The Queen’s course is the pretty little sister at Gleneagles. The holes are set within an all together softer landscape than the King’s and PGA Centenary courses. She’s only a short course and not the most challenging, but she is exquisitely delicate and stunningly beautiful. Patric Dickinson summed up Gleneagles in his book, A Round of Golf Courses: “So let us be fair from the very start; or even before the start, Gleneagles is something that was created, and exists, sheerly to please; if I may take a simile from the theatre, it is glorious musical comedy.”
Designed by James Braid and C.K. Hutchison, the Queen’s course opened for play in 1917. From the medal tees, the course measures less than 6,000 yards, but with a lowly par of 68, it represents an immensely enjoyable challenge. This is one of the finest parcels of golfing land in the British Isles. The holes weave their way across undulating moorland, through charming woodland, to greens set in pretty glades. The ball sits proudly on the springy fairways, inviting the most solid strike. The greens are true and ideal for bold putting and this really is an enchanting and exhilarating place to play golf.
Gleneagles is unusual in that it has three different golf courses and it’s also unique because it’s the only place in Scotland to have three Top 100 inland courses. This is a place to enjoy the entertainment and have some fun. Or as Patric Dickinson said: “Gleneagles is one of the wonders of the golfing world, a kind of Hanging Garden of Babylon on a Scottish hillside, and if you marry Golf, here’s the place to spend your Hinny Mune!” ¹
Gleneagles completed a renovation programme on the Queen’s course in 2017. Eighty-nine bunkers were rebuilt to improve drainage and enhance the sand line visibility on each of these hazards. Fairway mowing lines were also modified to return the course to James Braid’s original design plan. Additionally, the 16th green, which is laid out in a natural bowl shape, was also upgraded to improve drainage.
Scott Fenwick, Golf Courses and Estate Manager, said: “As with the re-launch of The King’s Course last summer, our work over the last 18 months on The Queen’s Course has taken it back to how it would have been in Braid’s day. Braid’s bunker designs at Gleneagles were based on the courses supporting summer play only, so to bring them back to his original design concept, and make them playable all-year-round, marks a tremendous achievement.
“In the mid-1980s we began changing the identity of The Queen’s to meet golfers’ expectations at that time, which included reshaping the course until the fairways became really narrow and the original bunkers were moved into the rough. Using archived photographs and Braid’s designs as our guide, we’ve reversed most of those changes, increasing the fairways by around 40 per cent.
the 11th hole, for instance, we’ve removed one bunker and resurrected
another that used to sit in the rough – bringing back into play a more
strategic hazard and ultimately transforming how the course is played, giving
golfers a more traditional experience. Additionally, around the course, we’re
re-introducing Scottish heather to frame the fairways and better reflect the
course’s appearance in the 1920s.”
Gleneagles is one of our Top 100 Golf Resorts of the World
On the day we played, Scotland was covered in frost. The hour and a quarter drive from the west saw a minimal rise in temperature with the mercury only hitting positive when we entered Perth and Kinross, would frost stop play? Fast forward 2 and a half hours (Only 1 hour and 10 minutes after our allotted tee time and you would never have guessed that there had been any dodgy weather, the fairways were lush, the greens only slightly marked by a light spiking, we were more than good to go. I was pre-warned of the natural beauty of the Queen's Course but I suggest it was undersold to me, as the place is just simply stunning. You could be standing in a 3D Gainsburgh or Constable masterpiece it is just breath-taking.
But you can’t play the view, thankfully, the course matches its surroundings with a magnificent variety of holes which will more than keep you on your toes. I am honestly struggling to name a weak hole as I don’t believe there are any however, holes 9-14 and 17 are just a wee bit more special. The Queen's is undoubtedly one of Scotland visual show stoppers and that, along with the Gleneagles name, comes at a price. I urge you if you get the chance to play here on a corporate or winter fee then grab it with both hands, you will not regret it. So hats off, (again), to James Braid, Earlsferry’s finest, for another design classic, perhaps the prettiest in all of the land or as Del Boy and Rodders might say. Pukka!!!!!!!!! MPPJ
Golf on this course is not meant to be too taxing as fairways are generally wide and open, but bunkers are large, deep and plentiful - the craters on the 7th in particular - so good scoring has to be earned. The opening half dozen holes are bounded on the right by discreet housing then the minor road that leads to Braco but that’s as close as the outside world gets to even a hint of outside interference.
The offset green perched on a ridge at the 6th is a high point on the outward half and the uphill, right angled dog leg at hole 9 is well worth it’s stoke index rating of 2. Views of the gWest course down below can be seen from the elevated position of the 8th fairway and although it lies only a quarter of a mile away to the west of the Gleneagles estate, the new course looks a totally different type of layout, bereft of trees or sizeable changes in elevation – but more of that some other time when it opens for play…
Of course, the telephone on the 10th tee just has to be dialled to place a late lunch order that’s ready 15 minutes later in the Halfway House beside the 11th tee of both the King’s and Queen’s courses. And as we sipped our cups of tea and looked out on the Perthshire hills from the cosy wee cabin with the sun streaming in through the windows, it merely confirmed that we were at one of the top places to play inland golf in the country.
After an engaging outward half, the back nine don’t disappoint in any way whatsoever. In fact, if anything, the natural beauty quotient is cranked up even higher with the highlight for me being the beautiful 12th - think Royal County Down’s 9th where the fairway drops down from a plateau to green level - followed by wonderful back-to back par threes that skirt little Loch an Eerie. It’s a stunning little trio of holes that makes best use of every inch of the landscape on that part of the property.
I can’t remember when I last saw so many green keepers working on a course (I was told there were 20 working between the King’s and Queen’s with a similar number on the temporarily closed PGA Centenary), mainly hollow tining greens - about half the putting surfaces had been worked on – so the current major renovations off the course are being matched on the fairways and greens.
As this is only the second Queen’s review posted in the last three and a half years, perhaps it’s time non-corporate golfers found out what they are missing by trying one of the special 4-ball tee times offered by Gleneagles. Jim McCann
If the Queen's at Gleneagles is the cute little sister of the three courses then the King's is the horrible big brother and the PGA the ugly big sister (more of the latter two in their review sections). I played the Queen's in October 2003 (Gleneagles have had an internet offer of around 30 quid a course in October the last few years so keep your eyes peeled on the web) and found this to be a far better experience than the one I'd had at the King's when I played it.
It's a touch under 6000 yards from the medal tees so not too long. The condition of the course from tee to putting surface is so good – everything is well manicured and presented. Some of the views are simply stunning and the whole layout blends in beautifully to its surroundings.
The halfway house is worth visiting for a ten minute break on your way round and the Dormie clubhouse has first class facilities from a steam room in the lockers to great food in the lounge; it's pricey in here, but how often do you play at a venue like Gleneagles? If you plan to make a day of it and play two of the three courses, make the Queen's one of your choices and you'll be guaranteed at least half a good day out.