The Bracken course is the perfect foil to the famous 18 holes of the Hotchkin course at Woodhall Spa. Respected architect Donald Steel sympathetically routed the Bracken across a rolling landscape of woodland and farmland in the late 1990s.
I don't think the Bracken @ Woodhall gets the credit it truly deserves. I have played this probably around 10 times in the past two years and had it not been next door to a masterclass of British heath land, it could've easily found itself in the top 100 rankings.
The condition of the course is always good and the greens always roll well. It provides a good contrast to the course next door being quite different but does have hints of Woodhall Spa attached.
I think the class of the course really shows early on with the third hole being a great test of a typical risk reward par 5 that long hitters will surely fancy. Followed by a difficult long par 3 to a deceiving green.
The par fives here are a great test not being easy to take advantage of and the par 3's are very good looking with examples of 7 and 16 with water hazards well into play with the elements often exposed to these holes.
My personal favourite is the 8th. Although not much from the tee, it provides an amazing test of club selection depending which tee you play off whether you try to take advantage of leaving yourself a very short club in or a mid iron with the dikes in play down the left and cutting across. A dike short of the green and small pond short left takes away getting the big stick out for the longer hitters but is one often underestimated looking at the scorecard.
Overall I would recommend this to anyone attempting to stay and play as it truly is one worth playing alongside the Hotchkin
The Bracken course provides a contrasting challenge to the Hotchkin. On this more modern layout you will find large undulating greens and water hazards the main obstacles to putting a good score together.
Donald Steel, one of Britain’s foremost golf course architects of the modern era, has created an interesting routing that has the majority of the back-nine inside the outer front-nine. The terrain that the course is played over is a pleasant mix of woodland and more arable ground that is habitat to a variety of wildlife.
The bunkering certainly isn’t as severe and at times the fairways are more generous but some of the holes are also tree-lined and require even more accuracy than the Hotchkin. The Bracken is contemporary in nature and complements its elder sibling nicely.
The beauty of having two courses is that Woodhall Spa becomes an ideal destination for players seeking a short break. With the contrasting variety of both courses a big draw and an overnight stay in the Edwardian town of Woodhall Spa, literally on the doorstep, it’s no wonder so many serious golfers flock to the heart of Lincolnshire to play and stay here.
Ed is the founder of Golf Empire – click the link to read his full review.