OK, a brief May Day blog. The other week I played for the first time at Ealing Golf Club, which in fact is in Greenford, just off the A40 and strictly speaking just outside London. The pro is a great guy, Ricky Willison, who played on the European Tour for seven years about a zillion years ago.
The course was originally laid out by James Braid and later redesigned by Harry Colt. That’s some combination! It’s a fine layout, amid graceful trees, and it’s not a demanding walk – i.e. it’s pretty flat. The stroke 1 hole is the 6th, an excellent par-four where the second shot has to clear a stream just in front of the green, but the standout hole is surely the 14th, a par-three that measures 215 yards. There is nothing especially scenic about it but, into a breeze, I hit a driver that finished ten feet beyond the cup and I made the putt. I think it has to be the longest short hole on which I’ve ever made a two.
Rightfully, the course is especially renowned for the quality of its greens. This was only the third week in April yet they were magnificent – fast and true. If I may quote from Golf Monthly: “Ealing is fortunate in having procured the services of Greg Evans – one of just 52 Master Greenkeepers worldwide. Evans didn’t just want the greens to peak for a handful of club events, he wanted to maintain them as close as possible to championship standard 365 days a year. Thanks to a comprehensive maintenance programme that goes against the grain for UK clubs, with blade heights set aggressively as low as 2mm, he has transformed the putting surfaces at Ealing. The results are some of the finest and fastest greens around.”
They’ll get no argument from me about that. Hang a left shortly after Hanger Lane and you’ll be there.
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