Broadstone Golf Club
Frank Pennink describes Broadstone Golf Club as a first-class test without being unduly long. Bernard Darwin called Broadstone 'the Gleneagles of the south'.
There are only four par 3's which come on holes 6, 8, 11, and 15. It is one of the best sets of one-shot holes I've found yet.
The golf at Broadstone Golf Club is spectacular but stout. Heroic carries abound and the card and pencil brigade will be in for a proper challenge.
Broadstone Golf Club is on the very precipice of greatness. Recent work has improved the course and it is tantalisingly close to being iconic.
Golf Course Review
Broadstone Golf Club was founded in 1898. Upon inception, it was known as the Dorset Golf Club, and the course itself was known as the Broadstone Links.
Tom Dunn, Willie Park & Willie Park Jr
Tom Dunn was the professional at Meyrick Park and was the most prolific Victorian age golf course architect at the time. He was hired in the summer of 1898 and Broadstone Golf Club opened for play in November of the same year. There is suspicion that Willie Park and Willie Park Jr played a role as advisors but no firm evidence has been found to support this conclusion.
Herbert Fowler & Broadstone Golf Club
Herbert Fowler advised Broadstone Golf Club between 1905 and 1909. His primary objective was to modify Tom Dunn’s penal Victorian bunkering. This would represent one of the earliest examples of golf course architecture being altered by the paradigm shift from the Victorian to Strategic school.
Harry Colt & Broadstone Golf Club
Broadstone Golf Club was later redesigned by Harry Colt. The redesign began in 1914 and finished in 1922 – the long interruption caused by WW1. It was reported in 1916 that Harry Colt introduced new holes whilst incorporating some of Tom Dunn’s original’s. Effectively, Harry Colt altered the routing to remove the parkland holes from the course and used the heathland to full effect.
In 1916, Harold Hilton wrote in Golf Illustrated that the new holes given the ‘Colt touch’ were ‘bold’ but ’eminently fair’ and ‘full of character’. At the time, there were three short holes that rivaled any other set of three in golfdom.
In 1922, it was reported that Harry Colt ended his project by building the 5th and 6th holes which stand until the present day. The new holes replaced the former 3rd and 6th holes which were both of the one-shot variety.
The Post Colt Era at Broadstone
No major alterations have been made to Broadstone Golf Club with the exception of the following:
- A lake on the 3rd hole in 1988.
- Extending the 9th in 1992. The old 9th green is an alternate hole known as 9B.
- New 10th tee in 2006.
Broadstone Golf Club Architectural Summary
There is significant work ongoing at Broadstone Golf Club. Connor J Walsh and Gordon Irvine are leading the charge with work including bunkers, drainage, irrigation, and tree clearance.
The work, on the whole, is quite good. The challenge you have is the second and third holes, the 9th in the middle of the round, and the last two holes. Why? Firstly, the opening and closing holes provide one’s first and final impressions. Secondly, because they contrast so much with some of the best golf holes in all of England. Harry Colt’s work at Broadstone Golf Club is reminiscent of his boldest work at both Tandridge and St George’s Hill.
Holes 2 & 3
The criticism of the 2nd and 3rd is: They are essentially asking the same question despite one being played uphill and the other downhill. The second and third have a distinct parkland feel and contrast with the rest of the course. The pond in front of the 3rd is penal and the green needs to be flown from a downhill lie. These are not terrible golf holes, but they are penal and require heroic second shots. They also give no indication of the brilliance that is to come.
After the brilliance of holes 4 to 8, you are given a reprieve. Tom Simpson would be fond of this as it plays an important role in giving one mental and physical respite from the toll of such terrific golf.
The hole is long and covers land that is bland in comparison with what was just played and that which is to come. The hole feels like a connector being two glorious stretches of golf that need to be played because the walk from 8 to 10 is just too far. Perhaps that is too harsh… but where there is criticism there also lies opportunity.
Holes 17 & 18
After playing one of the best stretches of golf I’ve come across in some time, you are presented with a downhill par 4. There are elements here that can be leveraged – none more so than the creek that runs just in front of the green.
A short par 4 is played as the home hole. Again, it’s not a bad hole but it doesn’t have the wow factor of echelon bunkers constructed into the faces of hillocks or diagonal ridges with expanses to carry. This hole is not naturally endowed with excellence. It will need to be manufactured… how that is done will be vitally important not just for that hole but for the entire course.
Broadstone Golf Club Architectural Conclusion
Overall, these five holes (2, 3, 9, 17 & 18) will provide the true challenge of Broadstone Golf Club being counted amongst the new elite of English heathland golf. They all hold promise and it will be exciting to see what can be done to balance and blend these holes with the genius and excellence of the rest of the course.
I am being critical but you need to be if you want to be in the running for the title of being one of the best heathlands in the country. The golf is exquisite and this is one golf course I plan on visiting again to see how they get on.
The stretches from 4 to 8 and 10 to 16 are some of the best inland golf holes I’ve encountered. What I am eager to see is if the balance of the holes can be persuaded to step up and be counted.
Broadstone Golf Club Photography
Broadstone Golf Club - Videos
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Featured Architect: MacKenzie, Alister
As taken from his book, Golf Architecture, Alister MacKenzie felt the following were essential: The course, where possible, should be arranged in two loops of nine holes. There should be a large proportion of good two-shot holes and at least four one-shot holes. There should be little walking between...