Woodhall Spa (Hotchkin) - Lincolnshire - England

Woodhall Spa Golf Club,
The Broadway,
Woodhall Spa,
Lincs,
LN10 6PU,
England


  • +44 (0)1526 352511

  • Golf Club Website

  • 19 miles SE of Lincoln

  • Contact in advance - handicap certificate required


Visit Golfbreaks.com for a golf holiday at Woodhall Spa (Hotchkin)

The Hotchkin course at Woodhall Spa invariably fights with Loch Lomond and Sunningdale Old for the coveted position of “best inland golf course” in the British Isles. Originally, Harry Vardon laid out the course and it opened for play in 1905. Harry Colt, just before the Great War, made further modifications to the layout. But in the 1920s, the owner, Colonel S.V. Hotchkin, put the course through one last major redesign phase before the Hotchkin finally matured into its present layout. The English Golf Union purchased Woodhall Spa in 1995 for a reputed £8m and turned it into their headquarters.

An oasis in the heart of Lincolnshire. Set amongst glorious pine, birch and broom, this heathland course is an absolute delight to play. The sandy subsoil allows all-year-round golf, the springy turf making walking a real pleasure. Keep your ball in play and do your best to avoid the heather, gorse and bunkers. See if you can copy the feat of J.A. Wilson (8 h/cap) and his opponent L.D. Henshaw (12 h/cap). In 1982, Wilson holed in one at the 12th (a beautiful, long par three) but only managed a half because Henshaw also holed in one. Apparently they were hurrying their shots too because they had just been invited to play through. The four-ball standing behind the green were gobsmacked!

The Hotchkin is bunker heaven (or hell), notorious for its deep, cavernous sand traps. It is also helpful if you can hit the ball long and straight. Otherwise you will be presented with some very tough second shots. Woodhall Spa isn’t a tournament course, but it is supremely challenging and plays host to a number of distinguished national and international amateur competitions.

Many important matches have been decided on its famous 18th hole. This 540-yard par five finishing hole typifies what is so special about Woodhall Spa. If we can strike the ball with solidity off the tee and avoid the hazards, then we give ourselves a chance of scoring well. We can see the flag clearly in the distance but the drive is tight. We must land left of the sentry oak, but not too far left, otherwise we will be bunkered. We must be dead straight in order to find the crisp, sandy fairway and if we achieve all these things, and if we are a stout hitter, we may be tempted to go for the green with our second shot. It is tempting - the route to the green is visible but is protected by bunkers and there's a swale guarding its right flank. What can we say? “Go for it” perhaps?

It is definitely worth making the trip to play this gem and the green fee is tremendous value for money too (especially if you are a member of an English golf club). And remember - the Hotchkin is undoubtedly one of the premier inland courses in the whole of the British Isles. Can you afford not to play it?

In 2016 Tom Doak was hired to advise Woodhall Spa on a development plan that includes tree clearance and “generally removing visual clutter so that the unique bunkering can dominate the views”. Additionally bunker faces will be reconstructed to ease maintenance. The schedule of works was due to be completed by 2022, but we received an update from Tim, a Woodhall Spa member, in February 2017:

"The work Tom Doak is doing has been speeded up and should be completed by 2019. All bunkers are being remodeled, many that had disappeared are being reinstated and a small number of obsolete ones are being removed. Huge areas of undergrowth have been cleared so that the feel of an old fashioned heath with far reaching views across the course are being brought back. Although only holes 7,8,9,10,11 and 13 have been done so far, the changes are fantastic and when completed will elevate Woodhall further from its already lofty position. Some of the holes (still to be completed) will have significant work done to the greens and also the position of the tees."

Tim contacted us again in February 2018: "“The second phase of the three-year renovation program at Woodhall Spa is nearly complete. The changes this year are to holes 5, 6, 12, 14, 16 and 17. The changes to the two par fives (6 and 14) are particularly dramatic. Many trees have been removed. Many old bunkers have been reinstated and the visual impact of these changes are striking.”

If the above article is inaccurate, please let us know by clicking here

Write a review

Reviews for Woodhall Spa (Hotchkin)

Average Reviewers Score:
Description: Woodhall Spa Golf Club is an oasis in the heart of Lincolnshire, set amongst glorious pine, birch and broom, this heathland golf course is an absolute delight to play. Rating: 8.6 out of 10 Reviews: 95
TaylorMade
Martyn Rees
Never will a golfer stand on so many tees and think 'oh my god'. All you see in front of you is an average of 180 yards of heather between you and the fairway, heather down either side and bunkers so deep that you are just glad to get your ball out. Getting out and reaching the green is rarely an option.Having played it many times I know you have as much chance of walking off with 20 points as you have walking off with 36. The course teaches you to take your punishment ie: knock it back on the fairway use your shots and move on. If you can stay out of trouble you will have the round of your life.Having said this I don't think I have ever finished a round and not wanted to get back out on the first tee and start again. Being the home of the E.G.U. the course is always in superb condition and the holes on the course look fantastic.The clubhouse has a real traditional feel to it and the staff from the catering to the shop to the starters are always friendly and welcoming.
January 20, 2010
10 / 10
Woodhall Spa (Hotchkin)
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful

Response
John Garrett
Is this the best inland course in England ? I would definitely say yes but then I've played the Hotchkin dozens of times and it never fails to impress. From the cavernous bunkers to the impenetrable heather and the immaculate greens it's a 'delight' from start to finish. And then the home made treacle tart for lunch, I've found heaven.....
January 19, 2010
10 / 10
Woodhall Spa (Hotchkin)
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful

Response
Campbell Hall
I played the Hotchkin at Woodhall Spa yesterday, before setting off I considered phoning the course to check if it would be open due to the torrential rain on Saturday evening. I needn't have worried, the course was immaculate, not a puddle in sight. I really enjoyed everything about the day, the unpretentious nature of the place, the condition and layout of the course and also the value for money - £45 absolute bargain. Some reviewers say the course is a bit flat, this is a fair point, however the way the bunkers are laid out makes for a challenging round. There is a real variation between the holes, some short par 4's which require an iron of the tee, mix up the round nicely.When you're out on the course you have a real feeling of seclusion and being away from it all, I really value this in a golf course and it's quite hard to find in England. All in all well worth a visit.
November 16, 2009
8 / 10
Woodhall Spa (Hotchkin)
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful

Response
Paul Miller
Let me first say that this is a fine course. However, when something is ranked so highly your expectations are naturally very high. For me, these were not met and would place courses such as Notts (Hollinwell), Alwoodley and Moortown higher than Woodhall. It is definitely worth playing but if you have played the courses above don't expect it to be on a level above.
September 27, 2009
6 / 10
Woodhall Spa (Hotchkin)
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful

Response
Vorndron
Played the Hotchkin for the 2nd time and had forgotten how good the course is epecially the back 9. Playing partners commented how fair but tough the course was. Greens were a little on the slow side but very true. Excellent venue and not over crowded. Will definatley go back and is a must play for £67.50 summer green fee.
September 08, 2009
8 / 10
Woodhall Spa (Hotchkin)
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful

Response
steve
played woodhall twice april 08 and 09 on a winter tariff.each time we played the course was very well presented.keep it on the fairways and greens and its straight forward.go off line,heather and bunkers will get you.it really is great value and has to be one of THE best courses to play,definately up there with your other top courses and you dont pay a premium either.top notch.
September 01, 2009
10 / 10
Woodhall Spa (Hotchkin)
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful

Response
Paul Eeles
Played in May 09 a wonderful course and tough as old boots. The bunkers in particular were incredible! Excellent setting and beautiful countryside make this one to remember. You will need your A game to score well here and anything other than straight is punished, rightly.
July 30, 2009
8 / 10
Woodhall Spa (Hotchkin)
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful

Response
Dan Hare
I can't understand the attitude of the persistently bitter "low ranker" (cf Seinfeld) below me. Played the Bracken in June and booking was easy, were very welcome at the club, and had a very friendly starter. Greens quick but true, mental bunkering but fair from the tee, tricky heathery rough, beautiful turf for hitting approaches from. Lipped out birdie putt on SI 1 hole, and felt like shouting with joy - great hole, but there would have been no-one to hear, the solitude is great. Getting there is a pain in the arse, but that isn't the course's fault. Has a gentle opening hole, and after that felt entirely alone on the course which was immaculately kept but very challenging - v hard to judge recoveries from heather, they either die into a bunker or shoot through the green...into a different bunker. if you can't play out of bunkers go somewhere else (maybe this applies to the low ranker ?) but if you can you will love Woodhall Spa. We got lightninged and rained off the course after 14 so are duty bound to return - cannot wait ! The £65 green fee is a steal. Low ranker compares unfavourably to Lahinch (haven't played, but in Ireland and £90-100 a round plus travel) and Royal Lytham (played it, enjoyed but almost uplayable in the wind with tined rough - a course with great history yet stuck in the middle of a housing estate with chav routes across the course - £110). I disagree - go to Woodhall Spa when you get a chance, lovely course. dan
July 10, 2009
10 / 10
Woodhall Spa (Hotchkin)
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful

Response
stephen voce
After fierce criticism of my review last year i was relieved to see this course has dropped from 9th to 14th.I played it again in the middle of June and still believe my original review to be accurate.I cannot believe its above Lahinch and Royal Lytham and hopefully in time it`ll drop out of the top twenty!
June 29, 2009
4 / 10
Woodhall Spa (Hotchkin)
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful

Response
Stefan Hindmarsh
I played both the Bracken and Hotchkin on my visit. Firstly I must say that Bracken course is not one to be ignored. For a second course it is very good and in fact I scored less well on it than on the Hotchkin (partly to do with lack of a warm up though!). It weaves between trees and provides some challenging holes in places like the 4th, 8th, 14th, 16th (possibly the hardest par three I played as the green is very narrow and when I played it, it was into a 3 club wind!). However the main course the Hotchkin is a delight. Quite narrow and plenty of sand (however fortunately I did not encounter much.) There are no weak holes on the course as the deep heather and sand provides plenty of challenge. Although sometimes said to be flat as a pancake the greens were actually very deceptive and only a handful of putts were holed in our fourball throughout the round (although putting is my worse aspect of my game the others weren't bad!). However despite the courses many awards and claims to brilliance for me it did actually lack that little spark. No doubt it is a fantastic course and the weather was a bit dull, but it didn't get my heart racing… it is quite hard to put but I hope I am getting my point across! One minor critisism is that the welcome although also fine seemed a bit robotic and cold however bar staff were fantastic! But as I payed £35 in June for both courses (on a junior rate) I cannot complain a single bit (even though I have!!!)
June 23, 2009
8 / 10
Woodhall Spa (Hotchkin)
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful

Response