The Brabazon Course review
Draped in history and oozing in class are just a few things you can say about the Brabazon at The Belfry .
From signature holes to tricky par three’s the course simply has everything.
Designed by Dave Thomas and Peter Alliss, the par-72 has lush fairways and carpet-smooth greens and has seen some of the game’s greatest moments as it has hosted four Ryder Cups.
The spiritual home of the best team event in the game has had some sensational moments through the years, from Christy O’Connor’s two iron to Sam Torrance’s Putt.
The moment you see the iconic Tenth hole as you drive up to the car park, you realise that you’re not going to be disappointed by what’s going to be thrown at you during the next four or so hours.
The look from tee on many holes looks fairly generous, quite wide fairways that are perfectly manicured are an easy way of setting your line.
Perfectly placed fairways bunkers are what you need to be aware of on many of the holes, and hidden streams and hazards particularly around the greens need to be considered before you attempt your approach.
The 3rd hole is the first of 11 holes in which water come into play and it is a great par five. If you’re long enough off the tee, you can be brave and go for the green in two. Even if you do lay up the approach shot is not something you wish to see every day. Even though great to look at danger lurks left thanks to the huge lake and a big bunker to the right mean you have to be deadly accurate.
The one thing I really like about the course was all the different undulations you got on the greens. As I said before they were perfect, but they were still receptive so you could easily spin off the green if you weren’t perfect with your shot, and if you managed to stay on then you were left with a devilish putt to get down in two.
Along with the ninth, the sixth is probably the signature hole on the front nine. Again a large lake comes in to play down the left, but this time it’s from tee to green. Go left at your peril.
What I didn’t realise, and what you don’t see on T.V is how much uphill the ninth is. A fairly generous tee shot, leaves you with a very daunting and long second up the three tired green.
It was great standing on the tenth tee, going through the same thoughts as many greats of the game. I can only imagine what Seve was thinking back in 78’ when he decided to go for the driver. I did the same but unfortunately not with the same result!
A couple of great par three’s come at the 12th and the 14th followed by the par five 15th where positioning is key. If you’re long and straight off the tee you can have a go at the green. If you have to lay up then you must miss the huge fairway bunker about 100 yards from the green.
The three holes left to play are quite well known. The par 4, 16th is uphill and has seen a lot of drama in the past thanks to some great putts holed on a tricky green. The approach shot is very narrow, so club selection and accuracy again is key.
The 17th is a long par five that dogleg’s heavily to the right about 150 yards from the tee. Again if you’re long enough go right over the dogleg and then go for the green that is quite open in front. If you are laying up you have to make your choice of trying to get over the ditch or set yourself up for a longer third.
The 18th as we all know is a great finishing hole. The daunting drive followed by the even more daunting approach. Aim at the bunker with some draw was the advice, I ended up in the middle of the fairway all be it with starting left and cutting it back over the water! The approach is just a great picture in world golf. The three tied green, with the clubhouse in the background and the fountain in the lake making it even more picturesque.
Ask the Pro
We were lucky enough to be joined by PGA Director of Golf, Gary Silcock who really showed us how to play the course. On the way round I got the opportunity to ask him the usual questions.
Q. What qualities do you need to succeed around the Brabazon?
A. Long straight driving will always help on any golf course, but here if you’re long and find the fairways then the approach shot with the shorter clubs will help you to find the right side of the pin. Also a nice touch on the greens will help you score well.
Q. What is the hardest hole on the course?
A. Well the 6th and the 8th have always played the hardest in tournament golf so I will have to say one those.
Q. If you had one more round left to play anywhere in the world, where would it be.
A. For me it would have to be somewhere that you can’t just go and play so in that instance it would be either Augusta or maybe Pine Valley.
With three great courses The Belfry really is a superb golf resort situated in the middle of the country. With great practice facilities and superb hospitality, if you enjoy your golf then you really should make it one of your goals to have a break here.
Golfbreaks.com offers start at £125pp including two rounds of golf on the PGA National and The Derby and £169 if you play The Brabazon and The Derby.
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