Woodhall Spa Golf Courses
The National Golf Centre at Woodhall Spa, also the home of England Golf.
At Woodhall Spa, you will experience two magnificent courses – the Hotchkin and the Bracken. The Hotchkin is currently ranked number 54 best globally (by Golf.com) and has recently been extensively refurbished by leading golf course architect Tom Doak.
The golf club goes all the way back to 1891. However, the first two nine-hole configurations gave way to the housing development as the spa town blossomed. It wasn’t until 1905 that the club relocated to its current Harry Vardon-designed Horncastle Road site.
JH Taylor was appointed to support the bunker placement, and Harry Colt remodelled the layout in 1914.
In anyone’s books, an illustrious list of golfing royalty is responsible for the best inland golf course in England.
Many of the golf holes play over reasonably open heathland, and the others, particularly on the back nine, wandering a little more among many of the trees, creating a very different feel.
There are doglegs, heathers and pines at almost every turn. Still, the main barrier to scoring well is to eliminate play from the deepest bunkers, nowhere more than than the one on the modest par-3 5th, where first-timers have a modest mental advantage of just not understanding just how essential it is to hit the green.
On a perfect summer day, The golf courses at Woodhall Spa mesmerises, so stunning is the setting of its heathland. And the sheer complexity of the hazards of the course makes golf a prolific test. In specific the bunkering that is very demanding, not only are the hazards plentiful and masterfully placed, many of them have near-vertical faces. They are so cavern-like they wouldn’t feel out of place at the Open Championship. An inclusion of heather is pleasing to the eye, but a devil to play from, while pines, oaks and myriad other tree species add considerable strategic and aesthetic value.
A glimpse at the scorecard could perhaps indicate that the Hotchkin Course’s final stretch provides plenty of birdie possibilities, with two par-5s and a couple of short par-4s in the final five holes. But many of these cleverly constructed challenges have scuppered what could have been a very promising round. You must keep your wits about you and respect the final holes, which are visually as stunning as they are a challenge.
But whatever result, guests will enjoy winding down in Woodhall Spa’s intimate clubhouse afterwards — and you’ll no doubt conclude that your adventure to this wonderful golf course was worth all the while.
The Bracken is a fantastic Donald Steel creation. The fairways and greenside bunkers are more gracious than that of the Hotchkin Course, whereas the large, undulating greens are more obtainable and getting closer to the pins can be achieved with solid ball striking. Of course, they still require thought and touch to master the true putting surfaces. It may be the Hotchkin Course that receives all the applauds but doesn’t overlook the Bracken, as it also provides a forthright and memorable challenge.
And in scratch competitions played on both the Hotchkin and the Bracken, you might be surprised to discover that higher numbers often emerge on the latter.
Woodhall Spa is one of the finest golf facilities in the world and with names such as Doak, Vardon and Colt and Steel all involved in its creation it is not hard to see why it is such a popular venue.
A Stay at the Inn at Woodhall Spa is one of the most desirable golf breaks in the U.K