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Bury St Edmunds Golf Club Feature Review

By: Matt Holbrook | Thu 12 Dec 2019

Review by Golfshake Ambassador Matt Holbrook, December 2019

Set a mere half mile off the A14, Bury Edmunds Golf Club in Suffolk is a gorgeous parkland course which has matured over the years, offering both members and visitors a great, fun and fair test of golf. The course was created in 1924, designed by the first British Ryder Cup team captain Ted Ray.

Ray had the layout measuring at 6,087 yards, which at the time was considerable length. Today it stands at 6,658 yards, which has it at one of the longest in the county. A redesign of the course (by noted golf architect Frank Pennick) and a new clubhouse became necessary during the sixties because of the construction of the A14. New holes were built, original ones renumbered – what was the 1st is now the 6th, for example, and the old 6th now the 14th – and many greens became multi-tiered. The new-look Bury St Edmunds was formally opened in May 1969. In addition to the 18-hole main course, there is also a shorter 9-hole par 31 course, ideal for beginners and those pushed for time which is equally as fun.

Pre-Round Thoughts

The on-site driving range and nice short game area are the perfect way to get yourself limbered up, and the pro shop is spacious and extremely well stocked with anything you could need. Bury St Edmunds is 100% Highly Recommended on Golfshake, so I was looking forward to getting started and seeing what was on offer.

Bury St Edmunds

Front 9 Overview

I loved the start to the course with two par 5s in the opening three holes. That may be quite unusual, but it really does give you an opportunity to get your round off to a solid start. The opener moves gently from right to left, with the defence being the smallish green. The 2nd is nicely secluded by the tall trees and the 3rd can really be attacked at only 480 yards.

You then get a run of nice par 4s from the 4th to the 8th that vary in length from 440 to 365 yards, and the front closes off with a 125 yards par 3. Don't be fooled by the length as anything short or left of the small looking target with be punished by the deep bunkers and making a three is then a tough ask.

I really enjoyed the variety on the front nine with some of the holes having well placed bunkers that need avoiding and some of the green complexes really gave the holes something extra to think about.

Back 9 Overview

The 10th & 11th play adjacent to each other up a slight hill then back down again. The small green on the 10th is well guarded by the bunker whilst the 11th gets you thinking off the tee. The hole swerves round to the right a tee shot over three well placed fairway bunkers gets you questioning just how much you can pinch off the hole. Big hitters may well go straight over the corner of the trees but will be blinded.

The par 5 14th is a thing of beauty. Challenging tee shot is required, where getting yourself up the right-hand side will be ideal. Then the hole drops off slightly and narrows down with the tall and  looming oak tree on the left-hand side. Big hitters can have a go in two but it is fraught with danger and a five is a good score.

The finishing stretch will test any golfer and I'm sure it has ruined a card or two over the years. The 16th is a long uphill par 4 at 454 yards. Regardless of your tee shot you'll still be faced with an uphill second shot of some length and it's clear why this is the stroke index 1.

The 17th is similar in length but differs from the 16th in the fact that you can see all the way up the 16th, whereas the 17th is blind off the tee slightly, dropping away leaving you with a stunning second shot down to the green littered by bunkers and a tricky surface to putt on. These are two very strong holes. The finishing par 5 is a nice closer with a well-guarded green meaning getting on board in two might not be the best option for all players, but the longer hitter will definitely fancy their chances.

Bury St Edmunds

Post-Round Thoughts

I really enjoyed the course at Bury St Edmunds, the feeling of being enclosed on a tree lined course is one which I thoroughly enjoy, and I really got that here. The mixture of lengths and challenges from hole to hole will keep you interested and your game honest throughout. I think, even with the length, this course can and will be enjoyed by golfers of all abilities and long as the shorter hitting out there just play within themselves and recognise there are two or three holes that won’t be reachable.

The condition was superb, I was particularly impressed with the greens, not just the variety in sizes and breaks/tiers but mainly the condition. They were running excellently for the time of year - December - which also makes this course a great option for some winter golf too. After the round you get to choose between the quirky spike bar or the more spacious restaurant area to enjoy the beverage of your choice and a bite to eat.


I can clearly see why Bury St Edmunds rates so highly on Golfshake. The overall condition and playing experience are worthy of its accolade and whether you are planning to visit in the middle of summer or at colder times then you shouldn't overlook what is a solid layout in great all year round condition.

Overall Rating - 8

Course (Conditions) - 9

Course (Hole Variety/Layout) - 8

Course (Green Condition) - 9

Course (Challenge/Difficulty) - 8

Club facilities & 19th/Clubhouse - 8

Practice Facilities - 9

Friendliness/Hospitality - 9

Pace of Play - 9

Value for Money - 9

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