Woodhall Spa

Sunrise view

The Hotchin Course at Woodhall Spa came into being in 1905 when S.V. Hotchin donated a sandy tract of land , and Harry Vardon was commissioned to build the course.
J.H. Taylor advised on the placement of bunkers prior to the course opening .
In 1911 Harry Colt was employed to redesign the course and took 3 years to do so - his routing remains unchanged to this day . 
Then in 1919 in difficult economic conditions S.V.Hotchin agreed to take over the running of the course , eventually developing a significant interest in golf course architecture , and over the rest of his life he remodelled many of the holes at Woodhall Spa , moving greens and tees , and hazard locations . 
When he died in 1953 , his son Neil took over the operations of the course until he sold it to the English Golf Union in 1995
Today the Hotchin course at Woodhall Spa is voted the best inland course in the UK by Golf World Magazine
Woodhall Spa was right at the top of my hit list for courses I wanted to study when I started planning this trip to England , and it didn't disappoint . If I were to build a course myself it might have a lot in common with Woodhall Spa!
Whilst not as strategic as Lytham nevertheless the placement of the bunkers , and their depth certainly make you think on where to place each tee shot
It's an easy almost level walk , but there is plenty of movement all around you each hole with many large and striking bunkers , depressions , bumps , gorse , heather etc . 
Many of the holes require a solid carry over heather and / or bunkers to find the fairway
I was given the opportunity to play off a back tee today , and got to see more of the course than most , including a few of those deep bunkers . And they are deep - green side bunkers so deep you cannot see the sky...
Unfortunately the recent heatwave has burned off the heather and the fairways are hard and fast - harder than they perhaps should be given there are so many hazards
I sure would like to see this place in Autumn when the heather and gorse are in colour and the fairways a little softer
I reckon I could learn a lot by playing this course again , and again....
July 2010


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