I had the absolute pleasure of playing Queenwood on March 10th after winning a competition to play 18 holes with the legendary Darren Clarke! Queenwood is quite unlike anything I have ever experienced, it is arguably the most exclusive club in Europe and from the moment you drive through the large black gates you realise you are in golfing heaven. Upon arrival we were greeted by the ever helpful staff who removed my clubs and shoes from the car and to park my car for me. We had breakfast in the locker room lounge area waiting for Darren, after an initial chat with Mr Clarke we headed out to the range where we were greeted by our caddies for the day (thanks Mat, you were great!).
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.
Date: March 11, 2010