Burnham & Berrow has everything. And I mean that. It has everything. A beautiful clubhouse and a great practice area, views out to the Severn Estuary, rolling lumpy fairways, large undulating greens, big imposing dunes - sometimes you go over them, sometimes you go in between them, doglegs, short and long par threes, tempting par fives, strong bunkering, raised tees, both sunken and elevated greens, not one but two monument backdrops (a church and a lighthouse), lots of variation and excellent conditioning. Yet I’ve played here twice now and I just can’t fall in love with the place.
I’ve been beaten to shreds on both visits, making a mockery of my single figure handicap. There’s no doubting Burnham is beautiful, but it’s just brutal. Go offline and your ball can be buried in thick, punishing rough - width and angles is not a concept that was invented at Burnham. Without repeating too much of the reviews that have gone before me, holes 1 to 5 and 14 to 18 play through the best of the dunes whilst you associate the holes in between with flatter wetland areas, although new dunes are in the process of being constructed on the 12th. The short 9th however is in a class of its own and breaks up this slightly inferior stretch, but then again, all of the par threes at Burnham are very strong.
Some of the fairway mowing lines such as those at 10 and 15 are a little odd as they seem to favour the shorter hitter and steer you away from what I felt was the ideal line, but this is made up for by the excellent threes and 14 and 17 as well as the superb green site at 16.
Like a well beaten boxer that’s had a couple of standing eight counts and is being held up by the ropes in the final round, the walk down the 18th is one that can leave you feeling slightly bruised and battered and thankful to be back at the clubhouse. Yet when I played the other week in bright sunshine, I looked behind myself on the final green to see the beautiful links ground over which I’ve just played and scratched my head. Maybe I’ll have fun next time? Maybe my game is just not good enough? Still a bloody good course though.
Date: July 24, 2020