Bramshaw Golf Club and Bell Inn Stay and Play Review
Peacefully situated in the heart of the beautiful New Forest yet only minutes away from the M27, the Bell Inn dates back to the 18th-century and has 26 comfortable and stylish rooms. It is a perfect golfing destination for couples and groups, with not one but two very enjoyable courses under the same, new ownership. The inn and both courses - Bramshaw Golf Club - were acquired in the summer of 2021 by Stellar Asset Management. Their burgeoning portfolio includes many hotels including the excellent Murrayshall Country House Hotel and Golf Club in Scotland.
At the inn’s centre is a lively bar area serving local ales and a wide choice of wines and spirits. Excellent dining is available in a variety of settings, formal or informal, and there are stay and play packages available throughout the year which offer great value for money.
The building is packed with character, with plenty of large and small public spaces, nooks and crannies. The mouth-watering and very well-priced menu concentrates on local produce and has something for everyone.
When it is time for some privacy, the bedrooms are well sized at the same time as being cosy and comfortable.
The two 18-hole layouts at Bramshaw could hardly be more different from one another. The Manor Course opened about 50 years ago and is a fine parkland layout which runs through majestic woodland four times that age. It is a longer course than its older sibling, and the holes are mainly bordered by mature, specimen trees meaning that straight driving is more important here. Holes one to six work their way to the northernmost part of the property, seven to eleven return you almost to the clubhouse, and the final loop of seven twists and turns offering plenty of variety all the way.
The Forest Course dates back to fifteen years before the club was formed in 1880, and is a delightful and extremely natural heathland design. It's 500 yards or so from the clubhouse, but there is plenty of parking and most people take the car. Running over gently-undulating ground, accuracy on approach is far more important than length, and the course’s chief defence comes in the form of several very pretty but awkward streams that come into play throughout the round, often when you least expect it! There are plenty of drive and pitch par 4s, with just one par 5 on each nine at the 6th and 10th. Several greens are fenced off to prevent inadvertent damage from the bountiful wildlife, especially the abundant ponies, cattle and deer.
Not far away, Paultons Golf Centre has an attractive 18-hole course, a 6-hole academy course, and a state-of-the-art driving range with all manner of teaching options available. This is an excellent, family-friendly set-up that will also be very enjoyable for experienced golfers.
With its own two courses, and both Paultons and many other delightful courses not far away, the Bell Inn is an obvious and very rewarding choice for a golfing break. Hampshire has many lovely courses, and others can be enjoyed on the journey to or from the New Forest. This, combined with the excellent accommodation, delicious food and friendly service, make The Bell an excellent choice for a Stay and Play.
Rob Smith has been playing golf for more than 40 years and been a contributing editor for Golf Monthly for over ten years, specialising in course reviews and travel. He has now played more than 1,170 different courses in almost 50 countries. Despite lockdowns and travel restrictions in 2021, he still managed to play 80 different courses during the year, 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. During the 2021-22 review period, Rob has played 34 of the Golf Monthly Top 200. He is a member of Tandridge Golf Club in Surrey where his handicap hovers around 16. You can contact him at email@example.com.
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