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Sean_A

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WOODHALL SPA GC: A Penal Paradise Revisited
« on: June 02, 2016, 06:34:21 PM »




Picturesque Woodhall Spa was flooded with serviceman during WWII and is probably most well known as base of operations for RAF 617 Squadron.  The squadron was created with its main task of attacking three dams in the industrial Ruhr region of Germany in Operation Chastise, hence the nickname of the outfit was Dam Busters.  Only two of the dams were breached during the operation, but that was enough to cause horrific flooding of the Ruhr Valley and considered to be a highly successful mission. Of course, the Germans were well aware of Woodhall Spa as a base of operations.  Three months after Operation Chastise Woodhall Spa was hit by a parachute mine destroying most of the Royal Square which included the Victorian Royal Hydro Hotel and the Winter Gardens.  Luckily only two civilians were killed. What remains of the hotel became The Mall, a rather large pub.


The remainder of the site was used to erect the Dam Buster Memorial.






In a place like Woodhall Spa it would be unimaginable for there to be no Conservative Club.


Purchased for a reported hefty sum in 1995, Woodhall Spa is now the headquarters for England Golf.  Long considered one of the top inland courses in the UK, Woodhall enjoys an immense reputation as one of the toughest and best bunkered courses in the land.   It is reputed that one or two of the bunkers are deep enough to house a double decker bus!  However fierce the bunkers may be, there can be no doubt of their attractive nature and how well they tie the heather, broom and birch wings into the overall design.  Darwin was very taken by the bunkers and wrote in Country Life (1927), "The sand is fine and there is an unlimited quantity of it, with the result that the bunkers are on a seaside and magnificent scale.  What impressed me most of all was that this course beautifully natural, is, in a sense, completely artificial." 

Set in deepest Lincolnshire, beyond the famed Fens, Woodhall takes some getting to, but most people consider the trip well worth while.  Originally designed by Harry Vardon and bunkered by JH Taylor while both were still near the top of the game, Woodhall opened for play in 1905.  Stafford Vere Hotchkin not only offered the land at a reasonable yearly rent, but also provided significant financial support for the fledgling club until assuming full responsibility for the course in December 1919. Vardon's canvas would soon see alterations and in 1911 Colt suggested recommendations involving all 18 holes. It is clear the present out and back routing is Colt's. Colt also incorporated new holes into the design and the devestating nature of the bunkers began to take shape.  Although, it was Hotchkin who is most responsible for the awesome size and depth of the bunkers. After Hotchkin's death, his son Neil, broke up many bunkers and dug some deeper still. Unfortunately, trees were also to flourish under Neil's management. By the summer of 1914 the Colt changes were complete.

The next phase of change came not long after Hotchkin assumed responsibility for the course.  Having worked closely with Vardon, Colt and a few visiting professionals, Hotchkin tackled the task of creating the demanding test he envisioned.  Let us not forget that Hotchkin was no mere dabbler in design.  He was later to be a member of a successful partnership with CK Hutchison and G Campbell.  In 1922 (and continuing well into the 1950s) Hotchkin worked on the principles below:

1. To create a course more penal in nature (which Woodhall Spa is to this day)
2. Create true bunker hazards through depth
3. Relocate greens
4. Keep the course sympathetic to its natural surrounding
5. Create testing green entrances

The biggest changes to the course from the 1950s onward was the encroachment of trees, gorse and heather.  Views across the course in the 30s and prior were quite extensive whereas Woodhall Spa became quite congested until the recent tree removal by Renaissance Design.   Additionally, despite the multitude of bunkers today, the actual number has been significantly reduced from a peak of approximately 160 to 125 after the Renaissance work.  One might correctly assume that with a penal design philosophy at its core, Woodhall would make a good venue for high level events.  Scores of men's and ladies events have taken place at Woodhall, but the pride of place must be the four times The Brabazon Trophy and six times the English Amateur has been contested at Woodhall.  I can only assume the Brabazon Trophy is due to be held at Woodhall sometime in the near future.  The 1967 English Amateur victory by Michael Bonallock  helped create one of the most impressive amateur records in golf history; a smattering of Lytham and Berkshire Trophy wins, four Brabazon Trophies, five English Amateur victories, five Open Amateur titles and 9 Walker Cup appearances...including Captaining the side in 1969 and 1971.



#1...a shortish straight-away par 4...innocent enough. 


Approach, before and after Renaissance work.




Another straight hole, but at 401 yards the 2nd is much longer than the first.  The drive zone on the second was considerably narrowed with the introduction of a large bunker down the right in the 1970s..since split into two pits.  Viewing the left bunker, it is clear the bunker profile of the new work is important.


Another bunker up the left.




Still heading away from the house, the third is a long, difficult hole with an obscured tee shot.  A large carry bunker was removed in the 1970s.  The large bunker short and right of the green was once one mammoth pit reduced split in the 1990s, but now it looks to be one larger bunker.   Below is the approach after a poor drive right.


As is evident, the drive zone is tight.  Most of the round will require the same decision-making of threading a needle or laying back.  The gulley feeding the bunker is the sort of feature that is often forgotten at Woodhall.


A look at the raised green tucked beyond a dip in the fairway.  With a hole located on the front of the green the only way for handicap players to get close is to bump into the dip.




The excellent fourth turns back on the previous three and bends a bit left. 


The fairly short par 3 fifth requires a very precise iron to a diagonal green.  A version of pot bunkers left of the green. An issue with not filling the entire pit with sand is some horrible downhill lies can be had if the grass isn't cut fairly short. 


More to follow.

Ciao
« Last Edit: September 17, 2022, 05:36:50 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, Malone, Cruit Island & St Pats

Tommy Williamsen

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Re: WOODHALL SPA: A Penal Paradise 1-5
« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2016, 07:25:44 PM »
I was privileged to play the Hotchkin course with Richard Latham who is GM at the national golf centre. He is as knowledgeable about the course as anyone and a delight to speak with. He wrote an excellent book about the evolution of the course. I know that the course is difficult but if you can stay out of the bunkers it is an exciting course and thrilling to play.


http://www.richardlathamgolfbooks.com/books


Photo thread I did years ago.


http://golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,37897.0.html
« Last Edit: June 03, 2016, 10:25:42 AM by Tommy Williamsen »
Tom Williamsen
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Tim Gallant

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Re: WOODHALL SPA: A Penal Paradise 1-5
« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2016, 03:02:52 AM »
Sean, great write-up, and I look forward to reading more. Woodhall Spa (Hotchkin) is one of my favourite courses in England that I have played, and would put it right up there with other inland supremes.


Question: I know Tom Doak will be doing some work to the course, does anyone know what he will be looking at? Is it restoring some of the bunker depth / shape?

Tony_Muldoon

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Re: WOODHALL SPA: A Penal Paradise 1-5
« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2016, 03:46:34 AM »
Iím pleased to have been there but really not that wowed.

Lovely to look at and amazingly huge PITS, that sit well on the generous frame. But interactions quickly become repetitive. Plus thereís been a lot of work done and all of it has been to take character out of what for me should be the main attractions. Vies with Hankley for the title of UK Dumb Blonde Miss.

A long way to go when thereís more interesting options hanging out together all over these islands.
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Adam Lawrence

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Re: WOODHALL SPA: A Penal Paradise 1-5
« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2016, 04:35:57 AM »
Richard has done a ton of research into Woodhall's history and has proved beyond doubt that the famous bunkers as we know them were the creation of Neil Hotchkin, the Colonel's son, who owned the course until he sold it to the EGU in 1995.
Adam Lawrence

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Sean_A

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Re: WOODHALL SPA: A Penal Paradise 1-5
« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2016, 06:10:28 AM »
Spangles, I understand your reticence concerning Woodhall. 

Tim...I hope Doak restores some of the larger bunkers by combining smaller ones.  In particular, the corner bunker on 7 is crying out for restoration.

WOODHALL SPA TOUR CONT

The 6th is interesting from a card philosophy perspective.  This par 4 is one of two which are listed as par 5s from the back tees; the 18th is the other.  As the Hotchkin family prided themselves in building a tough test for amateurs, I am somewhat surprised these two holes aren't played from the daily tees as long par 4s, thus reducing the course par from 73 to 71.  Whatever one's opinion on this issue, at 464 yards the 6th is a tough nut to crack.  As with nearly every hole, the fairway has been narrowed and bunker size reduced, the effect is this may play a bit easier than in the past....thank heaven! 


A no prisoners approach to design.  The green is protected by two forward bunkers so most golfers will have to run the gaunlet to reach the green in two...it may be wise to lay-up. The green is subtle, but runs dangerously away from play on the right. I did take care to pay special attention to the greens after T Doak stated there is more than meets the eye.  I must admit that the greens are better than I previously thought.


The 7th is an excellent hole swinging well right.  The inside line has been much improved with recent bunker work and tree removal. However, I wonder if this is a good opportunity to slam a huge bunker on the corner? It seems to me that if a course is primarily known for its bunkers, and Woodhall Spa rightfully is, why not do all possible to enhance this reputation with a visual representation of Dante's Inferno?   Before and after the Renaissance work. 




The approach after a pushed drive.


The long one-shot 8th turns back on the previous hole and heads west.  One might have thought that after two big par 4s it was time for a break, but that wouldn't be the Woodhall Spa way.  Regardless of the rhythm of the round, these holes are top notch and a primer on how to create interest from land which is essentially flat. Below is a 1935 aerial of the 8th.




This closer look at the 8th green. 


Woodhall does have some Victorian mounding features which are highly attractive.


Running east, the 9th is comfortably the best par 5 on the course.  If playing downwind some players may be concerned by the broken fairway, but unless played into the wind, this hole should seem like a break after the onslaught of 6 through 8.


One of the more interesting greens on the course, this hole location is particularly difficult.




The lovely and surprisingly difficult 10th takes us to the far eastern end of the property and is the first of three short par 4s on the back nine.  The green is elegantly tucked into a corner of the property, a design trait I very much admire.  Despite the card telling us the two nines are very balanced in terms of yardage, most will feel the back nine plays much shorter and requires more obvious tactics regarding how to tackle the less expansive holes.




Back to hard graft on the 11th.  Another 400+ yard two-shotter, one of Woodhall's seven.  Part of a 130 mile footpath, the Viking Way cuts through holes 11, 12, 13 & 15.  The counties of Lincolnshire, Humberside and Leicestershire adopted the footpath named so because Danes occupied the area around 800AD.  The fairway is bisected by earthworks.  The false front dome like green is also of interest.


We are now set up for stunning set piece in the 12th, the final par three of an outstanding set.  More straight-forward than the 5th, yet pure joy to behold let alone play.  Strange that very few people mention Woodhall's threes as among the best sets in the country. During a club knockout match in 1982 this hole was halved in one!  Before & after.




The thirteenth commences the long road home.  Despite a few good holes, it is fair to say the course isn't quite as interesting from this point forward.  I believe the main reasons for this are threefold. 

1. The necessary similarity of penal design holes, in the case of Woodhall, the relentess left/right/cross bunkering with heavy rough.

2. The uneven rhythm of the course.  The front nine is loaded with tough par 4s, the back nine with more concise 4s and a lack of par 3s to even out the mismatch. 

3. Holes 14-16 and much of 17 are on the part of the property which is clay base.  These holes suffer in comparison to the other holes where drainage is concerned. 

I admired the stark bunkering prior to the renovation.  While the bunkers are now more conventional, they are better integrated into surrounding texture of the property without suffering from being dumbed down in terms of difficulty.  Below is the right fairway bunker looking back to the tee.


It seems to me that the long 14th is not in character with the remainder of the course. It feels more like parkland.  A short and thrilling two-shotter, 15 moves right between bunkers then confronts the golfers with islands of sand, cutting off the ground approach to a slippery fall-away green.  The new bunkering is a vast improvement. Before and after.






The tree clearance for the final three holes is striking, especially the 17th. The 16th is growing on me! The earthworks short of the green are a welcome change to bunkers defending the putting surface. 


The approach to the raised 17th green is now much more evident without tree congestion.  There is more fairway right than it looks from the tee, but its easy to stray too far right as the fairway leans that way.


The home hole is a monster par 4 featuring loads of sand for the tee shot. The green moves away from play making for a difficult decision as to where to land the approach. 


That then is Woodhall Spa, much maligned in recent years on this site.  I think most fail to read this course on its own terms as a purposely penal design and therefore all the baggage that comes with penal architecture.  There can be no question Hotchkin succeeded magnificently in creating a beautiful course which blends perfectly into the surrounds and offers a stern challenge for amateurs.  The front nine stands as tall as most any nine in the British Isles and for this reason alone it makes perfect sense to make the journey ascross the Fens. The recent Renaissance renovation has unquestionably improved the course by highlighting the design features with the elimination of trees. Woodhall Spa now takes its rightful place among the best inland courses northern England has to offer.  2022

Ciao
« Last Edit: May 05, 2022, 07:46:24 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, Malone, Cruit Island & St Pats

John Sabino

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Re: WOODHALL SPA: A Penal Paradise
« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2016, 08:04:05 AM »
Sean - Thanks for posting. Can't get enough of Woodhall Spa, there is something magical about the place in my view. I put it up there with Sunningdale in terms of fabulous heathland courses. Agree with you completely, among the best set of par threes in the game. I didn't know that Colt was involved in the routing. John
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Mark Pearce

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Re: WOODHALL SPA: A Penal Paradise 1-5
« Reply #7 on: June 03, 2016, 08:20:06 AM »
Iím pleased to have been there but really not that wowed.

Lovely to look at and amazingly huge PITS, that sit well on the generous frame. But interactions quickly become repetitive. Plus thereís been a lot of work done and all of it has been to take character out of what for me should be the main attractions. Vies with Hankley for the title of UK Dumb Blonde Miss.

A long way to go when thereís more interesting options hanging out together all over these islands.
I think I agree with every word of this, Tony.  Exactly how I feel (about both courses!)
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Adam Lawrence

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Re: WOODHALL SPA: A Penal Paradise
« Reply #8 on: June 03, 2016, 08:24:58 AM »
Sean - Thanks for posting. Can't get enough of Woodhall Spa, there is something magical about the place in my view. I put it up there with Sunningdale in terms of fabulous heathland courses. Agree with you completely, among the best set of par threes in the game. I didn't know that Colt was involved in the routing. John


Woodhall is lovely but you must not care much about greens if you think it's up with Sunningdale. They must be the flattest set of greens on any world-ranked course.
Adam Lawrence

Editor, Golf Course Architecture
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Short words are best, and the old words, when short, are the best of all.

Sean_A

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Re: WOODHALL SPA: A Penal Paradise
« Reply #9 on: June 03, 2016, 08:40:53 AM »
Sean - Thanks for posting. Can't get enough of Woodhall Spa, there is something magical about the place in my view. I put it up there with Sunningdale in terms of fabulous heathland courses. Agree with you completely, among the best set of par threes in the game. I didn't know that Colt was involved in the routing. John

While very distinctive, the course lacks variety and perhaps if the greens were more interesting I could more easily ignore the lack of tee to green variety.  I still think Woodhall Spa is an excellent partner with Seacroft as the two make an interesting study in moorland/links architecture.

Another interesting contrast in bunker styles is with Little Aston.  Like Woodhall, LA has loads of bunkers, but many more than at Woodhall are provacatively placed.   

Ciao 
« Last Edit: September 23, 2020, 02:32:09 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, Malone, Cruit Island & St Pats

Thomas Dai

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Re: WOODHALL SPA: A Penal Paradise
« Reply #10 on: June 03, 2016, 09:09:53 AM »
Thanks for the tour Sean.


I'm curious as to exactly how much work Harry Colt was 'allowed' to do at Woodhall Spa as comments akin to flattish greens without much interest is not what you expect to hear of a course with a Colt involvement.


Although the thread ended up being more about Pennard and synthetic bunker faces there are some comments from Tom Doak here about the work envisaged at Woodhall Spa -


http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,62493.0.html


And also here - http://www.golfcoursearchitecture.net/content/tom-doak-to-advise-on-national-golf-centre-development-plan


Atb

Tommy Williamsen

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Re: WOODHALL SPA: A Penal Paradise
« Reply #11 on: June 03, 2016, 10:28:37 AM »
I suspect that if the greens had much more slope folks would complain that the course was hard enough why make the greens difficult?  I found it nice that recovery from the bunkers was easier because I could make some longer putts.
Tom Williamsen
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St. John of the Cross

Sean_A

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Re: WOODHALL SPA: A Penal Paradise
« Reply #12 on: June 04, 2016, 07:32:23 PM »
Tommy

I reckon that if the fairways had more movement and/or the greens more interest I could more easily overlook the more penal nature of the design.  Don't get me wrong, I don't mind penal architecture, but I reckon that style makes it harder to create 18 hole interest.

Lets hope Doak can convince the club to push the fairways out, push back the rough, cut some trees and create more shape to the short grass.

Ciao
« Last Edit: September 29, 2020, 02:51:12 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, Malone, Cruit Island & St Pats

Tom_Doak

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Re: WOODHALL SPA: A Penal Paradise
« Reply #13 on: June 04, 2016, 08:51:05 PM »

Lets hope Doak can convince the club to push the fairways out, push back the rough, cut some trees and create more shape to the short grass.



Most of these are on my list, especially trees.  They've already started changing the shapes of the greens, too ... I found many places where hole locations could get more behind the bunkers or fall off into trouble at the back.


The greens are not undulating, but they are not as flat as advertised here.  I guess some ARE flat, in the sense that they aren't built up at the back much to help hold a shot on the green ... in fact quite a few fall away slightly at the back.


One thing I was asked to consider was moving the tee at the 5th over to the alternate right-hand tee, because the current tee on the left is such a dangerous spot ... you can be hit by approaches at the 2nd and/or the 4th.  If we do remove that tee, I think we'll have to make a bit of changes to the 5th green and take out some of the bunker at the back left, but it looked like we could make an appealing diagonal shot into the green which would give it a different character than the other short holes.


The main reason we were hired, though, is to rebuild the bunkers so they can be maintained more easily.  Many of them were dug deeper 20-30 years ago without any consideration of maintenance, and the faces are so steep and sand-splashed that the grass struggles to survive.  Re-combining some of the smaller bunkers into bigger ones will help that.


One other note of historical interest ... Richard Latham was informed by an old RAF guy from the nearby air base that the cross bunker in the approach on #8 is actually the result of a bomb being unstuck from the bomb bay just before one of their planes landed back at home.


We will do our first bit of work there in November and December, probably on the holes at the far end of the course [9-12 or a couple more].

Adam Lawrence

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Re: WOODHALL SPA: A Penal Paradise
« Reply #14 on: June 05, 2016, 03:41:38 AM »
As a matter of interest Richard just this week won the English Seniors' championship for the second time.
Adam Lawrence

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www.golfcoursearchitecture.net

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Short words are best, and the old words, when short, are the best of all.

Sean_A

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Re: WOODHALL SPA: A Penal Paradise
« Reply #15 on: June 05, 2016, 03:43:07 AM »
These kind of debates are always interesting.  I think Woodhall would be a far more enjoyable game of golf if the fairways were pushed out 15 yards on average without moving bunkers except to re-combine smaller pits into larger pits and trees removed.

I have never been to Pine Valley, but I always imagine that for the most part they get it right for penal design.  Pretty wide fairways which can't be missed.  Woodhall's are at best average width (I would say in the 30 yard range) which can't be missed. 

Ciao
« Last Edit: September 23, 2020, 02:37:25 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, Malone, Cruit Island & St Pats

Tim Gallant

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Re: WOODHALL SPA: A Penal Paradise
« Reply #16 on: June 05, 2016, 04:10:32 AM »


Sean,


What did you think of the approach carries over heather on certain holes (11, and a bit on 16)? I quite like this as it adds visual interest to the hole, and means mishit approaches are penalised, but not in the same way as a pond for example. I am also thinking of the approach on the 6th of the Old Course at Sunningdale.


Sean_A

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Re: WOODHALL SPA: A Penal Paradise
« Reply #17 on: June 05, 2016, 04:44:55 AM »
Personally, penal carries which are well short of the green and leave kick in room are probably my favourite type of penal hazard...13 is a good example of the type.  This is one aspect of Woodhall which is not fully exploited because the fairways aren't wide enough to allow for carrying some of the wing bunkers short of greens.  If 15 yards were added to the fairways, the bunker scheme would be a very different animal.

Ciao
« Last Edit: September 04, 2018, 07:02:50 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, Malone, Cruit Island & St Pats

Mark Chaplin

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Re: WOODHALL SPA: A Penal Paradise
« Reply #18 on: June 05, 2016, 05:19:20 AM »
Where Woodhall Spa does win is in being a great place for a group golf trip, it's a small town and you can walk everywhere. There's enough watering and feeding venues to keep a group amused for 3 days. The secret is to negotiate 3 rounds on the old course and ignore the other one.

Looking forward to seeing how modern techniques and ideas can improve a heathland classic.
Cave Nil Vino

Thomas Dai

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Re: WOODHALL SPA: A Penal Paradise
« Reply #19 on: June 05, 2016, 05:42:38 AM »
One other note of historical interest ... Richard Latham was informed by an old RAF guy from the nearby air base that the cross bunker in the approach on #8 is actually the result of a bomb being unstuck from the bomb bay just before one of their planes landed back at home.


The famous WWII RAF Dambusters squadron was apparently based at Woodhall Spa airfield and One of the hotels in town was the Officers quarters.


Atb

Sean_A

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Re: WOODHALL SPA: A Penal Paradise
« Reply #20 on: June 08, 2016, 08:03:57 PM »
The Dambusters Officers Mess was in the Petwood Hotel at the end of the war....its a very cool bar now.  Next door is an attractive snooker room. 

I am in Chapper's camp.  Woodhall Is a favourable place to stay for a few nights.

Ciao
« Last Edit: January 01, 2018, 08:32:43 PM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, Malone, Cruit Island & St Pats

James Boon

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Re: WOODHALL SPA: A Penal Paradise
« Reply #21 on: June 09, 2016, 03:24:18 AM »
Thanks for the tour Sean,

617 Squadron "The Dambusters" started at Scampton for their most famous mission, before moving to Coningsby, then Woodhall Spa towards the end of the war. As Sean says the bar at the Petwood was the officers mess by this time, but before that they would often head into Nottingham and the Black Boy pub (now demolished) was a favourite if I recall correctly. Anyone visiting Woodhall should look for the memorial in the village centre.

I played in our club match (at our place this time) against Woodhall Spa this weekend just gone and the members I spoke to are excited about the work to be done.

I look forward to seeing the work, as I still have mixed feelings about the Hotchkin course. I love the setting but feel much of its reputation comes from the challenge, and when I've been lucky to play from the white's thats certainly the case. But I've also now played a few times from the yellow tees or the winter tees which most visitors are asked to play from and the challenge just isnt as great from there, with much of the back nine feeling like a fairway wood followed by a short iron, and repeat... Which certainly isnt the case from the tees further back!

Cheers,

James
2022 Highlights: Hollinwell (Notts), Brora, Reay, Ganton, Burnham & Berrow, Royal Dornoch, Woodhall Spa

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Jon Wiggett

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Re: WOODHALL SPA: A Penal Paradise
« Reply #22 on: June 10, 2016, 01:26:52 PM »


The main reason we were hired, though, is to rebuild the bunkers so they can be maintained more easily.  Many of them were dug deeper 20-30 years ago without any consideration of maintenance, and the faces are so steep and sand-splashed that the grass struggles to survive.  Re-combining some of the smaller bunkers into bigger ones will help that.




Tom,


it will be interesting to see what you do with the course and if you are able to elevate the quality of the holes from the 13th inwards to match the holes preceding them. As to the bunkers, I cannot say if the bunkers have been made any deeper since I last played there some 25 years ago though I would be surprised as many were already very deep at that time. I would be surprised if the problem is the steepness as they were vertical and pristine when I played. I would imagine the fact that 2-stroke flymos are now not allowed might be more relevant coupled with the fact that few clubs have cottened onto the advantages of electric flymos over the 4-stroke variety. Having said that I am sure the HGK is best informed.


Jon

Sean_A

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Re: WOODHALL SPA: A Penal Paradise
« Reply #23 on: June 14, 2016, 04:52:56 AM »


The main reason we were hired, though, is to rebuild the bunkers so they can be maintained more easily.  Many of them were dug deeper 20-30 years ago without any consideration of maintenance, and the faces are so steep and sand-splashed that the grass struggles to survive.  Re-combining some of the smaller bunkers into bigger ones will help that.




Tom,


it will be interesting to see what you do with the course and if you are able to elevate the quality of the holes from the 13th inwards to match the holes preceding them. As to the bunkers, I cannot say if the bunkers have been made any deeper since I last played there some 25 years ago though I would be surprised as many were already very deep at that time. I would be surprised if the problem is the steepness as they were vertical and pristine when I played. I would imagine the fact that 2-stroke flymos are now not allowed might be more relevant coupled with the fact that few clubs have cottened onto the advantages of electric flymos over the 4-stroke variety. Having said that I am sure the HGK is best informed.


Jon

Tom

Does the club think the bunkers walls will collapse?

Ciao
« Last Edit: September 04, 2018, 07:03:27 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, Malone, Cruit Island & St Pats

Tom_Doak

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Re: WOODHALL SPA: A Penal Paradise
« Reply #24 on: June 14, 2016, 07:23:01 AM »

Does the club think the bunkers walls will collapse?



Collapse is not the right word, although there are a couple on the verge of it.  But there are a dozen more that don't have much grass on them at all due to sand splash, so that balls can easily lodge in the face of the bunker ... causing golfers to try to take a stance on the face, which compounds the problem.  In some cases a partial sod wall would help, but that's not the style of Woodhall Spa, and many of the faces are just too big for sod walls to be practical.

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