Burford Golf Club

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You will find the charming Burford Golf Club on the southern outskirts of the town. The course was designed by 5-time open winner JH Taylor, with the first nine holes opening for play in 1936 on the east side of the A361, with the second nine opening a year later to the west. Measuring 6,401 yards off the back tees, it is short by modern standards but still provides a challenge for all abilities. Most holes are heavily tree-lined, putting a premium on accuracy, and along with strategically placed bunkers and sneakily undulating fast and true greens, it provides an enjoyable challenge for any golfer teeing it up. The course kicks off with a strong par 4 of 428 yards that plays slightly downhill and into the prevailing wind.

Strategically placed bunkers are ready to snap up any errant tee shot down the right, but the challenge doesn’t stop there: the green is guarded by bunkers on each side and the putting surface slopes from left to right. It’s important to be putting from below the hole, as anything above can be lightning quick – a feature of the greens at Burford that you will need to be wary of for the rest of your round.

The 2nd is a notable hole which plays short at 150 yards. This visually pleasing hole plays over the lollipop trees short of a long and narrow green heavily guarded by bunkers; again, care needs to be taken on this green – I can imagine this hole has seen its fair share of 3 putts. Moving onto the third hole and number 1 on the stroke index, this intimidating hole is all about the tee shot; with out-of-bounds running down the entire right side and a narrow fairway, this hole commands respect. A drive that favours the right side of the fairway will leave a long approach. Bogey here is no bad score.

Further on into the front 9 comes the first of the 3 par 5s. At 490 yards the 6th plays as a comfortable par 5 for most in terms of length. From the tee you play to the edge of the dog leg to the right, with out-of-bounds to contend with down the right and trees down the left, accuracy is again at a premium. The longer hitter will need to take a precarious line down the right of the hole or shape the ball from left to right to avoid running out of fairway, and after safely negotiating the tee shot this hole offers up a good chance of a birdie. The front 9 signs off with another par 5 at 509 yards, again putting a premium on getting your tee shot away. Favour the right hand side to open up the slight dog leg to the left, and if you’re laying up for your second, care needs to be taken to avoid 2 well placed bunkers some 100 yards away from the green.

Cross the road and on to the other side of the course to start the back 9 and you are greeted with a short par 4 of 348 yards, a long iron/wood off the tee for position is the play off the tee to leave yourself with a mid to short iron into the green. After the pretty little par 3 11th you are faced with the last of the par 5s at Burford. The 12th plays 517 yards off the back tees and is a very strong hole. With out-of-bounds running the length of the whole down the left, this hole is all about the tee shot – get a good one away and you’re looking at a birdie opportunity, find out-of-bounds down the left or trouble down the right and it’s a potential scorecard wrecker. The next two are slightly more forgiving, both being par 4s of under 400 yards, although watch out for the tricky green on 13. Pass through the arched hedge after the 14th and you will find the lovely par 3 15th. Playing the shortest hole at Burford, this 132 yard little gem plays over the lollipop trees to a heavily guarded and receptive green. The bunker at the front will impede your view of the bottom of the flag so club selection here is vital; once on the green the subtle borrows can leave you scratching your head. The final trio of holes at Burford provide a tricky finish to an excellent course. The 16th is a tough par 4 which starts off the difficult finishing stretch, at stroke index 2 and 425 yards it requires two solid strikes to find the putting surface – par here is a good score. The 17th will test your accuracy with a narrow fairway and strategically placed bunkers off the tee, it opens up towards the green, but again, at 451 yards needs two good blows to reach this green in regulation. Onto the final hole, the 18th is a lovely finishing hole, a slight dog leg with out-of-bounds down the left and behind the green with the attractive clubhouse in the background; don’t be afraid to take one more club with your approach here, as it plays deceptively uphill.

Burford is lovely track set in peaceful surroundings. On my visit the course, conditioning was excellent with the fairways tightly mown and the greens running smooth. After a few errant tee shots I ended up taking a trip into the woods a few too many times, but that sums this course up: go off line and you will be punished. You can’t complain at that!

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