Brancepeth Castle Golf Club is located near the famous, and historic cathedral city of Durham, in the pleasant, leafy village of Brancepeth. The club was founded in 1924, and Harry Colt, one of the world’s finest architects, designed the course on the former deer park.
Brancepeth Castle is a lovely parkland course, set in historic surroundings. The castle dates back to Anglo-Saxon days, and has been home to the Dobson family for the last 25 years. St Brandon’s Parish Church, dating back to Norman times, is located near the 18th green. Sadly, the church was devastated by fire in 1998, but thankfully it has since been restored.
The rolling fairways of Brancepeth are immaculately maintained. The course measures 6,300 yards, so it’s not overly long by today’s standards, but the lowly par of 70, provides a stern test for many leading amateurs. Brancepeth has played host to the final of the English County Championships, the Ladies British Open Amateur Stroke Play Championship and the English Ladies Amateur Championship.
There is a great deal of variation to the holes, and the famous deep ravine, cutting through the course makes for exciting golf. The suspended walkways, crossing the ravine, are a challenge in their own right. Especially if you are nervous about heights!
Brancepeth is a fascinating, and sometimes terrifying golf course. It’s full of surprises and very memorable too.
Brancepeth Castle is an exhilarating parkland course played across good turf on the outskirts of Durham.
The first tee is located down a lovely wooded path from the clubhouse (formerly the stables and coach house for the deer park) and this sets a lovely tone for the round where you traverse some beautiful countryside.
A deep ravine cuts through the heart of the property and provides some particularly challenging shots and in essence this is what elevates Brancepeth above other golf courses of similar ilk.
Indeed Colt has created a set of par-threes which are as exciting and also as dangerous as they come. Four of the five must directly cross the hazard with the 154-yard second hole an early introduction to the splendour of these daring short holes.
If you can get through the back-to-back ninth and tenth holes, one-shotters topping the 200-yard mark which cross the hazard in opposite directions, in a reasonable score your job isn’t quite done but you will be well on your way to a good round because there are some birdie chances from here on in.
It was also pleasing to find that the greens played nice and firm despite recent rainfall. You could hold a ball from the fairway with spin but out of the rough you really had to think carefully about where you needed to land the ball.
I played a number of other top-end parkland courses around the same time as I did Brancepeth and whilst it might just be edged out by some of the more prestigious venues down in Hertfordshire and surrounding counties it stands proud as one of the best fast-running inland courses in the North of England.
Ed is the founder of Golf Empire – click the link to read his full review.
Great variety in lovely surroundings. No play from fairways in march, hence value rates, but didn't detract from a fun game of sporting golf. Nice turf, some challenging long irons to play, highly recommended.
Played brancepth most weeks for past 7 months. Greens haven't always been in best condition during winter, but still better than some courses I have played in the summer. The par 3's are all great and challenging, with the 2nd being my personal favourite. Can't wait to play it in summer when conditions are at their best.
Ive played this course about 5 times a week for the past 9 months, and can say it is definitely one of the best courses of the north. The golf course sits beautifully in the stunning landscape, which with its steep slopes and ravines lengthens the course considerably. Accuracy on the approach shots is a must as the greens often slope front to back and have some very steep natural contours. The atmosphere in the clubhouse is excellent although if playing with the locals, be sure not to take their blunt comments to heart!