Review's of Bramshaw Golf Club
One of my favourite courses
I've always loved playing the Manor Course though the fact that my ball always seemed to bounce back onto the fairway whenever I hit it into the trees on my first visit might have affected my judgement. A parkland course in a lovely setting. I've yet to play the Forest course which is a very different challenge from the Manor and probably should be regarded more as a bit of fun and a nice day out as animals from the New Forest are free to roam the course (also best to play the Forest course only during a dry spell as it doesn't drain very quickly)
Forest Course : An enigma! ; disappointing; should be better!
Bramshaw GC is located in Brook; in the New Forest, Hampshire. There are two courses here; (1) the Manor and (2) the Forest. This review relates to the Forest course which was played on Saturday 5th May.
The Forest is a par 69 (SSS 67), heathland style course, 5,554 yards off the yellow tees. It is the oldest course in Hampshire; built in 1865 and becoming Bramshaw GC in 1880.
The course and a car park are located about a minutes drive away from the main clubhouse and car park.
As the Forest course is located within the New Forest National Park the club are only permitted to maintain the course tee boxes and greens. Ponies, cattle and deer roam and graze on the fairways and rough. They are completely unfazed by the presence of golfers.
A feature on the course is that several of the greens are surrounded by a ring of vertical posts supported by horizontal wiring in order to prevent the grazing animals from damaging the greens. Some of the smaller animals are nevertheless able to breach the defences. A local rule covers what happens if you hit the poles with your approach shots; eg replay the shot or play it as it lies.
However the reason for my retinence about this course is because there is very wet conditions on a number of the holes; most notably the 1st, 3rd and 4th; where the conditions underfoot because of the animal hoofprints; were unplayable.
From about the 5th hole the condition of the course was much improved though fairways were a little soft significantly affecting distances off the tee.
There are some challenging holes to negotiate; with blind greens approached over water.
Although the SSS suggests otherwise it is a challenging course. The playability of the course is too much weather dependent and also too much subject to the luck; or not so lucky; bounce of the ball. For the medium handicap player the nature of the course obliges a defensive /negative approach in order to avoid the perils around the greens. Not an approach I like to take as a rule!
Having now played the course for a second time about two weeks after the first time the course was in better condition and playability because of the improved weather situation. However the early holes are still wet / soft underfoot in places. The course could do with a bit of a rolling to smooth out the dried out hoof marks!
In conclusion I consider the Forest course to be the least enjoyable of the two Bramshaw courses and I'd rather play the Manor course twice instead of playing each; though my retinence would not preclude me from playing it again in an appropriate situation.
However there has been a course modification which has much improved the course layout; ie the 4th has been reduced to a par 3 (from a par 4) while the 15th (ex par 3) has been rerouted to a new green as a par 4. No overall change to the total par for the course. No material change of opinion about the course either!
Pretty Course but...
Can't find much fault in this course! It's pretty, well-maintained course and an easy walk (unless its 30C!). Parkland in layout there is some interesting holes but also some fairly benign holes. The Clubhouse bar is large and airy and the food was good.
However... I do have two comments:
1 - If you are going to welcome visitors to your club, don't tell them off for not following clubs rules as soon as they walk through the door. Maybe say 'hello' first (e.g. collars in clubhouse etc)
2. If you are going to have a bar where you want golfers to be able to relax after a round (and spend money!) and there is no golf shoes allowed rule, perhaps have a spike carpet a meter wide, so at least we can get from the balcony to the bar!
If I hadn't been staying overnight - I would have gone elsewhere.
Overall an OK experience, would I return, probably not as its a long way from home!
Having played the Forest course the day before, I was expecting a bit of a step up in quality from the Manor course. I certainly got that and more. The Manor course is one that you'll happily drive that little bit further to play.
It's mostly tree-lined, but not tight enough to make it scarily so. I would say that pretty much any standard of golfer can play here and get a fair test of their game. There are some ditches to watch out for, so my tip is to make sure you take a look at the picture guide by the tee before each hole.
As for the quality of the course, the tees, greens and fairways were all in beautiful condition. The course is simply a great mix of holes that are interesting, pretty and enjoyable to play.
First thing to say is if you're playing the Forest course, don't take you clubs out of the car when you get to the Bramshaw clubhouse/pro shop. The Forest course is actually about half a mile away, and when you get there there's nothing there apart from the 1st tee and a car park.
I say this not having played the Manor course yet, but the Forest course does clearly appear to be the lesser of the two courses. We were told that the club are only allowed to do work to the greens and the tees, so the fairways are left to nature and the numerous cows and horses that wander around. Hoof marks are everywhere, along with other substances best found on rose beds. The greens and tees are very decent though.
I think I only saw two or three 150 yard markers out on the course, so be prepared for a few waits while golfers shuffle clubs until they pick one that might be right. If you were playing behind me today then I apologise for doing that!
The fairways are wide. Very wide! I think the first hole that really feels anything close to tight is the 9th, and after that it opens up again. I only saw a few holes that had any bunkers on, and most of the course's protection comes from streams in front or behind the greens, and a number of raised greens that make sure only accurate approach shots remain on the putting surface.
There are some lovely holes on the course and its certainly worth giving a go, but I imagine that it's probably suited best to mid to high handicappers.
The welcome in the (well stocked) pro shop was everything you'd hope for, and as for the clubhouse, it's just really lovely. There's a wonderful balcony for sitting out and watching the world go by. Or the Bramshaw GC bit of the world anyway.
Bramshaw - The Manor Course....
"The Manor" course is a total contrast to "The Forest" course. Yes Bramshaw offes 2 totally different courses, so always a choice depending on one's taste. The adventurous will play The Forest and the conservatives will play The Manor course.
Today (14.09.2012), we played The Manor with the Silvermere Ladies on Tour.
A landscape parkland course set in the New Forest.
Well kept fairways, everything seems manicured from Tee boxes to greens, to bunkers, to paths, to way findings. There seem to be a hight standard of maintenance creating a very pleasing look, quite "posh", the scenery is spectacular as we are on the edge of the New Forest. There is a better than ordinary "Porta Loo" before the 10th, saves yo going into the bushes.
The greens were superb but very treacherous & today I could not get on with my putting, a little bit like USA team on the last day of the recent Ryder Cup. A big shame as I would have won the 3 day-competition, but I came runner-up, so very pleased indeed.
Some very well placed hazards such as ponds, ditches, sand bunkers all in the right place to catch the non-thinker. A very good test for any golfer.
Lots of interesting holes, but today I shall only describe one:
Hole 18, Par 4,Yelllow 333yds,Red 314 yds:
Sharp dog leg, 90 degrees to the Left, the Tee shot takes you downhill with a fairway sloping left to a ditch which extend across the fairway to an uphill green, only seeable from a 2nd shot or 3rd in my case. OBB on the left by the sloping fairway. A very thick & large hedge on the right hand side on the approach to the green. A lots of 2nd shots (or possibly drives) seem to end up there, as there were lots of balls resting there. Not mine though as I played this hole quite well.
The Clubhouse was described in my previous review when depicting the "wild/natural" Bramshaw gof course.
By the way, I had one of the tastied "Lasagna" before heading back home after our 3-days of golf (well actually 4 days for me, as I added an extra day, I could not resist). My golfing Ladies partners had appetising sandwiches with generous portions of chips & salad stuff ! Very good coffee.
Attractive wooden beams & lots of skylights give a lovely light & warm atmosphere to this room.
Balcony with a terrace, tables & chairs overlooking 18th & practice green & a large bed of wild flowers.
An interesting manicured course that should be sampled as well.
Practice facilities: very good.
The Forest - another unique golf experience...
This is another "New Forest" golf course, Bramshaw having 2 courses: The Forest & The Manor.
The Forest is situated 200 yrds ffrom the main Clubhouse, a little walk up a picturesque small road with a car park. I played this course on 12 Sept 2912.
A rugged, wild terrain, with invisible ravines, some having water, some heather & goarse & some with just vegetation and a few creatures but nevertheless if your ball ends up in the ravine, you wont find it easily or if found, most likely to be unplayable unlesS you had the skills of Seve!!!
Some blind tee shots, not knowing what terrain to expect when playin for a 1st time, so it adds to the fun or to the scorecard!.
A lot more animal droppings (dont forget the latex glove for retrieval). Should your ball end up in the black sutff,, it either stops dead or it could be a big splatter, but one get a free drop !!!
Again the experience & scenery are unique, a different kind of golf, really in tune with nature (not Chicago's)
and it may not suit everyone's taste of golf. I personally relish the different challenge and the eauty surrounding the course.
On a 1st visit, the score reached may not be to one's hdcp but what experience you'll have.
Some greens have fencing around to stop the ponies/cattle walking onto the greens, so special local rules apply should your ball hit the fence/posts: no penalty and a free drop, I think.
The greens were superb, runing fast & true (am I getting techinical ?), I must read too many of other TSGers' reviews & pick up their vocabulary), not a bad thing.
We had a pleasant weather for 17 holes but with menacing dark clouds in the horizon & on the 18th Tee box, the heavens opened and we got drenched, making this superb finishing hole an even more challenging one, but I scored well on this one.
Just as we had finished putting, the rain stopped & we had a dry walk back to the pleasant Clubhouse.
Friendly, well stocked Proshop.
Very modern changing rooms, light & airy, with very classy fittings.
Clubhouse/bar upstairs: very pleasant with a balcony & a view over the 18th hole and the practice putting green.
Food was superb and very reasonably priced (the best Lasagna I ever had). The sandwiches looked appetising but my party wished they had ordered the Lasagna...
Large Car Park (better not park at the far end by the 18th!!! as you never know what a stray ball might do to your cherished 4-wheels).
Bramshaw Golf Club is adjacent to the Bell Inn (3 or 4 Stars country hotel) where special golfing deals can be had, I may even book one myself as you then have the choice of 2 golf courses totally different in character & play. The other course being The Manor which I shall review very soon as I also played the course.
Bramshaw Gold Club is quite vibrant with all different sections, you can understand the attraction and it has reciprocical arrangements with numerous golf clubs, local & not so local.
A very good experience that I certainly enjoyed, I had the best score of the party... I thought I should mention that as it is a pleasing feeling, some of my party did not have the same experience, but everyone was good company (Silvermere Ladies).
If in the Hampshire/New Forest area, I think one should try both courses.
BRAMSHAW (FOREST COURSE)
This is one of my favourite courses. It was built privately on New Forest heathland in about 1865 and is the oldest course in Hampshire. The ever-changing scenery of humps, hollows and meandering streams test old fashioned golfing skills in an idyllic setting.
The roaming ponies and deer only add to the charm.
It can get rather wet (as we found following heavy overnight rain), and you certainly need to be prepared to "take the rough with the smooth" but overall a MUST PLAY.
Only 2 minutes from M27J1, Bramshaw also has an excellent parkland course (The Manor) so it is a great venue for a day out. Good value winter deals are usually available as well. Excellent clubhouse/staff.