Played By NCG: Isle of Purbeck
Reason for a Isle of Purbeck Golf Club review
It’s been on my hit list for some time so I felt I was well overdue a trip here. While spending a long weekend in Hampshire, we nipped round the corner to Dorset and it was very much worth the extra mileage. Dorset is a great place to play golf but because Purbeck sits away from the rest of the courses likely to be on your itinerary you have to make the effort to get here.
Where is it?
Isle of Purbeck is found on the Dorset moorland that overlooks Poole Harbour. The nearest town is the seaside resort of Swanage. If you’re trying to get your bearings, it’s about an hour and a half from here to the middle of Southampton.
What to expect
Isle of Purbeck is a Harry Colt layout that is a century old. This is a difficult course to classify. There’s gorse, heather and even trees in places. You can see the sea but you are way up in the sky. If I said it was moorland you would be expecting something like Gleneagles but it isn’t (really) like that. It plays like a links in some places, with its firm fairways. There are several holes that are heathland in character. Elsewhere, you could be in the Pennines or the Cotswolds.
Below is the 5th, which is surely the most striking hole. What a view from the tee on this left-to-right dogleg – on all sides. On the day we were there, we even saw some wild horses. And no they wouldn’t have been able to drag me away from Isle of Purbeck without playing the rest of the course. Sorry.
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My best bit
Isle of Purbeck has had a few different owners over the years and its fortunes have fluctuated. Along with that, the condition of the course has suffered. I was so pleased to find that it is now in the hands of an enthusiastic and committed owner. Californian David Suruki is doing everything he can to restore Isle of Purbeck to its former glories and if he does so then it will be a genuine contender for a place in GB&I’s Top 100 courses.
It will take him a little while, because recovering from a long-term neglect of course conditioning is not a quick fix, but what Isle of Purbeck needs more than anything else, I would humbly suggest, is some TLC over a prolonged period of time.
Hopefully, under David’s management, that’s exactly what it will get.
To be clear, it is not that Isle of Purbeck was in bad nick when we visited in the early spring of 2016: just that you could see scope for improvement. And when the layout, history and surroundings are as special as they are here, you just want it to be as good as it can be.
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What to look out for
Those wild horses for a start. But seriously, there really will never be a shortage of things to look out for at Isle of Purbeck. It’s one of the most spectacular, dramatic pieces of land I have played golf over.
When I go back I will…
Come for the day and play twice to make the most of it. I’ll also make a four at the 5th. When my 7-iron approach that I thought was destined for the heart of the green trickled into the left-hand bunker I was distraught. And obviously took five.