Isle of Purbeck (Purbeck) - Dorset - England

Isle of Purbeck Golf Club,
Corfe Road,
Studland,
Swanage,
Dorset,
BH19 3AB,
England


  • +44 (0) 1929 450354

The vista from the Isle of Purbeck golf course is breathtaking, for the course is positioned on a high heathland plateau and the 360-degree panorama continually interrupts one’s concentration of the game at hand. To the south across the Solent is the Isle of Wight, to the east across Poole Bay is Bournemouth, to the north across Poole harbour is Brownsea Island and Poole Harbour beyond and lying to the west, the Purbeck Hills. If there is a golf course where you could drag your non-golfing partner along, this is it. He or she will be more than happy to drink in the views.Enid Blyton with her husband Dr. K. Darrell-Waters

Whilst this is seaside golf, this is not links golf; Isle of Purbeck Golf Club is set in a heathland nature reserve, decorated with a profusion of gorse, heather, rare flora and fauna. The club was founded way back in 1892 and was modified at the turn of the 20th century by one of the all time great architects, Harry Colt. Enid Blyton and her husband once owned the Isle of Purbeck Golf Club and no doubt the surroundings inspired her writings.

We won’t place Isle of Purbeck in the “championship” category. For a start, the course measures less than 6,300 yards from the medal tees. On the other hand, we won’t dismiss it as holiday golf either because the challenge is significant. As we have already mentioned, the course plays on high ground and is fully exposed to the winds. There are four long par fours and a collection of extremely challenging par threes. More importantly, you’ll need to keep the ball out of the gorse and heather.

Bournemouth is not necessarily regarded as the most popular location for a serious golfing break, but there are some fantastic courses to be played, including Broadstone, Ferndown and Parkstone. We think though that the Isle of Purbeck is one of the best golf courses in Dorset. The view from the Isle of Purbeck’s elevated 5th tee is worthy of the green fee by itself; it’s one of the most scenic tee shots in the whole of the British Isles.

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Reviews for Isle of Purbeck (Purbeck)

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Description: The vistas from the Isle of Purbeck are breathtaking, for the golf club is positioned on a high heathland plateau and the 360-degree panorama continually interrupts one’s concentration. Rating: 6.2 out of 10 Reviews: 35
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Mark

The views are stunning for sure.I played yesterday on a nice sunny and slightly windy day but conditions were fantastic to be fair. What a real treat. Complete peace and tranquility over looking the sea. A really tricky course but completely satisfying and worth a trip. Very friendly welcome on arrival despite being nearly 20 mins late!

August 31, 2020
7 / 10
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Freddie

With the isle of purbeck it is very much a course you go to play once in order to experience the excellent views that the club has to offer and then not go back again. The course overlooks the entire city of bournemouth leaving some absolutely exceptional views, the best of course being on the 5th tee which is arguably the best it gets in terms of attractiveness of a golf hole. The tee boxes were quite rough and the fairways were not too green or well kept. The greens are also unfortunately not the best and were quite sandy and bumpy but with the location of the golf course it rules out the green keepers use of certain machinery and chemicals which is a real shame. There are some holes which are really interesting and enjoyable and then there are others that leave you a bit uninspired. The opening 4 holes are below average golf holes and it doesn't help that the condition of the place is quite shoddy.

Holes like 5, 9, 10 and 11 are all great holes with a bit of character to them and there are a few decent holes on the back nine but many are quite average. In the winter the place is a total bog and I've heard from various people that it's not even worth paying a penny to play the course between November and March. However in the summer it is an enjoyable round on a beautiful golf course that can be a tough test if you're not able to keep the ball straight.

August 06, 2020
4 / 10
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Adrian
August 24, 2020

This review is spot on. No point keeping score at Purbeck really, given the bad conditioning and bad design of many holes. There's almost no grass at all left on the fairways, and too much grass on the greens, which are very slow. The 5th is very scenic but as another review said - you can hit a perfect shot and it will still kick your ball left into the gorse because of the fairway slope and firmness. Definitely not a top 100 course, but still scenic and worth visiting once.

David Smith

The anticipation of playing a “top 100” course disappeared very quickly. The fairways have lost much of their grass, presumably due to a lack of rain / inability to fertilise and as a result were very patchy, requiring preferred lies. But far worse are the greens which were shockingly poor - apparently due to disease but very bumpy and incredibly slow. No real point trying to putt sensibly at all.

As with previous reviews it all seems quite sad. The layout of the course and views demonstrate why the course has been held in such esteem. The club also seems steeped in history.

Avoid for a while until until the course conditions return, but based on my experience today that may be some time. I hope one day to play IoP as it should be played.

July 25, 2020
3 / 10
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Gareth Hughes

This was a course i'd wanted to play for a long time but I think it maybe the last time. Unfortunately the fairways were gone and the greens were almost in maintenance mode. The scenery is truly unbelievable with the views over the harbour and the holes are a great mix of blind tees shots, elevated greens and rugged terrain. My fear is though the course has not been maintained and will never come back. The staff were very welcoming as were the members we spoke to.

June 12, 2020
4 / 10
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David Oliver
July 17, 2020

I played on 15 July and can only echo the sentiments of this reviewer. There is an overwhelming sense of sadness when a really good golf course has lost its way - there was no grass on the fairways and the greens were also unfortunately very poor. I really hope the course can recover but it may take some time (some holes may have to close for a period), and Covid means that resources are stretched at this time. As I say, it's a good course and despite the condition, I enjoyed the round and the scenery is wonderful. There are a couple of outstanding holes on the course namely the dog leg left to right par 4, 5th with some dunes to carry on the tiger line, the very scenic short par 3, 9th where the purple heather was prominent and the downhill par 3, 11th. In fact the set of par 3s is of a high standard. To conclude, I am truly hoping that the course can find the conditioning it deserves.

Mike Cuin
July 24, 2020

I played this course in July 2020 and agree with this review. I have played and enjoyed the course many times over many years, but can only say how sad it is now for the course to be in such poor condition. most of the fairways have no grass and need a complete renovation and the greens are heading in the same direction. It needs a lot of money spending on it to return it to former standards. I spoke to a member who said the problems have been caused by poor weather conditions for peaty soil, and the lease of the land from the National Trust does not grant permission to use fertilisers anywhere on the course. In its current state it is a great place for a walk and to enjoy the majestic views. As regards golf, maybe enjoyable as a throwback to a time when courses were first created.

David Baxter
July 27, 2020

Returned in July 2020 and have to agree with all the June and July reviews and comments. Not sure if there is another course where I have such mixed emotions trying to balance layout/interest against condition.

Andrew

First thing to say is this is an incredibly welcoming golf club from the professional in pro shop who offered a refund for one of our group who couldn't carry to the friendly club members who were only too happy to talk about the course and the welcoming team in the wonderful club house which has one of the most spectacular views all the way to Poole. Considering the recent weather the course was in wonderful shape and a credit to the green keeping staff. There are some great holes, the par 3s are not excessively long but each presents a different challenge and the blind dogleg 5th is a cracker. Myself and my partner will definitely back in the summer to test ourselves again.

February 16, 2020
9 / 10
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Robert Butlin

Isle of Purbeck is a bit like a stylish uncle whose clothes and manner still reek class, but whose clothes are a bit threadbare. It does have the best views I’ve had on a golf course, it does have some standout holes: but it does also have average greens and some drought ravaged fairways.

It’s also by no means easy. Played off the whites there are some decent length forced carries, especially on 6, 11, 12 and (I think) 15. Everyone raves about 5, and it is magnificent from the tee, but I thought six snaking back up the hill was its equal; it’s a proper tough hole played against the prevailing wind requiring a good drive to avoid the bunker and then solid second and third shots.

As for the condition the main issue was the fairways, which were bone hard and very scruffy. With significant slopes stopping the ball was in some places impossible, a playing colleague hacked out of a bunker on the 6th wandered forwards and had to be directed back down the course as the ball was behind him.

But we had a lovely welcome and played a course like few others. I’d go back there, and take others. Not sure my golf is good enough to be a member.

September 19, 2019
6 / 10
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W

I had the pleasure of playing Isle of Purbeck this week and there are several points I would like to make. Some as a direct result of playing it and some from reading previous reviews.

The course geography is part of the Jurassic Coast, so high up and not far from the sea. As a result the wind was, and is likely always, a big factor. The wind not only affects the ball in the air but also dries the fairways out, so in the summer the ground is very firm and dry. Indeed there are many shots where stopping the ball is the primary concern. I don't see it as my place to criticise the course for this - the club is over a hundred years old - simply play it as it is. However I do find these conditions concentrate the golfers mind to really consider where the ball is going to go, and how it will react in the wind and bounce. To me this is part of what makes a good course. In this respect it has similarities to Aldeburgh, although not as long and also the greens are flatter.

A pair of holes that stands out are 13th and 14th - by no means signature holes, they are two straight par fours of equal length in opposite directions. One played down wind and the other into the wind. The interest is in discovering that different style shots and strategy can work for each. Recalling these I can think of another test of a good course - would I play it again? In a heartbeat, and what's more I'd play many of the holes completely differently.

July 19, 2019
7 / 10
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Ross Crick

The views from the Isle of Purbeck Golf Course of Poole Harbour and surrounding areas are stunning and the old world clubhouse is a treat.

The course itself however was just not my cup of tea in any way, shape or form. The conditioning of most of the course was extremely poor and the greens average. There were hardly any memorable holes apart from maybe the 5th and even that Isle of Purbeck (Purbeck) Golf Course - Photo by reviewer irked me. Because the fairway was so hard, good tee shots could be punished by running off to the left into the gorse and having an unplayable lie. The approach shot was also to a thin, rock hard green with steep run offs and all four of us blobbed the hole in varying ways. I just don't think golf should entail that good shots are punished and there were far too many holes like that at Purbeck when the course is really firm.

Its a shame as I was really looking forward to playing there but just came away with not enjoying the course and being disappointed by the conditioning and a layout that just didn't suit my eye. Although there are plenty of elevation changes, I didn't find the course fun or interesting unlike some people have done.

July 09, 2019
3 / 10
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David Baxter

First thing you notice as you swing into the carpark at Isle of Purbeck are the views of Brownsea Island, Poole harbour, down the coast to Bournemouth at beyond. Just stunning !

Course is not bad either with an interesting mix of holes, infact I would say most holes are entertainingly good. The 5th is the signature hole (what a view) but I find it almost a bit too tricky when the ground is hard and running. Good par 5's at 6 and 8, a good variety of par 3's including the very difficult 11th (with trouble everywhere); infact too many good holes to mention really. I would say the weakest hole is 18 and I personally would start the course on current hole 3 and use current hole 2 as the 18th; both holes are right by the clubhouse and it seems entirely logical.

Find the fairways and you can score, miss the fairways and the gorse, trees, ferns, heather etc makes scoring very difficult and during the summer with hard running sloping fairways it is definitely not easy to find them off the tee. Not what I would call a holiday course as you need to have your 'A' game here.

Last played Purbeck during the summer of 2018 but have played it on a number of occasions previously and consistently the condition of the course (and in particular the greens) has been below par. Course layout and design is very good, views are fabulous but it is the greens condition that makes the long trip less enticing other than on an occasional basis. For me the consistently poor quality greens hold it back and I don't think it worthy of a top 100 rating and hence the reason for my 3.5 ball rating; improve course condition and it probably gets a 4.5 ball and becomes worthy of it's ranking.

July 05, 2019
5 / 10
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Mariano Martinez de Azagra

Isle of Purbeck was one of the most pleasant surprises on our trip to the South West of England.

The location of the club gives a clue about the uniqueness of the course, since it is located on top of a peninsula to which we arrived through a ferry that makes the journey from Poole.

Some of the views offered by Isle of Purbeck (Purbeck) Golf Course - Photo by reviewer the course (especially from the tee of hole 5) deserve the cost of the green fee, but what really surprised us was the quality of many of its holes.

After a rather prosaic start, the field starts to gain interest from hole 3, a blind and drivable pair 4. The day we played, with the wind in favor, I had trouble finding my ball, until I saw it resting in one of the greenside bunkers, from where I did up and down for birdie.

However, the rest of the round, with a constant wind of about 50-60 km/h, was not a triumphant ride at all.

From there on, the challenge rises with each hole, from the spectacular 5th and the strong uphill par 5 6th, and reaches its climax, in my opinion, between holes 11 and 16. In particular, I found especially memorable the 13th hole, with its green set in the middle of a hill, which allows playing with the rear contour to try to Isle of Purbeck (Purbeck) Golf Course - Photo by reviewer bring the ball to the hole.

Again, as at the beginning of the round, the last two holes do not maintain the same level of quality, but they should not be discarded as bad holes.

As for the maintenance of the course, my feelings are found: on the one hand, I enjoyed the terrain of the fairways, firm and dry, but it is true that the fairways and greens, without being bad, were not in excellent shape. It is, perhaps, the only aspect of the course that remains clearly improvable.

However, this circumstance does not prevent my sincere appreciation for this authentic hidden gem.

June 20, 2019
7 / 10
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