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.

The fourth green is one of several protected from hoofmarks by fencing

There are plenty of drive and pitch par 4s, with just one par 5 on each nine at the 6th and 10th.

The sixth is the first of the two long holes and involves an aerial approach over the stream

The front nine concludes with a short but tricky two-shotter, again protected by the serpentine stream.

Hole 9 is only 341 yards but stroke index 2

The back nine is fractionally longer with just two short holes, the very attractive 12th and the 159-yard 17th.

The final par 3 at 17 should be your last flirtation with water

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.

An aerial view of the remarkably different Manor Course

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.

Looking back from behind the green at the par-5 2nd

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.

A visitor enjoying light refreshment below the 15th tee

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.