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: 8.2 out of 10 Reviews: 74
TaylorMade
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 18, 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 02, 2011
10 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

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

Max Monroe
I don't see what all the fuss is over Burnham & Berrow. There are about 8 holes that resemble Birkdale but that is about it. There about 5 holes that just need to be blown up and rebuilt. The greens were average for a seaside course in May. There is potential for this course to get a lot better. Either way a nice place to play, traditional links, good fun, difficult course, not a must play but recommended.
July 23, 2011
4 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

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

Response
Tony
May 31, 2012
I'm sorry, you are reviewing Burnham and Berrow here, are'nt you, you've lost me. Not a must play? Could have potential? Apart from The Open courses and Saunton, all other Links courses are only the equal of B & B, and to be quite honest I enjoyed B & B as much as The Open courses. This course has reached it's potential and cannot be improved upon, I don't know where YOU go from here.
Tom
September 03, 2013
I am always amazed at the comments about 'bland' holes on this course! When the Brabazon was held here in 2011 the 'bland' holes were amongst the most difficult (6,7 & 11) The 16th though short with plenty of space to land the ball off the tee has one of the most devilish greens! I would defy most players to be in the wrong level and take 2 putts regularly! If the wind blows off the Bristol Channel then the experience is completely different! As to resembling Birkdale!? Most of the Army players playing Royal Birkdale in the Army Championship thought that Hillside was a better course - I would rather play at B & B
Jeff Brown
Played B&B in early July 2011. A classic links course on a beautiful piece of land. One of the most startling things to me was the course is narrow, very narrow. This is not a generous landing area course and I feel for the people who play in tough conditions. Thoroughly enjoyed the round and give the course high marks and compared favorably to Royal Porthcawl, played later on the trip.
July 20, 2011
6 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

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

Cédric
Everything has pretty much been said about this great course in the previous reviews, so I'll just add my 2 cents to the only topic that seems to make debate: holes 6-8. I too thought they were weak compared to the rest of the course. Not that they are bad holes, they are just not as good as the rest of the course in my opinion. But that doesn't really detract from the joy of playing this great course, let's be honest. Highly recommended. Cedric
April 13, 2011
8 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

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

Response
Tom Briggs
September 02, 2011
It is interesting to note the Brabazon statistics for the so called 'Weak' holes. #6 was, on average, the most difficult (4.8), #7 was the joint second most difficult (4.5) and #8 played exactly to par (5.0)
Brock
November 23, 2011
Tough scoring holes do not always make great golf holes. I thought #6 is a very good hole, but #7 & #8 (as well as #11 & #12) are not at the same level as the rest of the course. Cedric is correct...great golf course with a few average holes. It is not a matter to be miffed about. I would play this course every chance I got if I lived within a few hours.
Dennis Slattery
Our group included four couples from southern California who ventured to Cornwall and Devon in May 2010. B&B was the last course we played, after Trevose, Saunton (East & West), St Enodoc and RND. B&B exceeded our expectations. A classic links played in a brisk wind. Off the beaten track, the course deserves a higher reputation. We stayed in the Dormy house and had a great reception. The club was closed for dinner for the members, but the chef and servers stayed to cook for us. They went the extra mile.
July 07, 2010
10 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

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

Response
El Gringo
November 25, 2011
#7 is a subtle hole which takes some thought to play properly. Most don't pay attention to the effect of the ridge running from near the tee all the way through the green. Its also a good change of pace from the previous holes running through the dunes. For those hoping to reach the green in two, #8 features a thrilling drive and as good a second as will be encountered anywhere. #11 has a fantastic grade level green with a seamless transition between fairway and putting surface. When the hole is located to the rear of the green this is a very interesting hole asking the golfer to risk playing pin high and missing either direction. #12 is a no bones tough par 4 which signals a return to the dunes. No matter if one is hitting wedge or wood, the approach is a cause for concern.
Brock Lynch
Played Burnham & Berrow twice in mid June. This is rugged links golf. There are many very good holes with blind shots to spare. The best holes have the most rolling and heaving fairways and the par 3's are very good requiring the best of iron play. The first six holes are as good as it gets with the exception of #4 and the last six are very good as well. We stayed at the dormy accomodation, which I highly recommend. The staff and members at Burnham & Berrow were friendly and welcoming. I will make this note; my friends are not the lovers of links golf that I am. They did not list this course (compared to Saunton, St. Enodoc, Tenby, Pennard, Royal Porthcawl) as one of their favorites on this trip. I think Burnham & Berrow should not be missed. It is a fine example of links golf. There are a great many good links golf holes here and good accomodations right at the club. This course should not be missed if your are in the area or are considering a trip to Wales as it is only a bit out of the way from London.
July 07, 2010
8 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

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

Carl Statham
Played this on Wednesday and it was a classic dry brown links. The course is eclectic in that the back half of the front nine is more on the estuary than the dunes. But it is a truly great fun links course with some immense dunes and some very dramatic holes with greens tucked in hollows and tees perched on high dunes. One thing though the legendary greens were not that good. Very variable, reasonably slow and bumpy. I can only presume the dry year has caused them problems and the green keepers were spraying all the greens when we were there. Although pretty traditional they are a welcoming club and have the best opening and closing links holes I have played. The par threes are all very special holes of varying lengths as well. It is actually very easy to get to being just 2 miles off the M5 south of Bristol so I am not sure where the out of the way tag comes from. Try in comparison getting to Rye, Littlestone, Deal or Hayling Island
July 01, 2010
8 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

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

Tony White
Great winter course, even better in the summer. As everyone agrees, the greens are always in the best possible condition, whatever the time of year. Is it possible for somebody on the Golf World Top 100 panel to explain why Burnham is so low in the rankings, it's on a par with Saunton and Royal Porthcawl, but is always so much lower. Surely for the golf lover it is more enjoyable to play here than a lot of the higher rated inland courses, not that I'm knocking them in anyway, who doesn't love a day at the best heathland courses, but Links is the best, and Burnham is definately that, surely it is a Top 30 British course, and only gets beat by Open Championship courses and the likes of Ganton, Woodhall, Sunningdale, The Berkshire and Walton Heath in the inland stakes, and this is open to debate. On a plus side, where as all the other courses are charging well in excess of £100 (bar Saunton) Burnham is still only £65ish, which represents the best value golf on the golfing planet. If you haven't played Burnham, there is a big hole in your golfing diary. This course is good enough to hold an Open, even if the space doesn't allow it.
May 10, 2010
10 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

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

Response
Keith Baxter
May 11, 2010
An interesting review… I don’t normally comment on course reviews but I think Burnham is perhaps positioned accordingly due to its out on a limb location, a bit like Silloth on Solway and Castletown. However, there is a difference between out on a limb and remote locations. Machrihanish for example is perhaps positioned in the rankings according to its romantic remoteness on Kintyre but, I hasten to add, it’s also a fine links course. You also raise a point “surely Burnham is a Top 30 British course” and here lies a topic for interesting debate. The term British does not include the people from Ireland but politically it does include the people from Northern Ireland, but that too perhaps depends on which Northern Irish person you ask. Anyway, Nobody to my knowledge has ever produced a ranking list for the top golf courses of the United Kingdom and therefore the list I’ve created on this link may be interesting. I’ve basically removed all courses from the Republic of Ireland and Castletown on the Isle of Man as we can safely say that these countries are not part of the UK. Scanning down the list seems to suggest to me that there are other courses in the same boat as Burnham. Finally I don’t expect you will ever get an “official” response from anyone on the Golf World ranking panel. They tend to hide behind their glossy covers. Keith Baxter - Editor
Bobo
Just returned from Burnham rather battered and bruised by one of the best links courses I have ever had the privilidge of playing.The course is classed as links but the turf didnt really play like a true links. Was much greener and softer than most links courses I have played but it was still a fantastic challenge.The greens are without doubt the best I have ever played on. At my local driving range there is an astroturf putting area and the greens at Burnham were on a par with that, they are that good!!The 5th and 14th are amongst the toughest par 3's I have ever played. Long irons into small undulating greens surrounded by bunkers - fantastic.Without doubt, I will be returning again next year- SUPERB!
May 03, 2010
8 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

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