Queenwood Golf Club, in a similar mould to Loch Lomond and the Wisley, is reserved for its small but perfectly formed membership and their very lucky friends. This is the most secretive golf club in the UK, even a logon id and password is required to access the Queenwood Golf Club website. Secrecy is a great marketing ploy and with membership full and a reputed joining fee of £145,000 it’s little wonder that the club is packed full of golf’s high rollers.
David McLay Kidd, son of former greenkeeper Jimmy Kidd, designed Queenwood and the course quietly opened for play in 2001. Jimmy is now the chief agronomist within his son’s design business. According to DMK Design, “The site is tranquil parkland in west London, an area well known for its classic courses, including Sunningdale, Walton Heath, Woking, Swinley Forest, and more. The area had recently seen some expensive private club failures, in part, I believe, because the courses were too manicured and too predictable. My pitch to the developer, Fred Green, was that Queenwood had to be a departure from that modern style and a return to the heathland traditions of the courses noted above, all of which have stood the test of time”.
The Surrey/Berkshire sandbelt has seen precious little golf course development in the last 80 years and Queenwood harks back to the design principles of yesteryear. According to Fred Green, “DMK Golf Designs' modern interpretation of designs from the ‘Golden age of Golf Course Architecture’ in the 1920s has produced results that far exceeded our highest expectations”.
Golf World magazine commented on Queenwood, in their November 2002 edition: “Queenwood is an ambitious and exclusive club for its A-list of invited members, so a mediocre course was never a proposition. They chose a profile designer with fresh ideas on a classic bent, David McLay Kidd. He has done a masterly job considering this was his first course in the UK. It is a triumph of understatement at first glance despite Kidd’s bunkering which is intriguingly shaped and clad entirely in heather. It is not until you stretch your legs and stroll around that you are hit by the detailing, particularly the greens that roll and pitch like a sea swell. This is real class, from the Pro V1s on the practice ground to the chilled apples by the 10th tee.”
If you've managed to play Queenwood, either by sneaking on, or by buttering up Hugh Grant, Michael Douglas or another wealthy member, you’re one step ahead of most of us. We'd love to know what you think about the course. Why not write a review and let the world know how good Queenwood really is?
Queenwood is the most beautiful and immaculately presented course that I have had the good fortune to play. Everything about it oozes class. The pristine condition reminds me of Augusta with hardly a blade of grass out of place. My caddie mentioned to me that he had previously seen one of the greenkeepers using scissors to trim the grass around the sprinkler heads!
The course itself is beautifully laid out with a good routing through the estate. The majority of holes are secluded giving you the feeling that you are the only ones on the course (possibly because we were!). Lakes come into play on a handful of holes and all are presented beautifully.
It is not designed to be the hardest golf course in the world with relatively generous landing areas and big greens. The greens are fabulous, albeit when I played in April they were not at their summer speed. Given some of the slopes these are the most challenging aspect to scoring well.
It is very hard to fault the course. The overall experience rates incredibly highly and much of that is down to the exquisite presentation of the course. The strategic challenge is arguably a bit lower than a number of other courses which stops it rising to the very top rung of my rankings. Exactly where it places really comes down to what you value most in a course.
I am wary of overemphasising the condition of a course. If you have happened to play the course at the wrong time of year or when the greens have just been sanded then you need to look through that. However if a course is permanently or predominantly in excellent or poor condition then this should effect its rating.
The bottom line is that I’m extremely thankful to have had the opportunity to play Queenwood and would jump at the chance to play there again. I’ve often heard, and used, the phrase “millionaire’s golf” to refer to having a course to yourself but Queenwood is true millionaire’s golf! If you get the chance, grab it with both hands.
When I was younger I used to drive past Queenwood a lot as it is right opposite Foxhills Golf Club, where I was a member for a few years. I always used to look out the window and tell myself that one day I would be inside the metal gates, and play the Augusta of England, that is Queenwood Golf Club. On Monday my dream became a reality.
Everything about the place oozes class and is quite truly sensational. I can’t stress to you enough how much of a great experience Queenwood is. They treat you like royalty, the range balls are free and all Titleist Pro V 1s and the course is as pure as they come. The tee boxes are maintained to perfection, the greens are unreal with sub air systems, which very very few courses in England have. The bunkers are beautifully designed and the fairways are lined to perfection. The whole course is just immaculate.
My favourite holes are the par 5 first, an average length hole which has a great looking approach shot into the green. The par 4 5th is also a great risk and reward hole. A dog leg left with water on the right. The further left you take it the less you have in but then there's more tree and bush that you have to try and get over. The back nine has two of my favourite holes on the course. 10&16 are both great par 4s for similar reasons. The 10th is a downhill drive with the great clubhouse in the background and a dog leg to the right. The second shot goes over water onto an undulating green. The 16th is a short par 4 with water just short of the green and one of the most ridiculous greens you’ll ever play. The 18th is also a great finishing hole, a par 5 and hitting towards the great clubhouse.
Overall, I have to give Queenwood a 6 ball rating. The course is unbelievable and everything is amazingly kept. The whole place is magical and in the summer it is truly an unreal place. Was a treat to play and will definitely be playing it many more times!
I imagine Queenwood to be one of those places that when the invite to play finally arrives it’s met with a lot of excitement. For UK standards it’s extremely private and what I can only call as an American type high-end private club and playground for the wealthy. The facility is really quite impressive and everything there is truly top class. The driving range facility is excellent, pyramids of balls stacked and waiting, excellent manicured turf and an array of targets. Our caddies were already taking good care of us from the onset.
The course I’d have to qualify as a kind of heathland, parkland hybrid with a fair bit of water but excellent firm turf more like heathland. The routing is quite strong but it does give off a more manmade feeling at least for me. The greens are certainly among the best I’ve ever seen in the UK, rolling at like 12-13 on the stimp and being quite undulated, they present a serious challenge, especially on your first go around. I think the course is set up very playable; the fairways for the most part and playing corridors are quite wide. It’s not overly long from the back tees given the perfect playing conditions, but a premium is definitely set on angle of approach to the greens, and with the greens being so fast and quite large it’s really easy to put yourself into 3 putt territory with the tricky undulations.
Overall I really enjoyed the experience and would have to say it’s really very hard to beat the 18th hole playing back to the amazing clubhouse from an aesthetic point of view. Given the extremely high average quality of golf in the UK I would not say Queenwood is a standout in terms of architecture and would not belong in the top echelons of English golf with the likes of Sunningdale, Swinley or Royal St. George’s, however it certainly offers a unique high-end experience on a very solid and perfectly maintained golf course in an absolutely beautiful setting and is extremely fun to play. At the end of the day that is what it’s all about, fun and enjoyment.
The range is superb, the turf you’re hitting on is better than any fairways I have played on and there were buckets full of brand new ProV1’s. The putting green gave us a taste of what to expect, they are lightning quick with some unbelievable undulations and Darren said they were relatively slow compared to how they usually are, he said they’re as quick as Augusta at their peak, I can well believe him!
Off to the first tee, and despite my hands shaking and knees knocking I managed to get my first drive off, the course is typical of the quality of courses you get in Surrey. The turf is springy and very easy to get spin from, most of the holes have some form of heather or gorse you need to avoid although they look amazing visually. My scores on the front 9 weren’t great but for me it was the experience of playing somewhere that most people will never get the opportunity to play, some of the holes are simply amazing, it is still a blur at this stage but I loved all the par 3’s and the par 4 10th and 16th were my favourite holes and I managed 4over on the back 9 so I came away very happy indeed and Darren and I won our match against his colleagues from TaylorMade.
The greens really are something else, you will not putt on better greens anywhere in this country, and they’re relaying them next year so can’t imagine how good they’ll be then. This whole place oozes class and exclusivity, the pro shop is small but perfectly formed with some nice looking clothes all bearing the Queenwood logo. The clubhouse is big and looks like it’s been around for years but the club has only existed for 10 years which beggars belief really as it has the feel of somewhere that’s been around for a long time. I didn’t want the day to end and it dawned on me that I’ll probably never get to come here again in my lifetime which is a strange feeling really, but Darren was absolutely brilliant, a top guy who is totally grounded and very honest about his objectives this year and about some of his playing colleagues! Just before we left I bumped into Jaime Redknapp who is a top bloke and chatted to us for a few minutes, that left a final indelible mark on us and topped off an amazing day and one that probably won’t be repeated.