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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.”
There are so many stunningly beautiful, but great golf holes on this course. Lets start with the par 3’s, all great short holes and each demanding an accurate iron. The first par 3 is the 6th which is a visually rewarding shot to a narrow elevated and well guarded green. We played it as a 150yard hole and got great satisfaction “nailing” a 7 or 8 iron to the heart of the green. The remaining 3 short holes are all demanding and need longer iron shots solidly struck to well guarded greens. The 9th is quintessentially heathland and needs a 200yard carry to reach the plateau. We also enjoyed the 11th, a shot across a slight valley to a tight two tiered green. The final par 3 comes at the 15th, so each are well spaced through the round, and this gives you a chance to again hit a 200 yard iron, but from an elevated tee to a distant green.
Other than the 18th which I have mentioned I enjoyed all the par 4’s but for hugely varied reasons. In terms of tough signature holes the 7th is a shinning example – part blind tee shot leaving approx. a 200 yard carry to the green. Broadstone is also a great exponent of the elevated tee shot with the 3rd, 14th and 17th the pick of the bunch. Broadstone has its share of tight demanding holes as well with the 10th lying in wait to spoil the start to a back nine card. We also enjoyed the 5th hole, only 270 yards long but a great risk and reward hole for those who can drive a long ball and keep it straight.
We found Broadstone in lovely condition, the tee on the 1st tells you that this course is well cared for. All the greens are excellent putting surfaces. We also found the club to be very friendly and welcoming and teed off with several members in front and behind. We were amazed at the pace of play, fourballs speeding round in 3 hrs 15mins! Some would contend whether this is as good as anything Surrey or Berkshire has to offer, but on closer inspection of its credentials we concluded that this is a truly great golf course and worthy of being "badged" as one of the best. IMO if you want Heathland, Broadstone and Notts are the best that England has to offer. Ian Henley