Global Golfer’s Australia Editor Danny Bowerin recently moved to Melbourne.
Even with the legendary “Sandbelt” courses on his doorstep he still feels nostalgic for an English parkland course he calls home.
The Old Course at Burhill Golf Club, Surrey, in a leafy commuter town on the outskirts of London.
The whisper of its name tugs at my heartstrings as I settle into an Australian life.
Striding its fairways made me feel at home.
It was the scene of heartbreak and celebrations.
I joined Burhill in 2003 and it’s the thing I miss most about the UK, not Marmite, baked beans or fish and chips.
I miss my days at the golf club with friends.
Here are the facts:
- Designed by Willie Park and opened in 1907
- Par 70 and 6479 yards
- Ryder Cup player Paul Casey played his Junior Golf at Burhill
- Former European Tour Rookie of the Year Pip Elson is Director of Golf
Not the longest nor the tightest
It’s neither the longest nor the tightest golf course you’ll ever play.
What’s more, some of the greens are generous in size for a parkland golf course.
Yet rarely does anyone tame this intricate, testing golf course in tournament conditions.
It’s one of many reasons it has been consistently listed in the top 100 golf courses in England.
It demands excellent course management and control of your golf ball.
When the greens are at their quickest, there are spots from which two-putting is a challenge.
The course regularly makes you question whether driver is the right club off the tee and, with one of the most testing Par 3’s in golf to start the back nine – and just two Par 5’s – good scoring requires a great short game and accurate iron play.
The course has a demanding start, and many of the best rounds I’ve seen on the Old have started with a bogey.
The first iron shot you hit has to be pin-point accurate and must find the right level on an incredibly difficult green.
Only the longest can reap rewards at the 3rd
If there’s a poor hole it’s the third. For most of the year it doesn’t present enough reward for the risks involved in reaching the green in two.
To make it you have to be able to hit a high fade of around 320 yards through the air off the tee, so playing conservatively is the way forward here.
Aside from that, each hole presents a unique challenge, and getting through holes seven to ten unscathed is often the key to unlocking a great score.
Between the 14th and 15th fairways lies ‘Dick Turpin’s Cottage’ – an alehouse in bygone days – which starts the run for home to the magnificent Georgian mansion that now serves the beer at Burhill.
Get a good drive away down 14 and an eagle chance awaits, but 15 and 17 are extremely tough driving holes and one-putts on 17 and 18 are pretty rare.
The quality and condition of the golf course have been improving every year thanks to the hard work of the greenkeepers and the watching eye of Pip Elson, Director of Golf.
The course looks more and more like it did in its early days with bunker remodelling and heather regeneration defining the golf course beautifully.
Bring your putting boots, enjoy the wonderful clubhouse facilities and take the time to play at Burhill one day.
It really is a gem, and I’m proud to call many of its welcoming members my friends.