On Friday, November 2nd, I made my way down to Queenstown Harbor to play the River course just a few days removed from Hurricane Sandy. Queenstown is a 36-hole facility with The River being the more upscale play, and The Lakes, also a nice course, but not presenting as scenic an experience or as challenging. The River has a lot of water and combines tree-lined protected holes with some open and exposed holes that are subjected to the winds off the nearby Chester River and Chesapeake Bay. On this day, the hurricane was just exiting the area and the wind was sustained at 15-20 mph with higher gusts, and the temperature was in the high 40s. Playing conditions were super difficult from the blue tees at 6,568 yards. I was amazed at the exquisite course conditioning considering nearly a foot of rain had fallen only days before. The course drained extremely well and the bunkers were in immaculate shape (all groomed and not a sign of any pooling.) Fairways, tees and greens were smooth and filled in nicely. We were playing cart path only but the course was dry for all practical purposes. A tip of the cap goes to the greens crew for the amazing job.
- All par-fives are three shot holes and placement is the key off the tee. Don’t hesitate to take a three wood and keep it in play.
- Most of the par-fours are medium length and play under 400 yards, however there are several sharp doglegs that tempt you to play over water to get a shorter look. Don’t succumb to the temptation as the risk is not worth the reward. The iron play in from the safe areas on #4 and #12 are easy enough to play to without risking a rinse.
- #18 is a par-five and when the pin is cut front and left, be careful of the hidden water hazard that creeps up close to the green. You can’t see it from the fairway.
Value (3.0 out of 5.0)
I played on the off-season rate of $75. In season is in the $90-$100 range which is not inexpensive for this play, even though the price includes your cart and unlimited range balls. The Lakes can be played for $49 off-season and the greens fee is commensurate with the relative caliber of the layout.
Facilities (4.0 out of 5.0)
Queenstown has a modest size clubhouse that houses a well stocked and attractive pro shop, along with a good sized snack bar. Behind the building is a pavilion used for outings which is a nice setting and can host upwards of 200 people. Earlier this year I played a very well attended charity event here that was organized nicely.
There is a 25 station driving range that is outfitted with mats that are designed to hold a wooden tee. Unfortunately they don’t do the job and just teeing a ball up to hit driver was an issue, which was about the only source of frustration I had during the day. There is a very large beautiful practice putting green adjacent to the first green and a smaller one by the driving range. Next to the primary green is a medium sized pitching green that includes a bunker and a closely mown area, and presents a variety of lies to practice from. Overall, the practice facilities are spacious and ample enough to support two courses.
Customer Experience (4.0 out of 5.0)
The staff at Queenstown from the professional manning the shop, to the snack bar attendant to the starter/bag drop guy were all very friendly and accommodating. Reserving a tee time was easily done through their website which is intuitive and easy to use. On this date, they had any time I wanted and the starter gave me the option to play as a single or pair up with a choice of twosomes. Playing Queenstown in the offseason or in season during the charity outing was a delight. Visitors to Maryland’s eastern shore should not miss this one.