The Burstead Golf Club Feature Review
Review by Golfshake Ambassador Rob Treanor (Handicap 14)
The Burstead has achieved “Highly Recommended” status, as reviewed by independent Golfshake members. With this glowing endorsement and a further course upgrade planned in 2019, we sent Rob Treanor to discover the formula for this success.
An 18-hole, par 72 club, The Burstead is nestled in the pretty Essex countryside. Just moments from the M25, it is extremely accessible for visiting golfers, though the tranquil country setting feels a million miles away from London life. The parkland course opened for play in 1993, having been designed by Patrick Tallack and now has an excellent local reputation for good golf and excellent hospitality.
The club has a full suite of warm up facilities with a driving range, chipping area and putting green, allowing for last minute fine tuning before heading out on the course. There is a large, modern clubhouse with an excellent menu, adding value to the experience which is more than just a quick 18 holes.
Front 9 Overview
The opening shot sets the tone for the round and characterises the questions the course poses. A short par four, the sensible play is to send a long iron towards the bunker in order to take the brook which lies further down the fairway out of play. Only the very best of tee shots would carry the brook as well as feeding between the two sets of trees on either side of the fairway. For much of the course the best option is to play for position rather than distance.
There is an excellent string of holes either side of the halfway point. The 8th is a pretty par four played uphill to a double tiered green. Finding the fairway from the tee is essential, as the tricky green will make keeping a three putt (or worse) off the card difficult if the wrong level is found with the approach shot!
The ninth is a strong par five at 528 yards from the white tees. The hole is guarded by two brooks which intersect the fairway at opportune moments, meaning that positioning has to be considered all the way from tee to green. As you will likely have registered by this halfway mark, sensible golf scores well at The Burstead so don’t bite off too much fairway as you navigate the brooks and you will likely walk away with a fistful of points.
Back 9 Overview
The back nine begins with the second of three par fives, which is a little shorter than the previous hole at 505 yards. There are bunkers lining the fairway and a ditch (which some will already have become familiar with) intersecting play towards the green. This series of holes will test and ultimately go a long way in defining who takes the spoils home!
The 11th completes this tough succession of holes and at 452 yards, is a very testing par four by any standards. A ditch three quarters of the way down the fairway will punish poor tee shorts, forcing a lay-up short of the hazard. Taking aim at the large green is small comfort given the distance most will be attempting to reach it. If you get a shot here it could be worth playing as a par five!
The 16th is the signature hole, featuring a large pond which runs to the right and in front of the green. The tee shot needs to carry sufficient fairway to make it to the slight dog leg, after which there is a pretty view down to the green as the hole turns left. There is plenty of green to aim for, though the water lies in wait for anything short or right.
This is a testing course, though it is strategy and positioning rather than distance which is called into question. There are a variety of long and short holes, characterised by tight, tree lined fairways, dissected by brooks and streams. The greens and sand in the bunkers are of excellent quality, which should assist with putting a good score together.
The club has been fortunate enough to secure a six-figure investment which will be used to further enhance the course throughout 2019. Improvements to the landscaping, bunkers, tees and greens plus a new drainage system will upgrade and optimise rather than overhaul the current layout.
The Burstead is a very enjoyable course to play, with a variety of holes requiring different styles of play. The course welcomes visitors and has generous weekend availability which, when coupled with its accessibility from the M25, make it an excellent choice for visiting golfers. Given the planned further enhancements due in 2019, this is definitely a course to play again!
- Play conservatively instead of fighting against the hazards is likely to result in a lower score.
- Use the signage on each hole to identify brooks and bunkers which may be out of view from the tee.
- Tuck the driver away for most of the round, you won’t need it much!
Overall Rating – 8
Course (Conditions) - 7
Course (Hole Variety/Layout) - 7
Course (Green Condition) - 8
Course (Challenge/Difficulty) - 7
Club Facilities & 19th/Clubhouse - 7
Practice Facilities - 7
Friendliness/Hospitality - 8
Pace of Play - 7
Value for Money - 9
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