Review: Burnham & Berrow Golf Club

Golfmagic's Michael Smyth tees up on the Somerset special

In two words this course is a must play, writes Golfmagic's Michael Smyth.

There is real character everywhere from the rickety clubhouse to immaculate chipping green and a stretch of links between the church and lighthouse that holds its own in the UK or Ireland.

The leading architects at the turn of the last century were Colt, Mackenzie, Fowler, Taylor and Alison. All of which had a hand in this links masterpiece which has great holes aplenty. Fowler & Alison were both members at B&B but it was mainly a Colt creation.

This hallowed links has staged numerous leading amateur events down the years ranging from the Brabazon, Tilman Trophy, British Boys and English.

Opening stretch

Colt loved a blind tee shot and I got one straight out of the box at the opening hole. Missing the large sand dunes right and left, I was left with a mid-iron into a flat, slick green.

The only flat stance you will get on the 2nd is on the tee. A rollercoaster of a fairway weaving between bunkers left and right to a large, sloping and slick green. I was more than happy to walk off with a two-putt par here.

The 3rd and 4th are a fair examination in that if you keep your dimples between the dunes and out of the numerous pot bunkers, you should be making nothing worse than pars.

The 5th at 158 yards is the first of great variety in par-3s. Accuracy is a must here to a green surrounded by pot bunkers.

The 6th requires a tee shot to the dogleg and from there, take half a club more for the slightly uphill approach.

The stroke index one comes up next and it’s a brute, before the par-5 8th presents a long carry to the fairway and a lay-up avoiding the fairway bunkers.

The par-3 9th has MacKenzie written all over it! Raised tee to plateaux green with the only flat landing area on the green the size of a beach towel. Miss the green and you will do well to make par. Hit the green and you will do well to make par.

Nine holes out… Nine holes in

The blind tee shot at 10 brings you to one of the flatter areas of the course until your uphill approach to the par-4 12th green under the watchful eye of the Berrow church.

The closing six holes are on par with the opening six with a great variety of tough holes where you are fighting for bogey mixed in with the odd opportunity for birdie.

The ‘short’ 14th reminded me of Calamity the much talked about 14th at Portrush – another Colt creation – with green perched on top of a dune and a drop-off left – right at Calamity - that will need the full caddieshack to locate the ball.

The par-5 16th should give up a birdie unless you three-putt and lose a bucket of skins like yours truly, before the potential card wreckers at the final two holes.

Golfmagic verdict

Testament to the overall positive experience I am currently looking into country membership at B&B.

From the warm welcome in both the pro shop and clubhouse to nursing a Doom Bar by the fire, this place has it all.

True links golf at its best with some of the best conditioned greens I have ever played on, many of which are nestled amongst rugged dunes making club selection tricky even for the most hardened caddies.

The food is a step up from the usual golf club grub and great value to boot!

An avid follower of the Top 100 courses in the UK and Ireland I am both miffed and surprised that Burnham & Berrow’s outside the top-20.

Go play and let us know what you think. Share your thoughts in the forum below or tweet us @Golfmagic. You can also tweet and follow the author Michael Smyth @MJSmythGolf

For more information visit and Countrywide Golf Holidays (+44 (0)1637 879991).

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