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Sean_A

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Re: WOODHALL SPA: A Penal Paradise
« Reply #25 on: June 14, 2016, 10:23:22 AM »
Isn't the face of a bunker like at Woodhall considered through the green and if plugged one gets a free drop (or is that strictly for revetted bunkers)?  I am not following why bare faces is such a worry if the walls are not in danger of collapsing.


Ciao
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, Malone, Cruit Island & St Pats

Jon Wiggett

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Re: WOODHALL SPA: A Penal Paradise
« Reply #26 on: June 14, 2016, 02:48:31 PM »
Correct Sean, it is through the green. I wonder why they have the problem with the faces now as they did not in the past.

Thomas Dai

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Re: WOODHALL SPA: A Penal Paradise
« Reply #27 on: October 14, 2019, 08:54:02 AM »
Recently I had the pleasure of a couple of rounds on the revised Hotchkin course at Woodhall Spa.
The more open aspect nature of the course following the tree and scrub removal is terrific as is the opening-up of the sandy areas, the revised bunkering and other tweaks and changes. Well done to all the guys and gals at Renaissance Golf and the Woodhall Spa greenstaff who participated in the work.
As to the courses playability, it was particularly enjoyable to play a course where angles (and thus strategy) are once again important. An aspect of the game that unfortunately seems to have been lost over the last few decades.
Now the Hotchkin course is laid out over a generally pretty flat area of terrain so photos taken from the ground may not show that much. Nevertheless in an attempt to indicate how the course now looks in relation to many decades ago here are some photos deliberately converted into b&w (ie how the course would once have been seen/photo'd many decades ago).
atb
Below - looking towards the green from in front of the cross bunkers on the 9th fairway

Below - from 40 or so yards short of the green on the par-3 12th

Below - from front-right of the short par-4 15th

Below - a general view from in front of the 16th tee across the 6th green





Jeff Schley

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Re: WOODHALL SPA: A Penal Paradise
« Reply #28 on: October 14, 2019, 11:38:20 AM »
I hadn't played the old layout, but still felt the layout was demanding. Guys I played with pointed out how many trees and where they took them out and I could only imagine how many fireplaces that wood would have fueled. Lovely setting and remote location adds to the charm. I thought some of the greens were pretty small as well, not sure if those were reclaimed to that size but if so they must have really shrunk.

One odd thing about the course is that they don't offer rental clubs.  My clubs were in a van that got delayed 2 hours from us arriving ahead of it and since they didn't have rental clubs one of our caddies allowed me to use his clubs during the round.
"To give anything less than your best, is to sacrifice your gifts."
- Steve Prefontaine

Daryl David

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Re: WOODHALL SPA: A Penal Paradise
« Reply #29 on: October 14, 2019, 01:10:37 PM »
One odd thing about the course is that they don't offer rental clubs.  My clubs were in a van that got delayed 2 hours from us arriving ahead of it and since they didn't have rental clubs one of our caddies allowed me to use his clubs during the round.


Over the years I have encountered this at several private clubs. In fact my two clubs don't have rental clubs.  If pressed they put together a demo set. 


The solution used by some clubs is to have members who have pre-authorized that their clubs can be used by visitors.  The club charges a fee which goes to the member.  I have encountered some really bizarre sets this way. That said, I think I played my best round on one trip at Kennemer with such a set.  Half men's and half women's Srixon clubs.  The member got 30 Euros.  When I saw the clubs, I felt like he should have paid me to play them.  Not so much when I finished.  All in all, not worth the risk.  That's why I ship clubs on all most every trip. 

Peter Pallotta

Re: WOODHALL SPA: A Penal Paradise
« Reply #30 on: October 14, 2019, 02:29:29 PM »
Thanks, Sean.
Surprised I missed this the first time.
While for me Par 4s are indeed the heart of golf, Par 3s can sometimes come close — if like the 12th here they feature a raised tabletop green with a deep bunker short left.
I’m not sure what appeals to me more in this sublime simplicity, the sublime or the simplicity. I think the latter.
And if Woodhall Spa is an example of penal architecture (and I believe/defer to you that it is), then ‘penal’ has gotten a bad name in the ensuing decades — probably because Americans tend to over-do everything :)
P

« Last Edit: October 14, 2019, 02:32:34 PM by Peter Pallotta »

Thomas Dai

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Re: WOODHALL SPA: A Penal Paradise
« Reply #31 on: October 14, 2019, 03:44:44 PM »
No slight intended folks but the Hotchkin course at Woodhall Spa is a historic and significant course with some damn fine work done recently by a high profile architect and regular contributor herein and yet comments made are about rental clubs. Jeez!
Atb

Jim Sherma

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Re: WOODHALL SPA: A Penal Paradise
« Reply #32 on: October 14, 2019, 09:51:29 PM »

Thomas - I get where you are coming from but I did find this of interest. As someone with limited golf travel to England and the continent this was not something I had heard before. Traveling for private clubs that don’t cater as readily to the masses obviously comes with distinct concerns.


In my 5 golfing trips overseas with clubs I’m batting 80% and n my clubs arriving with me. Thankfully I was planning on not playing for a few days upon arrival that trip.


Woodhall Spa specifically, and inland courses in England generally interest me. Hopefully I get there sooner rather than later.

No slight intended folks but the Hotchkin course at Woodhall Spa is a historic and significant course with some damn fine work done recently by a high profile architect and regular contributor herein and yet comments made are about rental clubs. Jeez!
Atb

James Boon

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Re: WOODHALL SPA: A Penal Paradise
« Reply #33 on: October 15, 2019, 09:01:58 AM »
I've played the Hotchkin at Woodhall a couple of times this year and the work that has been done is very very good.


The one thing which still amazes me, is the difference between the yellow and the white tees? By that I mean how much easier the yellow tees feel compared to the whites?


Whites, 6,921yds, par 73, sss 74
Yellows, 6,519yds, par 71, sss 73


The 6th and 18th change from par 5s to long par 4s on the card, but at times the back nine feels like fairway wood, short iron, repeat, when played from the yellow tees. Its weird because the yellow sss is 2 over par rather than 1 on whites? Perhaps I've been lucky to play a regular club match against them so thats why I've played off the whites quite a bit? But for anyone else who has played both, what do you think?


The deep bunkers have always been the defence at Woodhall. Is it simply because the shorter course means shorter iron approach shots which are (supposedly) more likely to find the green?


Cheers,


James

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

"It celebrates the unadulterated pleasure of being in a dialogue with nature while knocking a ball round on foot." Richard Pennell

Thomas Dai

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Re: WOODHALL SPA: A Penal Paradise
« Reply #34 on: October 15, 2019, 11:56:04 AM »
Your quite correct James. There is a significant difference between the yellows and the whites but at 6,500 yds the yellows are more than enough (maybe by quite a bit) for the vast majority of realistic men (ie not the ego brigade) especially given the forced-carry distance needed to carry to the fairways over the heather on many holes, the more so into a wind. And there are back tees at 7,080 yds.
I did notice a few new tees being built on the course, although whether ladies or forward men’s I’m not sure.

One aspect I particularly liked about the Hotchkin is that there are small forward tees located on the fairway side of the heather which makes the course playable for much shorter hitters. Not much more dispiriting than hitting your best tee shot and not being able to reach the fairway.
Atb

Ben Stephens

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Re: WOODHALL SPA: A Penal Paradise
« Reply #35 on: October 16, 2019, 06:57:43 AM »
Boony,


No mention of how easy the 14th was for you?? Nice EAGLE by the way! - plus the bunkers are still easy for me to get out of!


Having played at Woodhall a number of times in the last 25 or so years and 5 years since I last played it pre Doak changes plus being on site two years ago when Clyde Johnson, Angela Moser, Eric Iverson and Brian Schneider were working on it.


For me it is a completely different course to the one that i was accustomed to. It has opened up due to the huge tree removal programme meaning that target points on the drives have changed and there is very little first cut rough now meaning wider fairways and less rough to stop the ball running into the heather.


Is it better or worse? it is better from a vista standpoint as some holes are easier to see off the tee, more regeneration of the heather due to the removal of trees that don't really belong, course is now more playable for more golfers. I feel it has lost a bit of its bite as a penal course however it looks more pleasing these days.


There are a few areas still not resolved like the wet area near the 15th tee which can be like a swamp in the winter, plus the ground in the rough between 10 + 11 was so uneven and there were temporary tee distance markers. 


Cheers
Ben


I've played the Hotchkin at Woodhall a couple of times this year and the work that has been done is very very good.


The one thing which still amazes me, is the difference between the yellow and the white tees? By that I mean how much easier the yellow tees feel compared to the whites?


Whites, 6,921yds, par 73, sss 74
Yellows, 6,519yds, par 71, sss 73


The 6th and 18th change from par 5s to long par 4s on the card, but at times the back nine feels like fairway wood, short iron, repeat, when played from the yellow tees. Its weird because the yellow sss is 2 over par rather than 1 on whites? Perhaps I've been lucky to play a regular club match against them so thats why I've played off the whites quite a bit? But for anyone else who has played both, what do you think?


The deep bunkers have always been the defence at Woodhall. Is it simply because the shorter course means shorter iron approach shots which are (supposedly) more likely to find the green?


Cheers,


James

Tom_Doak

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Re: WOODHALL SPA: A Penal Paradise
« Reply #36 on: October 16, 2019, 09:16:40 AM »
Ben:


I'm curious how you think the course has lost any of its bite.  We added about 15 bunkers and the main point of widening the fairways was to let balls run to the heather.  I suppose clearing back trees on a few holes has made recovering for a bogey easier, and you shouldn't get as many gnarly lies on bunker faces, but that was the goal of the whole exercise.


We couldn't teally make the bunkers any deeper on 14, there's not much sand down there before you reach clay.


Ben Stephens

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Re: WOODHALL SPA: A Penal Paradise
« Reply #37 on: October 17, 2019, 06:40:10 AM »

Tom,


There are a number of factors why I think it has lost its bite for me. The main ones are:

Removal of trees - for makes the tee shots generally less intimidating - I don't have real issues getting out of heather however if trees are in the way its an issue. Number of examples are:

Hole 1 - Off the tee hitting left was not the ideal opening shot however the trees removed and replaced by bunkers has made it easier and the trees surrounding the green at the rear used to be more intimidating for the player not to hit the ball too long now it is more playable from the rear

Hole 2 - the chute from the tee has now disappeared and opened up the vista making the fairway bunkers more visible however it makes the fairway looks wider

Hole 4 - Any hooks were punished now its mostly heather which is more of a hit or miss in terms of the lie however there is more chance to hit the green

Holes 6, 7, 8 and 9 - Looks so much wider and less intimidating

Hole 13 - used to be the hardest driving hole on the course however with the tree removal on the right it has made the hole more forgiving of the tee even though bunker have been restored here

Holes 14, 15, 16 and 17 - used to be tight now it is all opened up so again less intimidating off the tee.

Hole 18 - feels shorter from the back tee as a number of large trees at the corner have gone and replaced by bunkers.


Bunkers - The access to the bunkers are more sensible from a health and safety standpoint which in other ways makes it less intimidating compared to going down a ladder or small steps on steep banks.

Some bunkers have been pulled away from the green allowing for easier maintenance and access to entrance to greens feels wider so some greens feel less tight.


Widening the fairway - I do understand the reasoning of this to try and get the ball into the heather however it makes more drives go further as long as they don't get in the heather




Playing angles - 5th hole tees now moved to the right hand side of the 4th green i think has increased the width of the green than playing off the old tee on the left hand side of the 4th green which made it look narrow.


The current state of golf - Woodhall has not been lengthened for a long while and when I first played it it was a shade over 6900 yards in the 1990s and that was long. At 7080 yards (early 2000s) of the tips and 6500 off the yellows it doesn't feel as long as it used to be thanks to the ball and the large headed drivers.


I am for tree removal if the playing surface and natural environment will be improved, sensible access to bunkers from a health and safety standpoint which is the case at Woodhall which is now a more forgiving and fairer golf course in general.

However for Woodhall to get its bite back as a championship course I feel that some holes need to be lengthened and tightened up to bring the intimidatory factor back like the drives on 6, 9, 11 and 13 feels like it needs more hazards nearer the centre line - bunker or a grassy hollow with heather faces etc. Hole 14 is intimidating off the tee with all the heather as an example. Golf courses evolve over time and I feel that a few minor tweaks are still required at Woodhall. This is just a personal opinion having played it numerous times over the last 25 years - others may be different.

Also the Bracken course needs reworking IMO and I am wondering will Renaissance Golf be working on it in the near future?


Ben

Ben:


I'm curious how you think the course has lost any of its bite.  We added about 15 bunkers and the main point of widening the fairways was to let balls run to the heather.  I suppose clearing back trees on a few holes has made recovering for a bogey easier, and you shouldn't get as many gnarly lies on bunker faces, but that was the goal of the whole exercise.


We couldn't teally make the bunkers any deeper on 14, there's not much sand down there before you reach clay.
« Last Edit: October 17, 2019, 06:45:59 AM by Ben Stephens »

Michael Wharton-Palmer

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Re: WOODHALL SPA: A Penal Paradise
« Reply #38 on: October 17, 2019, 04:49:01 PM »
Prior to Tom Doak doing his work at Woodhall Spa we had a discussion about the calibre of golf course it was.
It has always been one of my absolute favourites over a 30 year span of playing, Tom at the time considered the greens a little ordinary......but then what set of greens are not compared to his work and those of his “idol” the Good DR.
I have always loved the superb bunkering and green complexes and cannot wait to return to see Tom’s finished product, probably next summer.
Friends of mine back home who have played it evenly have raved about the ‘restoration” and especially the beauty of the course with less trees.They are all pretty good players and would have played the back tees and they all said...TOUGH
I also look forward to my next discussion with the great man himself about the wonders of Woodhall now ;)
« Last Edit: October 17, 2019, 04:55:09 PM by Michael Wharton-Palmer »

Tom_Doak

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Re: WOODHALL SPA: A Penal Paradise
« Reply #39 on: October 17, 2019, 05:42:22 PM »
Ben:


Thanks for your response to my question, but I think you went too far.


As I remind people here all the time, design is all a matter of opinion or taste, and likewise what makes something look easier for one person (widened corridors through trees) makes it harder for another (nothing to aim at or guide you). 


I agree that lots of trees surrounding a fairway make it harder, but that was never the intent at Woodhall Spa, and just because it had grown into that doesn't make it the right way.


Several of the younger designers here are quick to suggest changes to "improve" great courses and I guess that's one way you could make a name for yourself . . . or shoot yourself in the foot.  I only took on the job at Woodhall Spa because I didn't want to see that happen there.  And if you're looking to take on the job at the Bracken Course, I would be careful what you say to the locals about the Hotchkin!


PS. To the best of my memory there were zero bunkers moved further from greens, unless you mean moving tge bottom of the bank a foot or two, which is a distinction without a difference.

Ben Stephens

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Re: WOODHALL SPA: A Penal Paradise
« Reply #40 on: October 18, 2019, 02:16:21 AM »
Ben:


Thanks for your response to my question, but I think you went too far.

mmmm maybe too detailed ;D  everyone are entitled to their opinion however the changes you have made at Woodhall is quite drastic. I think overall it is a huge improvement to the course.

In the past locally the Hotchkin was known for being long I don't feel that these days as the game has changed and the younger players hit the ball miles. Boony would probably also agree.



As I remind people here all the time, design is all a matter of opinion or taste, and likewise what makes something look easier for one person (widened corridors through trees) makes it harder for another (nothing to aim at or guide you). Agree


I agree that lots of trees surrounding a fairway make it harder, but that was never the intent at Woodhall Spa, and just because it had grown into that doesn't make it the right way.

For me it is easier as trees do intimidate me as I am not the straightest hitter off the tee as many on the site know! - the fewer trees the better for me as it makes me more relaxed off the tee - it may be different for others and golf in parts is psychological and you are fighting negative thoughts at times. With the trees removed I had to reprogram my memory to pick the right lines off the tee as the Hotchkin now feels like a completely different course off the tee however the approaches are more or less the same.


Several of the younger designers here are quick to suggest changes to "improve" great courses and I guess that's one way you could make a name for yourself . . . or shoot yourself in the foot.  I only took on the job at Woodhall Spa because I didn't want to see that happen there.  And if you're looking to take on the job at the Bracken Course, I would be careful what you say to the locals about the Hotchkin!

I am not that young these days more like middle age most up and coming designers would love to take on the Bracken job ;D  however from a reliable source I was told that you and the Renaissance crew were to take on the Bracken Course after doing the Hotchkin as well as a 9 hole par 3 course potentially. Every golf course is like Marmite - you either love it or hate it. Some locals prefer the Bracken to the Hotchkin ???




PS. To the best of my memory there were zero bunkers moved further from greens, unless you mean moving tge bottom of the bank a foot or two, which is a distinction without a difference.

I remember when you were on site that the front of the bunkers were having their faces smoothed over which makes it easier to maintain removing the squarish edge finish which made the green look tight off the tee. The right hand side of the 12th was being done when I visited. Smoothing the top edges of the bunker from the eye does make the bunkers look further away from the green off the tee.


I still remember parts of my first time playing at the Hotchkin - the flags were a bit shorter making the shots look a bit longer and there were no yardage markers or even a yardage book just a simple white or yellow scorecard for each tee. The simplicity of this felt like real golf to me and made me realise at a young age that you needed to play a course multiple times to get to know it and use the right club or type of shots.
« Last Edit: October 18, 2019, 02:22:05 AM by Ben Stephens »

Sean_A

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Re: WOODHALL SPA: A Penal Paradise
« Reply #41 on: September 24, 2020, 07:05:51 AM »
I took the opportunity to revisit Woodhall a few weeks back...very impressive renovation work by Renaissance. The tree removal is a wonder.  I also noted the quality of the greens, not merely the surfaces, but also the subtle slopes and borrows.  While I wouldn't say the greens are outstanding, they certainly don't detract from the quality of the design. See the significantly upgraded tour.

https://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,63059.0.html

Ciao 
« Last Edit: September 25, 2020, 02:10:52 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, Malone, Cruit Island & St Pats

Mark Pearce

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Re: WOODHALL SPA: A Penal Paradise
« Reply #42 on: September 17, 2022, 05:05:28 AM »
It has always been one of my absolute favourites over a 30 year span of playing, Tom at the time considered the greens a little ordinary......but then what set of greens are not compared to his work and those of his “idol” the Good DR.
Hmmm....  re-reading this thread ahead of this afternoon's opening round of BUDA 2022.  This is a comment that Harry Colt, James Braid and a host of others might challenge!
In July 2022 I will be riding 3 stages of the Tour de France,  in the Alps, to raise money for the William Wates Memorial Trust which is dedicated to providing opportunities for under privileged young adults.  To support the Trust, please visit https://fundraising.wwmt.org/fundraisers/MarkPearce/rid

Mark Pearce

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Re: WOODHALL SPA GC: A Penal Paradise Revisited
« Reply #43 on: September 17, 2022, 05:06:42 AM »
It will be very interesting to discuss with Tony tomorrow evening whether two rounds on the renovated Hotchkin have changed our minds on the merits of the course.
In July 2022 I will be riding 3 stages of the Tour de France,  in the Alps, to raise money for the William Wates Memorial Trust which is dedicated to providing opportunities for under privileged young adults.  To support the Trust, please visit https://fundraising.wwmt.org/fundraisers/MarkPearce/rid

Peter Flory

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Re: WOODHALL SPA GC: A Penal Paradise Revisited
« Reply #44 on: September 17, 2022, 05:31:07 PM »
Of all the courses in the world that I haven't played, Woodhall Spa and Kingston Heath are the two that interest me the most.  The work that was done at Woodhall just looks like perfection to me. 

Mark Pearce

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Re: WOODHALL SPA GC: A Penal Paradise Revisited
« Reply #45 on: September 20, 2022, 09:00:08 AM »
A few observations after two rounds on the Hotchkin over the weekend.


First, the course is enormously improved with the changes made by Tom Doak and his crew.  The removal of trees alone makes a huge difference.  Perhaps the seventh is the best example of how this has improved the course.  The temptation to take on the inside corner never really featured before, now it's hard to resist.  I think Richard Latham, in his excellent short talk on the Saturday night, suggested that scores have gone up!


It's a penal golf course.  Being on almost entirely flat land it relies on heather and bunkers for protection.  There's very little, if any interest from contours (a couple of greens have false fronts).  The already massive bunkers have surrounds that amplify their effective area.  On Sunday, I hit what I thought was a perfect draw at a back left flag, only to see it kick right into the front right bunker.  In the following group we saw Giles hit what looked like a perfect fade down the left, and it suffered the same fate.


To score well requires a level of precision few if any golfers other than low single figure players have.


The course looks great and is clearly an excellent golf course but I can't love it the way I love Alwoodley, Hollinwell and Berkshire Red which all strike me as more playable heathland tests.


In a number of conversations on Sunday evening, I don't think I spoke to anyone who thought the course was top 20 in the UK.  Many challenged whether it was top 20 in England (and I would be one of those).


The comparison Tony and I drew previously with Hankley Common was unfair.  Woodhall Spa is a far better course, and a much more interesting one.  Though both still look better than they play (for a low teens handicapper, at least).
In July 2022 I will be riding 3 stages of the Tour de France,  in the Alps, to raise money for the William Wates Memorial Trust which is dedicated to providing opportunities for under privileged young adults.  To support the Trust, please visit https://fundraising.wwmt.org/fundraisers/MarkPearce/rid

Jason Topp

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Re: WOODHALL SPA GC: A Penal Paradise Revisited
« Reply #46 on: September 24, 2022, 09:07:13 AM »
I thought it was a fantastic golf course but where it belongs on a best of list depends entirely on your definition of a great golf course.


 I would argue that for a good player, there cannot be a better examination of one's ability.  It asks reasonable questions of the player and punishes mistakes.  It does so in a memorable setting that is a bit less visually memorable because it is a largely flat piece of land.  Despite the flatness of the property I found the setting very enjoyable with all of the varieties of vegitation.  I found the greens far more interesting than seemed to be the consensus.


The lesser player such as me will be punished for his sins and does not really have an opportunity to bail out and avoid trouble. Nonetheless, I felt I had a chance on every tee and on every approach where my tee shot was in play.  The shot demands varied over the course of the round and the greens provided ample interest.  I would have hated to play in a medal on the course because I got into situations in bunkers where recovery was nearly impossible.  That was fine with me . . . we were playing matches.

Tommy Williamsen

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Re: WOODHALL SPA GC: A Penal Paradise Revisited
« Reply #47 on: September 24, 2022, 03:55:46 PM »
WS requires well thought out shots and demands a good short game and bunker play. For a higher handicap player sometimes there is valor in laying up.
Tom Williamsen
Where there is no love, put love; there you will find love.
St. John of the Cross

Mark Pearce

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Re: WOODHALL SPA GC: A Penal Paradise Revisited
« Reply #48 on: September 24, 2022, 05:28:05 PM »
WS requires well thought out shots and demands a good short game and bunker play. For a higher handicap player sometimes there is valor in laying up.
But at some point you have to play to those greens.  And any miss is punished.  As is any miss left or right.  On almost any shot.  I can see why good players like it but, fundamentally, there aren't very may interesting shots.  Just challenging ones.  And not much in the way of heroic recoveries, except from greenside bunkers.


I can't call that great golf, and for me WS is not a great course.  Very good, for sure, very hard, absolutely but, in the end, a bit soulless.
In July 2022 I will be riding 3 stages of the Tour de France,  in the Alps, to raise money for the William Wates Memorial Trust which is dedicated to providing opportunities for under privileged young adults.  To support the Trust, please visit https://fundraising.wwmt.org/fundraisers/MarkPearce/rid

Ben Stephens

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Re: WOODHALL SPA GC: A Penal Paradise Revisited
« Reply #49 on: September 25, 2022, 05:45:02 AM »
WS requires well thought out shots and demands a good short game and bunker play. For a higher handicap player sometimes there is valor in laying up.
But at some point you have to play to those greens.  And any miss is punished.  As is any miss left or right.  On almost any shot.  I can see why good players like it but, fundamentally, there aren't very may interesting shots.  Just challenging ones.  And not much in the way of heroic recoveries, except from greenside bunkers.


I can't call that great golf, and for me WS is not a great course.  Very good, for sure, very hard, absolutely but, in the end, a bit soulless.


Having played different variations of WS over the last 30 years personally I prefer the latest version as it is less claustrophobic and seeing the natural heather being restored/regenerated which is pleasing to see. However the spine of the course remains as it is like Richard Latham said in his talk going back to what it was.


Golf has changed a lot over time some courses have improved over time and others haven't. WS has stayed pretty much the same and still will be hard which is unique its bunkers are the main line of its defence which is probably why the greens are subtle to ensure it is not too difficult. On the other hand subtle green are harder to read for some I struggled to see the line towards the hole when I played last week.


Having played the strong England heathland trio - Ganton, Notts and WS like Carnoustie all only have 3 par 3s which makes me question is a course with fewer par 3s make it harder to score?


My personal ranking would be


1. Notts
2. Ganton
3. WS


Both Notts and Ganton probably have more variety than WS plus more of their holes are in different directions and there is more interest in the greens. Others will have different views based on taste or their own personal game strengths and weaknesses. 


All are very good golf courses and we are fortunate to have all of them in England however are they world class - this is questionable for a number of reasons as each have their own strengths and weaknesses. WS par 3s stand out ahead of the others however the set of par 4's and 5's are probably behind


For a more social fun round I probably would prefer to play Alwoodley, Beau Desert or Sunningdale.


Cheers
Ben

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