Burnham & Berrow (Championship) - Somerset - England

Burnham & Berrow Golf Club,
St. Christopher's Way,
Burnham-on-Sea,
Somerset,
TA8 2PE,
England


  • +44 (0) 1278 785760

  • Golf Club Website

  • 1 mile N of Burnham-on-Sea

  • Handicap certificate required – contact in advance


“Hole succeeds hole, and still the endless range of hills goes on, and from the summit of each one we get the most lovely views, with the Cheddar Gorge in the distance; to the left the Bristol Channel, with the islands of Steep Holm and Flat Holm and an expanse of dim country on the other side. When we turn for home at the ninth, we see the sandhills stretching tumultuously away towards Weston, with their range of fantastic shapes and occasionally a narrow, meandering ribbon of turf in between.” Burnham in “Somersetshire” was a favourite course of Bernard Darwin, and so, it seems fitting to allow him to introduce Burnham & Berrow.

Burnham & Berrow Golf Club was founded in 1890 and soon after, they hired a youngster called J.H. Taylor. His task was to be the club’s first professional and keeper of the greens. One of the great triumvirate, Taylor went on to win the Open Championship five times.

Charles Gibson, professional at Royal North Devon, laid out the original rudimentary course for the members. According to the book by Phillip Richards, entitled Between the Church and the Lighthouse: “The development of the course took thirty years to reach today’s shape and just about every one of the leading course designers during that period had an input into the course architecture. Herbert Fowler and Hugh Alison were members of Burnham and both had an important part to play in improving the links. So to a lesser extent did Harold Hilton and Dr. Alister MacKenzie but the shape of today’s course is mainly due to Harry Colt.”

There is a church in the middle of the course and that in itself is unusual. Consequently over the years, changes have been made to the layout ensure that the faithful congregation does not get injured by wayward shots; additionally, some of the blind drives have been designed out.

Burnham is a traditional out-and-back links course and as per Darwin’s introduction, taken from his 1910 book, The Golf Courses of the British Isles, Burnham is “ringed round with sandhills”, gigantic ones too. It’s a challenging layout with the tumbling fairways laid out in narrow valleys, protected by deep pot-bunkers and thick rough. The greens are fairly small, requiring precision approach shots and once you are on the putting surface, the fun really begins. Burnham’s undulating, slick greens are amongst the very best in the British Isles.

There are many notable and varied holes at Burnham, with a strong collection of par threes. The first six holes are especially good and the back nine is magnificent. Burnham closes with a classic 18th, one of the best finishing holes in golf, a dogleg left over dunes and an intimidating long second shot across another ridge of dunes towards a green protected by deep threatening pot-bunkers.

Burnham has played host to many important amateur championships over the years and the course is regularly used for Open Championship qualification. A round at Burnham & Berrow is an absolute must for links purists and comparatively good value too for such a quality course in these times of escalating green fees.

Tom Doak made a point of replaying Burnham & Berrow (Championship) in 2016 and awarded the course a rating of six out of ten. He commented as follows in his Christmas 2017 Confidential Guide update:

“My one previous experience at Burnham was on a cold rainy day in the winter of 1982; however a recent return visit proved that I had seriously underestimated the course. The three opening par-4’s are a cracking start, with the approach to the punchbowl 3rd green one of the last remaining vestiges of the bold blind holes described by Bernard Darwin in 1910. The short 5th is one of the UK’s finest, and you would not be able to convince a soul walking off that green that it is in fact the easiest of the four par-3’s on the course. Some of the holes have a more modern feel, due to the water in play at the 6th through 8th and the very steep banks off the edge of the greens at the 13th and 14th. But my previous review that there aren’t any must-see holes was emphatically wrong: holes like the 11th and 15th were the reward for going back.”

If the above article is inaccurate, please let us know by clicking here

Write a review

Reviews for Burnham & Berrow (Championship)

Average Reviewers Score:
Description: Burnham & Berrow Golf Club has played host to many important amateur championships over the years and the course is regularly used for Open Championship qualification. Rating: 8.3 out of 10 Reviews: 62
TaylorMade
Scott Bowen
Burnham & Berrow's championship layout is a tremendous jaunt through the English sandhills, up, down, around, over and thru the hills, to be more specific. I must agree with previous reviewers in that the first 5 are splendid, then the course takes a different tack, with 3 flattish holes, then attacks the hills again all the way home. However, I differ in these respects. First, the 3 connecting holes seem to be just that, an excellent way for the architect to get you from the opening holes to the next piece of superb links land. Second, I don't feel these holes detract from the experience, or that they are weak holes in any way. Quite the contrary, they were the holes where I had the most difficulty, going thru them with 3 straight bogeys, and none of the 3 could be described as easy or a letdown in any way. They were just tough golf holes. That said, the opening 5 hole stanza was exceptional, and holes 9-18 were superb. One great, challenging hole after another, with only a few truly blind shots, and tremendous dunes all around you. The conditioning, especially of the greens, was as good as you will find anywhere in the world. The members I played with were delightful-a true pleasure to play with, and the beer at the end, while not as cold as an American would like, was excellent, as was the entire clubhouse experience. I rate this course a solid 5 balls, pushing toward 6. It's as good a links course experience as anyone could ask for.
August 17, 2014
8 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
1 person found this review helpful

Matthew Eckersley
I play B&B a couple of times a year and I have to admit that it has grown on me. On my first visit I allowed the poor holes (4th,5th, 7th & 8th) to define my experience as negative, however on reflection the glory of the other 13 (the 16th isn't great either!) rightly outshines these. It is narrow and requires some local knowledge to find the correct lines off the tee however it is a great test and one that I would thoroughly recommend if in the area.
August 07, 2013
6 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
1 person found this review helpful

Response
Phil
September 19, 2013
4th, 5th, 7th and 8th holes "poor" - many would beg to differ. Everyone has their opinion but, surely, the 5th is a simply fabulous par 3. It is tricky though.
James
The channel course at Burnham is probably the finest introduction to links Golf you will find, only nine holes but flanked on one side by Reed beds and the tidal sands the first four holes are very enjoyable. The returning holes through the dunes introduce rumpled fairways and give you a glimpse of the Championship course to come. The course was in good condition and felt very natural. We enjoyed it enormously. The Championship course has long been regarded as one of the Burnham & Berrow (Championship) Golf Course - Photo by reviewerfinest challenges in England and regularly hosts prestigious amateur tournaments. I can see why. We found it in Perfect Links condition. From the white tees it is formidable. Only the very best would cope with the Purple tees further back. The first six holes that take you out are nothing short of sublime. They are classic Links Holes that role over the tumbling fairways winding between massive dunes; they afford you far reaching views out to sea and the hills in land. Keep your eyes on the fairway though because it is never straight forward where you should be routing your ball. Pot Bunkers and deep, broad bunkers await the errant shot and the humps and hollows can steer your ball in directions you might not have foreseen and you will be reaching for your lob wedge to extricate yourself from the tangling feral grass or the well kept bunkers. There are stark elevation changes throughout the course and the topography here is something to behold as you play across glorious obstacles, valleys, ditches, a large lake and of course, Burnham & Berrow (Championship) Golf Course - Photo by reviewermassive sand hills. The Par fours here are varied, very pretty and nothing short of very challenging asking you to control the flight from different lies if you should be lucky enough to hit the fairway. The par 5’s offer some respite but one is 565 yards, plays slightly up hill and I suspect is more often than not in to wind. The par 3’s are a joy. Very pretty, well guarded and extremely enjoyable. The balance of the course is perfect. It seems the right challenge comes at the right time. The holes are varied and have plenty of room. You feel like you are in nature here in every regard. This is a rugged and robust challenge for the better player. You will need mental stamina and physical fitness to cope with it. It is a must play for the connoisseur and is the epitome of what Links golf is all about. Of the five courses we played this was probably the most complete challenge, an archetypal Links Titan. We stayed in the modest Dormy House which was extremely good value. Next stop Royal North Devon in the morning as part of the North Atlantic Links Trail that starts here, Just three hours from London. JCB LAY
August 07, 2013
8 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
3 people found this review helpful

Response
Professor Googleknoc
February 12, 2014
Couldn't agree more, I personally think this course is as good as all the Open courses, and the Channel course is the best 9 hole course in the country, sorry Royal Worlington.
Steve Roberts
July 10, 2014
B&B is always a delight to play. Worth it just for the views, but otherwise fabulous links golf. 18 individual holes - none are weak, and the course is always different because of the ever-present wind. Greens - fabulous, but really tricky to read. Par 3s are a real challenge, and if you dont think its tough enough - remember that the championship tees stretch the course to over 7000 yards (enough for anybody). There really isn't an 'easy' hole on the course. Even downwind/still, you have to keep your wits about you, and a wayward teeshot is a quick route to a double bogey or worse. Love it ;)
Vorndron
B&B is a real good, fair test of golf. Have to agree with previous reviews that some of the holes are average golf holes but the course has many true links holes which I loved. The greens were in excellent condition, a real good pace, not too quick but quick enough. The welcome from the pro shop and in the clubhouse was excellent, really friendly and helpful. Overall I really enjoyed the whole B&B experience.
August 04, 2013
8 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
1 person found this review helpful

Tony White
I have played all the Open courses and I feel qualified to state that Burnham is the equal to all of them. And I will add that I believe Burnham to be more fun and also at least as difficult as Lytham, which I think is the toughest Open challenge. Burrnham unquestionably has the best set of par 3's, possibly for any course in England. Simply, the most underrated course in England, the best course in England not to have held The Open. (sorry Saunton)
November 13, 2012
10 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
1 person found this review helpful

Response
thomas
November 13, 2012
The Championship Course at B&B is a really splendid course, full of varied and interesting holes and fabulously well conditioned. I love the place. But if you take the time to visit B&B you'll be selling yourself well short if you don't also play their 9-hole Channel Course. It's terrific, and more demanding than it first appears, especially if the wind is up. The first few holes run tight alongside the seaside marsh/rushes. The final few holes turn back inland and play over the dunes. The greens are generally small, quick and, particularly on the last few holes, are very undulating with severe drop-offs to the sides. I recommend you play it, it's great fun, well conditioned, a surprisingly good challenge and a great warm up before tackling the Championship Course.
Harrison Brown
January 07, 2013
Agree with Thomas about 9 hole course, we used it for warm up and it beat the living daylights out of us, we all agreed we would travel 70 miles from where we live to play on the Channel course all day. For £20 all day, Golf (worldwide) does not get better than this, and only two bunkers on the same hole, the par 5, which by the way is par 4 length at 475 yards, nearly always into the wind, Channel estuary on left and marsh on right, this hole would be the greatest par 4 in Open championship golf, the par 3 8th/17th trumps all Postage stamp type par 3's. The 2nd best course in Somerset.
Gerard Fancourt
Played yesterday, in very tough conditions. Howling gale and rain.Under those conditions, the course is very tough indeed, particularly the front nine. The short par three 5th, the 6th and the 8th required nerves of steel tee shots, setting the ball off way out left towards impossible rough, hoping that you had judged the wind well enough.The idea that the 6th, 7th and 8th are not good or tough holes is nonsense. They look out of character with rest of the course, but they are certainly good enough to be included in a really stern test.Wind conditions meant that the back nine was easier, although the 17th and 18th are a very severe finish.If I were to nominate a weak hole, it would be the 16th, which offers no real challenge.The greens were absolutely excellent, the clubhouse welcoming, the food very good. In my opinion Burnham and Berrow is severely underrated.
June 23, 2012
10 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful

Response
Tony
October 04, 2015
Surely every course must have at least one short par 4, and to say this particular hole is not a challenge is stretching it s bit, when you consider you've hopefully hung onto your score for 15 very tough holes. Now some respite as you hope for a birdie chance, OOB left deep cavernous bunker right and the wind, aiming at the OOB to hopefully avoid the bunker. And then the approach to a tough 2 tier green with all manner of slopes, this is a very challenging hole for its length and comes at a great point in the round. Don't bogey it for heavens sake!!
Sam Mendoza
Played Burnham & Berrow on 23rd January 2012 and it was in top condition! For £35 on the county card, it was an absolute steal. The Greens were running quick and true, exactly what you would hope for on a course ranked so highly in the rankings. As mentioned in previous reviews, the middle section of the course is little different to the rest, however this is largely due to a lack of dunes. I didn’t think it was bland at all, just different (even Saunton has a few holes like this). Most notable holes at Burnham would be the 1st, 13th, 14th and 17th. Each of these really epitomises everything you would want in links golf, undulating fairways, big bunkers and large greens. When comparing this course to others in the south west, I think Burnham is better and more enjoyable than Royal North Devon, but fall slightly short of the amazing experience that is Saunton (East). This course is well is well worth the trip!
January 24, 2012
10 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful

Andrew Whiteley
I played Burnham & Berrow on 6th January 2012. Holes 1 - 5 are top notch as are 12 - 18. These holes are reminiscent of Royal Birkdale, with huge dunes encapsulating the narrow fairways. I've had the good fortune to play some quality courses; Royal Birkdale, Royal Porthcawl, Woburn (all 3) Sunningdale Old and New, Celtic Manor 2010 (not fabulous course but maintained very well). I can say without reservation that the greens at B&B are without doubt the best I've ever had the pleasure of playing. Immaculate without a blemish, super slick and true. Not that there were but one single pitch mark would have stick out like a beacon such were the quality. Don't forget I played B&B on January! Fairways were well maintained and every old divot mark had been hand treated with soil. I loved the 3rd hole but the green is sunken and I couldn't see the pin as I knocked it through the fairway but some 20 yards off the tee. A longer flag stick wouldn't go a miss. Ok it's a pity but I have to mention holes 6,7,8,10 and 11. Holes 6,7, and 8 just seemed as though they belonged to another course completely. Rather parkland in appearance and dare I say it bland. I just played them and thought, "Oh dear that's a pity". 10 was the blindest tee shot I've ever hit launching a drive over a huge dune towards the marker post landing on a rather none descript fairway. 11 Another flat plain uninterested hole. 12 in was more of 1 - 5, top quality links, beautifully designed holes. If the entire course were all the same high quality holes, this course would undoubtedly be in the top 10 course in England. It was £50 winter green fee for 18 holes, I read that it has been increased to this price recently. A little pricey when you consider Royal Porthcawl a course rated 28th in UK & Ireland & 90th in the world by this site is £55. Then Saunton East course rated 11th in England and 30th in the UK and Ireland being £46 with a meal included. With B&B being 17th in England and 45th in the UK & Ireland. Overall a beautiful golf course the par 3s are exquisite 17 being my favourite. Some great views from the high tees. I would be proud if I was a member of is fine course. Well worth a visit. I'd mark it as a strong 7/10.
January 06, 2012
8 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
1 person found this review helpful

Response
JAS
January 07, 2012
Good review although perhaps a little harsh on holes 6-11 (I note that you left out 9 which I concur is a cracking par 3). The 6th is a strangely interesting hole which feels parkland off the tee but the approach to a very tricky green is pure links. 7 does feel parkland but it's a tough tough hole. 8 is a welcome birdie chance, this time the parkland/links contrast seems to be links left, parkland right. 10? come on every true links should have a bell hole. 11 is probably the blandest hole on the back 9...but then again given the quality and diversity of the other 8 that's no great criticism
El Gringo
January 08, 2012
I would disagree with this review. It is very difficult to name many great links which don't change in character as the round progresses and this should be viewed as a positive. A golf course, if it is to be considered top class, must have an individual rhythm and variety; the middle section (6-11) of Burnham is an important aspect in providing both. Once one becomes well versed in the flow of Burnham it is far easier to appreciate that every hole between #s6 and 11 add character which cannot be found elsewhere on the course.
timchump
January 17, 2012
I'm surprised a lot of people see the 6th as a poor hole. A 400 yard dog leg par 4, dunes running down the right handside, dunes on the left corner of the dog leg,a sloping green with a well positiosed bunker on the left and run off areas at the back the catch a lot people out. I think holes 6-11 are fine just adds to the variation in play, none of them are weak holes.
Nick L
January 17, 2012
Wholeheartedly agree with "timchump"..6 is a great hole; dog-leg, dune-framed, challenging but fair green. Likewise, 9 is a super par 3. Original review is somewhat harsh on holes 6-11. Wouldn't call 11 bland either. Tight drive and tight second with an undulating green..tees on right hand side (when in play) make it a more interesting angle on the drive admittedly.
Nick Rice
Burnham & Berrow is a true links of undoubted championship quality in terms of difficulty, condition, etc., and it rates higher than most in terms of its beauty and the stunning views from the elevated tees. The fact that the course was selected to host the Brabazon Trophy and the Bristish Boys Championship in 2011 is testament to how highly the Club is rated by the "powers that be". The Clubhouse is a little scruffy around the fringes but it is the course that counts here and there cannot be better value anywhere in the UK than Burnham & Berrow even though the green fees have been raised a fair amount this year - it was ludicrously cheap before. I visit Burnham & Berrow 2 or 3 times year and it always sets my pulse racing. If you are a connoisseur of quality golf, do yourself a favour and visit as soon as you can. PS Don't miss out on the really tough 9 hole course either!
August 19, 2011
10 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful

Response
M Brown
August 19, 2011
Good review. I played it a few years back and loved the course. Great stretch of holes heading for home. The clubhouse does give that scruffy appearance but hey you're here for the course first and foremost.
Tony White
Just a quick comment on some of the negative comments about Burnham. Holes 6,7,8 are now excellent golf holes after expert modification. All the bunkers are now comparable to any Open Championship venue, greens are still as good as can be, perfect pace and true as putting on marble. As for blind shots, the 3rd and 15th have sunken greens but the pins are still visible and the 10th is the only blind tee shot. other than these if you have a blind shot it is because the golfer is out of position. Burnham is agreat days golf and never disappoints. Since the modifications, I think it should move up at least 10 places in any Rankings magazine.
August 03, 2011
10 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful