Review for The Belfry (Brabazon)

Reviewer Score:


Judging from previous reviews it seems like The Brabazon is somewhat of a marmite course. Without wanting to generalise or make too many assumptions I think it’s fair to say the keen golf course aficionado (less pompous names are available) find the place a bit over-rated, and were it not for it’s Ryder Cup heritage, wouldn’t be held up in such high esteem. And despite not being somebody who’s had the privilege of playing the truly great courses of the world, I can understand this opinion. American style target golf courses are ten a penny across England these days and there’s not too much stuff in terms of course architecture that you won’t find elsewhere.

However, all that to one side, if you take The Belfry for what is unashamedly is, a quality but accessible resort, I think there are very few experiences the average golfer would enjoy more.

Personally I find the course really good fun, especially the front nine. #2, #3, #4, #6, #8 are all really good holes. There’s plenty of challenge off the tee and some really dramatic, nerve-jangling water carries to contend with.

I think the 9th is one of the most underrated holes on the course. A long par 4 that suits a draw off the tee. The closer you dare take it to the fairway bunker, the better angle you have into a severely sloping green that wraps around the back of a lake. Bail out to the right, away from the bunker on your tee shot and you’ll find yourself blocked out by tall trees. Bail out to the left on your approach and you’re pitching out from either a bunker or from downhill lie onto a green below your feet running away from you.

After that it’s number 10 and there’s no dispute as to how good a hole it is. The only downside is you can end up waiting quite a while to tee off as everybody wants to try and drive the green. But who can blame them? You’ve got to give it a go.

To be fair I think the rest of the back 9 is a bit weaker, although I do like the 12th. A long, downhill par 3 over a lake. But other than that it’s a little forgettable (relatively speaking) until you get to #18, to which again, there’s no disputing how good a par 4 it is. If you manage to find the fairway, the approach over the lake towards that enormous three tiered green is iconic.

Overall I think the Belfry is a great day out or weekend away. I think you’d have to be mad to pay the full £160 green fee, but in reality you can get on for much cheaper. Either by booking more last minute when they seem to reduce the prices, (I’ve scored a midweek tee time for as little as £60) or by staying over a night or two and getting on one of their multi course deals.

So in summary, yes, if you’re somebody who really appreciates tradition, great golf architecture and unique golfing experiences, the Belfry isn’t for you. But if you’re looking for a fun golfing getaway with your mates, and a chance to recreate some famous shots on a famous, well maintained course, it won’t disappoint.

Date: October 08, 2020

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