I am delighted to have joined Woodhall Spa as a Country Member. 1 hour 45 min drive from Sheffield is worth every drop of petrol spent, and then some. This is a class track, ranked as a high as 54th in the World in some publications and fully deserving these lofty heights.
The work that Tom Doak has done is fantastic. The course is heathland perfection. The fairways are generous, but they run fast given the springy turf they are laid out over, but any slightly wayward drive or shot is rewarded by your next shot being out of the bunkers, which line every hole and surround every green with the only exception being the 16th.
The front 9, up to the half way house is more open than the back 9 which wends its way alongside native woodland, with more holes tree lined as a result. This adds a nice balance to the overall round, as you see buzzards (and fighter jets) above you.
I can see that some reviews have felt that the 13th and 14th are the weakest holes. I would argue that there isn't one weak hole on the course. The 13th probably just needs a little more interest around the green and the 14th is short for a par 5, but it does present a great scoring opportunity.
My favourite parts of the course are the fabulous 15th green, in a bowl surrounded by bunkers, it has distinct links like feel to it; the 12th hole, played slightly uphill to a raised narrow green surrounded by deep bunkers left and right; the clever par 3 5th, where the green is 2 tiered (not noticeable off the tee) with deep bunkers awaiting anyone failing to find the putting surface.
The understated golf clubhouse and friendly welcome are just what you want when coming to the home of England Golf.
If you haven't played here, make the journey, stay overnight in the local hotels and then play the Hotchkin again (or the Bracken if you fancy a change). You will not be disappointed.
Date: April 25, 2021