After around an hourís drive I find myself pulling into the pub car park that is shared with Leeds Castle Golf Club after making the mistake of actually going to Leeds Castle Ė the course sits on the property but has a different car park and entrance.
We are informed that they have been working on the course this week and have only just sanded and hole-tined the greens. Itís a blind tee shot over the white stone to a fairway that dips away from you so you canít see the landing area. At 294-yards it is driveable so make sure you listen for the bell, which indicates players have left the green.
The green sits downhill but is raised and protected by two bunkers on the left, but I love the feeling of the hole. It has a type of heathland feel to it, which is reinforced when I get to the 3rd hole. You have to cross a road to get to the third but standing on the tee it really is a beautifully designed dogleg left and played to a green that measures 74-yards wide and sits diagonally across you. Strategy is the name of the game here as you can easily run out of room with your tee shot, as you are forced right because of the bunker sitting on the left of the fairway or you could go for the full carry with draw!
The first par 3 arrives at the 4th and is played from an elevated tee, but be careful of that left-to-right wind as the ball comes out above the canopy of the trees. The 5th gives you the first glimpse of Leeds Castle from its elevated tee. The fairway is spit by a road and cars have the right of way and for the longer hitters they can certainly carry the road with a chance of getting very close to the green on this 417-yard hole.
The 6th has to be the courseís signature hole played again from an elevated tee to a rolling fairway below, playing over the 5th fairway with the castle and its moat running the length of the left hand side. It is spectacular and Sir Guy Campbell and his partners CK Hutchinson and SV Hotchkin, who are the original designers, have certainly made the most of this view and Alan Walker has certainly brought this course back to life with his 2016 update of the course.
Views of the castle can also be seen from the 7th which is another iron off the tee, with the second shot being played over water to an uphill green and then again on the 9th hole where an iron off the tee is needed once more. Both holes sandwich the uphill 141-yard par 3 which is another well designed hole.
As we putt out on the 9th a little smile breaks across our faces. Leeds Castle may only be a nine-hole golf course but it certainly packs a mighty punch in those nine holes Ė a wonderfully designed course with some majestic views. Hats off to Alan Walker and his project to revitalise this course. He has certainly done a wonderful job.
Above: Looking at the 5th green from the 6th tee with mist on the moat around Leeds Castle