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4 miles N of Poole
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Originally known as the Dorset Golf Club, Lord Wimborne founded Broadstone in 1898 and Tom Dunn designed the course. “Broadstone is, I think, rather an easy course to remember,” wrote Bernard Darwin, in his 1910 book, The Golf Courses of the British Isles, “which is the same as saying that the holes have each got very definite characters of their own; at any rate, although I have seen them but once, I can play them all quite clearly in my mind’s eye, save only the park holes, which, truth to tell, are not much worth remembering.” Harry Colt was later commissioned to redesign Broadstone, utilising a glorious tract of heathland to the west of the railway line to build seven new holes. Thus, Broadstone became a quintessential heathland course and little has changed since.
The course is laid out on glorious rolling terrain. The elevated homeward nine provides panoramic views of the Purbeck Hills and Poole Harbour. Measuring 6,315 yards from the back tees and 5,467 yards from the forward tees, Broadstone is not a championship layout. Having said this, a number of important amateur tournaments have been held here – including the English Women’s Amateur (1929, 1973, 2010), The Women’s Amateur (1951) and Women’s Home Internationals (1951) – testing some of the very best golfers. And although Broadstone cannot offer length from the tee, it can offer beauty, with profusion of heather, gorse, birch and pines.
“I feel entirely at peace with Broadstone,” wrote Darwin, “which has some really fine holes, and is as pleasant a spot to play golf in—as breezy, and pretty, and quiet—as anyone could desire.”
Was looking forward to playing this in a recent open. More undulation than I was expecting and a good solid walk. Not many standout holes although the par 3s are all strong if not a little similar. Hit the green in 2 at SI1 7th but a poor hole where any drive not finding the left side of the fairway and short of the mound leaves a shot with no options as my 3 playing partners found out. Bunkers full of stones and light on sand while wider course presentation solid but nothing special. Big undulating and testing greens were reasonably true but surprisingly slow, particularly for a comp. Layout not as good as Blackmoor or Isle of Purbeck, and condition reasonable but short of expectations for a top100. I came away distinctly underwhelmed but the food in the clubhouse was excellent.
Personally I felt this was a course that either had fantastic holes or then had ordinary holes. I think when the course was built it would have been way up there in the rankings but sadly you feel that the land and equipment available at the time has now compromised the course against the more modern ones built.
All the par 3's were excellent , but all the par 5's were mundane at best.
Some great par 4's but then some ordinary ones.
Greens were very slopey and quick and the flags on the days we played were nothing short of evil and placed on tops of slopes that meant usually an 8 footer back.
Too many uphill shots onto greens where you couldn't see the bottoms of the pins also.
The course is traditional Harry colt design, in my view could be made out of this world with serious money spent, but as it is I would say a good day out but not one that will last overly long in the memory.
“We’ve been coming here 50 years,” chuckled the old-timer after his group had teed off ahead of us and we wished them an enjoyable round.
What a joy. Five decades of playing Broadstone – a course which is so memorable it is difficult to imagine ever tiring of it.
My only previous experience of this great sport in Bournemouth was as a child – at the crazy golf of the Winter Gardens near Boscombe Pier and pitch and putt of Tucton Bridge and Hengistbury Head.
I mused at how my proficiency on both forms of the game had helped the strategy around this top 100 course.
Well, certainly skill at pitching and putting is central to a good score at Broadstone.
Every hole sticks in the mind and requires a dead-eye short game to avoid deep bunkers and gorse and a hot putter on greens which have the subtlest of borrows.
And, yes, there is a bit of crazy golf too – in the shape of the controversial 7th hole, the like of which I have not previously encountered on my top 100 travels.
Broadstone is certainly not stuffy. We were happily accommodated for a round at the start of a long weekend golfing in Dorset and several people offered cheery greetings as we prepared to play.
No wonder the folk are happy – Broadstone puts a smile on the face from the first hole until the last.
The opener is a short par five which sets a pattern of tee shots over gorse before a decision is made about whether to clear a ditch and bunker to go for the green in two.
Being a cowardly golfer, I opted for a lay-up and chip and then discovered that the green was not quite as tame as it looked.
The 3rd is one of several holes with an elevated tee, giving a precursor to the amazing views at Broadstone.
It is a lovely-looking downhill par four which again needs carry before requiring an attack over quite a large pond.
The short fifth is a gem – bigger hitters than me will go for the green but I was pleased to belt my ball over the intimating array of bunkers in the middle of the fairway only for it to find its way into one on the right.
The sixth par three has a gorse valley in front of a green on the side of the hill. I was thrilled to find the dancefloor only to three-putt.
The 13th is a cracking par four – which bends from right to left with a hollow and a chasm of a bunker protecting the target. Well, it seemed ruddy enormous to me as I took two shots to extricate myself.
The 14th is probably my pick of the holes. Looking down on the fairway from the tee on a gorgeous summer afternoon, prompted echoes of the Algarve, thanks to the light sand in the many traps and the way the hole drops, ascends and curves.
I met the tamest of deer as I was preparing my opening to the 17th – another sublime hole which drops down to a green, protected by a ditch and bunkers.
I have reserved my thoughts on the 7th until last.
As I child in Bournemouth, I played lots of crazy golf and was taken to many comedy shows. I reckon before he designed this hole, Harry Colt must have done the same.
There is a sign before the tee which warns that neither of the fairways are visible when approaching them.
Neither? Yep. The first shot is over a gorse-riddled ridge onto even land but the second shot is the killer because if it is hit straight, the chances are that it will go into another layer of gorse because the slither of fairway is in a valley down to the left.
The green is on high, protected by the inevitable deep traps.
I could say that prior knowledge is a prerequisite to success but Mrs W would disagree. It is a par 5 for ladies, and she nailed a 50ft putt to claim glory.
So, yes, we loved Broadstone but there are a couple of slightly negative points worth mentioning. Namely, that the greens were surprisingly slow, presumably because of the deluge of rain we have had over the past month and some of the fairways were not as pristine as expected, probably for the same reason.
The 16th has suffered most and overseeding has taken place but I’m afraid the seagulls were enjoying the feast.
I thought the condition might have caused a rethink in the hefty £105 green fee although, to be fair, there are cheaper times to play than a Friday.
Nevertheless, Broadstone was a real pleasure.
A very, very nice Harry Colt layout. At around 6,400yds, it's a bit on the short side - but with the prevailing wind and usual fast running heath land layout, this is a very challenging course.
No fake scores to be had here, I'm afraid. This a a stern but fair test. Standout holes for me:
Short par-4 5th - really nice risk and reward driveable par-4.
Stunning par-3 6th - getting on the green is the start of your problems!
Controversial par-4 7th - sublime 2 shotter.
Really clever par-3 8th - became a firm favourite over time with the ridge running diagonally across the green front from left to right.
Classic long par-4 13th - two quality strikes (like the 7th) to hit this one in regulation.
I say controversial 7th due to the differing opinions I see on reviews.
For me, it's a fantastic hole using the natural terrain. I've hit everything from 7-iron to 3-wood into the green. The feeling of hitting it in regulation and making a 4 is what makes it great.
And what's not to like about the approach shot into the 16th? Stunning with a slippery green - a strong par-4.
I've always liked the 17th. Visually pleasing elevated tee shot with copse of trees pinching in on the right and angled trees and gorse on the left.
So many options and when protecting a good score, it offers a birdie chance, or triple bogey chance depending on how you decide to try and play it.
18th is a little underwhelming as a finish (16th would be a better finishing hole) but still a challenge, and the par-5's are both a little weak lengthwise.
But you'll struggle to find 4 finer par-3's than the 6th, 8th, 11th and 15th on any golf course anywhere! Colt classics.
Until Remedy Oak came along - this was definitely the best course in Dorset in my opinion (see Remedy Oak review). I used to think Parkstone was the prettiest, Broadstone the toughest and most rewarding and Ferndown usually the one in best condition. Remedy has shaken things up a bit and offers a length the others can't complete with.
But Broadstone is still a must-play if you're a fan of Harry Colt, or want to play quality golf in Dorset. It has history and a class of its own.
One of the prettiest golf courses I have played. Every hole was a visual delight. Played the course in September, conditioning was good.
A thoroughly enjoyable day out with friends. Warm welcome in the club house.
The only reason this course doesn't get a better rating from me is that it was just a little short to give it some teeth and for it to challenge a little further up the top 100 list, however I am sure it plays longer in the winter.
Well worth a visit. Thanks for the memories.
An unbelievable golf course for many reasons...layout, views, playability, the challenge each hole brings...I could go on and on!
Greens were slightly disappointing but if you put a 10/10 green on this course it would be top 5 in the world!
You MUST play this course if you are a fan of golf!
What a stunning course, well worth the high visitor green fees. The front 9 are spectacular with elevated views across the rest of the county. A stunning inland heathland course, definitely worth a drive out to play.
Broadstone is quite an undulating open heathland course. I particularly like the first six holes which provide plenty of variety, including the delighful par 3 at hole 6. Then there is the 7th, a real tough hole and stroke index 1; there seems to be some divided opinion on this hole and I fall into the category that doesn't like it, although I suspect this maybe because I have never got to grips with tee shot placement. Holes 10-15 are another fine stretch of holes (and it is here where Broadstone reminds me a bit of Notts Hollinwell), with 14 a cracker of a tee shot. Holes 16-18 don't quite live up to the remainder of the course and 18 doesn't provide the finish you are looking for.
Comparison is always made with Parkstone and Ferndown. I have played all three courses probably three or four times and have generally found Broadstone to be a bit behind the others in terms of condition and presentation, and personally I would go for Parkstone at 1 and Ferndown at 2. I haven't yet played Remedy Oak.
Broadstone is a big course in a number of ways. First it has elevation, second it has views, third it has space and fourth, despite having only two par fives it has long holes. An excess of yards is not all that’s needed for a course to be big.
It was the fourth course I recently played in Dorset. Even though it’s the one I played least well it’s the one I can remember best. In fact I don’t think it has any bad holes, perhaps one or two are less good than the best, but the best are really stellar.
The course starts with the gentle par 5, though how many golfers actually warm up properly so as to take advantage of the easy opening hole? 2 and 3 go up and down and are parkland in flavour; the latter has a new, very pretty but slightly incongruous pond defending the green. The real climb onto the heathland starts with 4, a nasty dog-leg left that forces accuracy from both your drive and your approach.
5 is the first of the pretty holes. Stroke index 18 it may be but the drop below the tee and cross bunkers demand a decent drive, with further bunkers left and right demanding direction. 6 is a delightful short hole played uphill to a green protected by heather fringed bunkers. And then 7. It’s one of the best holes I’ve played, ever. I’ve never played a hole with two hidden fairways and a visible green. I’ve played holes with long carries, but never one that offers you into a fairway hidden in a deep gully 50 yards in front of the green. It’s not SI 1 for nothing.
8 is a long par 3 with deep bunkers front right to protect against the slice;
par is a relief here. 9 is actually flat, but on the highest ground so most exposed to the wind. It’s not long, but as it’s usually into the wind it’s no easy birdie or par opportunity.
I wasn’t quite so taken with 10 and 11, but 12 takes you nicely back up hill and for one ever the fairway is a bowl encouraging your drive to the middle. 13 is another splendid hole, inviting you to launch away with your driver and then daring you to take on the gully front left. Get it right and joy awaits, get it wrong and it’s a heather strewn waste and a horrible chip shot. In addition the hole will usually be played into with the wind, so club selection can be a difficult choice.
14 to 17 all come with elevated drives, two are broadly uphill par 4s, one is a downhill par 4 taking you back towards the club house. 15 is the final par 3, a long downhill shot to a big green. 18 is back on the flat, not a great hole but a nice finish.
There are some things not to like. Too many fairways are still in a bad way following last year’s drought. The green were very spongy and not at all quick. And the kitchen was closed at 4pm on a Wednesday. But the scenery and the routing are wonderful. If you are there and can play it do.
Ironically, I think that the 7th is easily the worst hole on the course, and I know more people (members included) that agree rather than disagree
There should always be room for healthy disputation on golf course reviews. I think the seventh is good because:
It’s stroke index 1 and so should be a tough hole. It requires two properly good shots to get on the green in two. But if you choose to play it as a par 5 it also requires three good shots. It’s not three 7 irons. Your second shot has to be precise to the ravine fairway and your third is then up out of the ravine to a green high up. So played as a par 4 and as a par 5 you have to be right with all your shots. It’s also very attractive. Together that’s what makes it a great hole.
I’m sure we’ll friendlily disagree, but those are my views.
Agree that’s the benefit of this site and opinions.
I just can’t see how a hole that requires you to aim in the rough to keep it on the fairway can be seen as a good hole. The second shot I agree is fantastic but the tee shot is appalling
Day 3 of Dorset tour...... great course with some excellent holes. When we played it didn't seem in the very best of condition BUT sure it brushes up nice and it was still good. Interesting and challenging terrain. We all scored less here than at Remedy Oak yesterday and Parkstone the day before, as they are longer and with more ball losing opportunities, but as a low teens handicapper Parkstone remains the course I would want them revisit or be a member at.
My personal ranking in Dorset would be Parkstone first, Broadstone second and Remedy Oak third.
To be as frank as I can, for a 10-15 handicapper Parkstone is the best of the three. The lower your handicap the more you will enjoy here and Remedy Oak.