Rob Smith enjoys an off-season golfing break at a New Forest golf club with two courses and a historic coaching inn
Bramshaw Golf Club and Bell Inn Stay and Play Review
Forest Course – Par 69, 5,757 yards
Manor Course – Par 71, 6,400 yards
Situated in the heart of the New Forest, the two 18-hole layouts at Bramshaw Golf Club could hardly be more different from one another. This therefore lends itself to an excellent golfing break with something to suit all tastes.
The Forest Course dates back to fifteen years before the club was formed in 1880, and is a delightful and extremely natural heathland design. It is also situated half a mile up the road from the Inn, and with plenty of parking, it’s worth taking the car.
Running over gently-undulating ground, accuracy is far more important than length, and the course’s chief defence comes in the form of several very pretty but awkward streams that come into play throughout the round, often when you least expect it!
Several greens are fenced off to prevent inadvertent damage from the bountiful wildlife, especially the abundant ponies and deer.
There are plenty of drive and pitch par 4s, with just one par 5 on each nine at the 6th and 10th.
The front nine concludes with a short but tricky two-shotter, again protected by the serpentine stream.
The back nine is fractionally longer with just two short holes, the very attractive 12th and the 159-yard 17th.
Right next to the Bell Inn, the Manor Course is a fine parkland alternative which opened for play almost 50 years ago and which runs through majestic woodland four times that age.
This is a longer course than its older brother, but by no means excessively so, and the holes are mainy bordered by mature, specimen trees meaning that straight-driving is more important here.
Holes one to six work their way to the northernmost part of the property, seven to eleven return you almost to the clubhouse, and the final loop of seven twists and turns offering plenty of variety all the way.
The Bell Inn dates back to the 18th-century and has 28 comfortable and stylish rooms, with a lovely and lively bar area serving local ales. Excellent dining is available in a variety of settings, and there are stay and play packages available throughout the year which offer excellent value for money.