Why You Should Play Golf at Woodhall Spa
Woodhall Spa Golf Club lies in the Lincolnshire countryside, where 36 holes of golf have been crafted to the highest level.
The wonderful thing about visiting this iconic English golf club is that both of the courses exude quality yet offer vastly contrasting experiences.
The National Golf Centre - home of England Golf - is also situated on the premises, further highlighting its significance to the industry.
Having been founded in 1891, the club was purchased in 1995 by the English Golf Union, who are the governing body for male and female amateurs throughout England.
As a consequence of the acquisition, they decided to relocate their headquarters to the site, the aforementioned National Golf Centre.
Considering its entire history spans across more than 130 years, here’s some insight into the early origins of the creation.
In 1890, a nine-hole golf course was opened for play at Woodhall Spa, but the club would not be established until the following year.
In 1902, a proud member of the club - who owned land directly adjacent to the venue - offered an expanse of land to help generate the nine-hole loop into 18 traditional holes.
Harry Vardon, six-time Open Championship winner, was employed as designer and the official opening took place in 1905 - which was celebrated via an exhibition match between Vardon, Harry Colt, J.H. Taylor and James Braid.
After the conflict had concluded from the First World War, Stafford Vere Hotchkin - who gifted the land to the club 17 years earlier - returned to take over management.
A competent golf course architect himself, many holes were remodelled throughout the 1920s and the implementation of 17 new greens was also approved.
Only one green was deemed worthy of staying - the 6th hole - and to this day, the course largely replicates its original rework by Hotchkin.
After his death in 1953, his son Neil Hotchkin, continued his father’s legacy and kept the club for private members only - even insisting that professionals must be invited to play!
Neil would eventually serve as President of the English Golf Union in 1972, which influenced his decision to sell in 1995 as he wanted to ensure the club’s future was long and prosperous.
The English Golf Union wasted no time in leaving their mark and within three years of acquiring the site, a second course was constructed - The Bracken.
The original course, that was the sole layout at Woodhall Spa for 95 years, was labelled The Hotchkin to commemorate the long and extensive history of the previous two owners.
Now you’re familiar with the history of Woodhall Spa, it’s time to talk about their golf courses - where one is ranked within the top 65 within the world.
Let’s start with the younger sibling in The Bracken, a mighty test of golf but its parkland setting is significantly more forgiving than its much older brother.
First and foremost, Donald Steel was called upon to design the layout of The Bracken and it can be best summarised as generous in spells yet demanding.
Both the fairways and the greenside bunkers provide more forgiveness for any errant shots and the greens are large and more approachable.
However, to putt well and subsequently score respectfully, a fine touch will need to be applied as these greens roll fast and true.
Overall, The Bracken is a wonderful test of golf with just enough forgiveness to entice mid-to-high handicappers in giving it a shot - or 12.
Now for the main event, the course that has been standing for a very long time and as a consequence, has built quite the reputation for itself.
The Hotchkin is an otherworldly experience, highlighting why a true heathland course is rarely rivalled for both enjoyment and quality.
Having gained its fame through stunning scenery, lush heather and nightmarish bunkers, nothing but a carefully laid out plan - and successive execution - will be enough to master this iconic layout.
Top 100 Golf Courses currently rank The Hotchkin as the 7th best golf course in England, and the 62nd strongest throughout the entire world - which is quite the compliment.
The Hotchkin has previously hosted the EuroPro Tour and continues to strengthen its global appeal and reputation.
If you wanted to play both courses but on separate days, then local accommodation to the complex will need to be booked as there is no option directly through the golf club.
Having noted that, there are several smaller hotels that are conveniently located to the grounds.
Petwood Hotel is a fantastic option and this 3* building has all the amenities needed to comfortably enjoy your stay.
In total, there are 53 rooms available for hiring and they range from single, double and twin rooms - which are all suitable for travelling golfers.
For an extra element of luxury, there are four poster rooms and a suite if you’re looking to bolster your stay.
An additional bonus is the spa treatment room that is situated on-site, although it is managed independently from the hotel.
Another great choice is The Inn at Woodhall Spa, where a collection of 26 en-suite rooms are available to golfers.
They have all been decorated meticulously and all rooms feature tea making facilities, king-size bed, TV and a telephone.
The en-suite bathrooms come equipped with towels, toiletries and a hairdryer to ensure maximum comfort during your visit.
Considering early records prove that Woodhall Spa has been in establishment since the late 19th century, this revered golf club is dipped in rich history.
From the Hotchkins to the English Golf Union, the sport of golf has been held in high regard and respected by every owner.
Now, nearing the 100-year anniversary of the original rework, Woodhall Spa Golf Club continues to deliver in the most important aspect of them all: the golfing experience.
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