Brancepeth Castle Golf Club Course Review

The undulating Harry Colt design at Brancepeth Castle Golf Club is a fine test of golf and home to many memorable holes

Brancepeth Castle Golf Club - Feature
Looking back from the tenth green with the beautiful castle beyond
(Image credit: Brancepeth Castle Golf Club)

Brancepeth Castle Golf Club Course Review
GF
Round: £25-£50
Par 70, 6,221 yards
Slope 128
GM Verdict One of Harry Colt’s most interesting, varied, unusual and testing designs
Favourite Hole The testing par-3 9th played over a gully to a fabulous green site which you simply must not miss right

Harry Colt is perhaps the most highly regarded golf course architect of all time. His legacy includes many courses in the Golf Monthly Top 100, but also a good number that are slightly less well-known. This includes the excellent parkland course at Brancepeth Castle, just to the south-west of historic Durham, and one which dates back to 1924. Here, the characterful clubhouse used to be the stables and coach house for what was previously a deer park.

Brancepeth Castle - Hole 9

The front nine finishes with a fabulous par 3, all carry and the signature hole

(Image credit: Brancepeth Castle Golf Club)

The course runs over a beautiful tract of land split by a deep ravine which strongly influenced the design and has resulted in some excellent and very memorable holes. There are effectively two returning loops of nine, with the short holes either side of the turn particularly memorable.

Brancepeth Castle - Hole 9 - Green

Looking back over the ravine from behind the ninth green

(Image credit: Brancepeth Castle Golf Club)

A gentle par 4 and then the shortest hole on the course may lull you into a false sense of security, but the course then really takes off from the long, left-to-right SI1 3rd. The ‘short’ 5th is 218 yards from the back tee while the par-5 6th is a genuine 3-shotter.

Brancepeth Castle - Hole 10

The back nine opens with another very tough but beautiful short hole

(Image credit: Brancepeth Castle Golf Club)

The stars of the show for most people are the two fabulous par 3s at 9 and 10. The first of these is 200 yards and plays across the valley to a green cut into the hillside with magnificent specimen trees acting as sentinel guards on the approach both sides. The 10th is just a shade shorter, back over the same gully, to a green protected by sand.

Plenty of strong golf still awaits, including the tough par-4 11th where you drive again over the ravine, and the 17th where a typical Colt cross-bunker awaits some way short leading you to believe that the green is just beyond.

Brancepeth Castle is right up there among the best golf courses in Durham and is a must play if you are in the area. With its sublime set of five par 3s, it is great fun as well as a genuine and serious test of shot-making. A game here also offers excellent value for money for a Colt course of such high standing.

Rob Smith
Rob Smith

Rob Smith has been playing golf for more than 40 years and been a contributing editor for Golf Monthly since 2012 specialising in course reviews and travel. He has now played 1,150 different courses in almost 50 countries. Despite lockdowns and travel restrictions last year, he still managed to play 80 different courses during 2021, 43 of them for the first time. This included 21 in 13 days on a trip to East Lothian in October. One of Rob's primary roles is helping to prepare the Top 100 and Next 100 Courses of the UK&I, of which he has played all but nine. Rob is a member of Tandridge Golf Club in Surrey where his handicap hovers around 16. You can contact him at r.smith896@btinternet.com.