t be tentative. The condition extend to the fairways which were lovely and lush.
So, not all the holes are great, indeed a few, most notably 11 I just did not like. There’s nothing wrong with a short par 4. But it has to offer risk and reward. The river Brent was just too far away and too wide for anyone to actually take it on - so it becomes an iron then wedge hole for everyone. In contrast the 12th does offer a reward. Get over the bunkers and miss the out of bounds right and you are pretty close to a tough green. Lay up and your approach is a hard one to a severely sloping green that is well protected.
I also liked 5 where the reward comes from being bold with the drive to get far enough round the corner to take out the river and the accompanying trees. A short drive and means you take them on, and if you bale out right a nice bunker forces you to think rather hard about whether your third will find a watery grave.
Yes, the course is tight, yes there are some crossover holes, but my abiding memory will be the greens; quick, subtle and a perfect demonstration that in a flat part of the world 2ft matters and 5ft matters a lot.
Nice review and would reflect my own opinion of playing Ealing in two or three occasions. The greens are the standout feature here, maybe the fastest I’ve ever putted on. I’d add that some of the tees are dangerously close to greens in places and that can slow down play, but with limited space in this part of London, they’ve made the most of what they have.