I have been visiting Broadstone on and off over the past 10 years and recently on a regular basis as the guest of a member. Once again when I played in August 2014 the greens were a delight. They were firm, ran true and had a good pace to them. I think it would be fair to say the course continues to develop nicely with some good changes to its layout. The 5th hole has been made much better with the tee being moved over to the left creating a more challenging tee shot. The bunkering too has been altered and overall it is a better golf hole. I also like the fact that a lot of the trees that lined some of the holes have been dramatically ‘thinned out’. This has resulted in some wonderful views across the course being opened up. This is no better demonstrated than down the left-side of the 4th where a splendid vista of the 7th has been created. The sight of the heather in the distance along with the rolling terrain is worth the green fee alone. Well done to the club for undertaking this very labour intensive task as the results are undoubtedly worth it.
Broadstone, in my opinion has the potential to advance itself quite dramatically up the rankings, however, it must be careful. I say that as some of the fairways were not at their best. I think it is to be applauded that the club wants to develop and amend holes or alter bunkers back to the original design. But, it must not lose sight of the condition to one of its core components. In their defence my host tells me that the club is only too aware of this and plans are in order to iron out the issue so I’m sure they will rectify this is due course.
On a positive note, all of the par 3’s at Broadstone are worthy of special mention - they are wonderful holes. It’s difficult to pick out a favourite but at a push I’d say mine is the 6th. The bunkers all seem to be placed perfectly and the green is none too deep. You need to hit a high mid-iron to hold this particular green, which is framed beautifully by trees as you stand on the tee. If you don’t end up on the green, getting up and down is tricky to say the least.
The remainder of the course continues to throw other superb golf holes at you. The 7th is a delight; especially the second shot which is pretty much all or nothing over a massive cross-bunker and expanse of purple heather. The 13th hole is another strong par 4 with a wide landing area for the drive. The approach to this heavily sloping green is particularly challenging. Make a birdie or par here and you can feel particularly pleased with yourself. Other good par 4’s can be found at the 2nd with its very tricky approach. Invariably your approach shot is from an uphill lie to a two-tier green sitting above you. Land short and the ball dies! Go long and there are bushes none too far from the back edge of the green. A testing hole to say the least! The 15th is another lovely hole. Its not too long but the view from the tee is splendid and the second shot to a green that sits out of view behind numerous cross-bunkers has to be well judged to finish close.
I always enjoy playing at Broadstone as it offers a wonderful variety of holes with superb views. Perhaps its only negative is the lack of a good par 5 on the back nine but that is being ultra critical. I’ve given Broadstone a 5-ball marking as I’m sure they will continue to take the course forward. Where there are problems, I know they’ll address them without delay. It is a course I always enjoy playing and on this occasion it was no different. Steve Searle
Date: August 24, 2014