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Enno Gerdes

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Re: WOODHALL SPA GC: A Penal Paradise Revisited
« Reply #50 on: September 26, 2022, 03:10:35 AM »
Seems the general opinion is that WS is not a "great" course, and I agree. I think the key is in Mark's question to Mr Latham on Saturday evening: what's the point for EG to buy a course that isn't really playable for the vast majority of its members? "You just need to place your drives on the fairway" isn't really an instruction that the someone with a double-digit index can work with. "Hit an iron off the tee then" - well, on some holes a 170 yard carry was needed just to clear the heather. So that doesn't work either. And then there were a few holes that were just over-bunkered (like 18).

I really enjoyed my rounds there (and Mr Latham's talk and Q&A on the first evening made the second round so much more enjoyable), but to be "great" a course should be playable for a broader group than just the 10% best golfers.

Niall C

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Re: WOODHALL SPA GC: A Penal Paradise Revisited
« Reply #51 on: September 26, 2022, 07:00:20 AM »
I'm not sure I quite agree with Enno's definition of great but I tend to generally agree otherwise with his and others comments on the course. I hadn't played the course previously so had no real prior notions as to how the course played.

What struck me from the off however was not the bunkering, which was epic and beautifully done, but the carries off the tee. I found them intimidating on two counts; firstly the carry was generally over rough, dense vegetation which while pleasing to the eye more often than not was a ball lost if you went in it; secondly due to the relatively flat nature of the land and the height of the vegetation it was had to determine where the rough ended and where the fairway started. For the same reason it was also hard to determine distances to the fairway bunkers (I don't carry distance gadgets).

Of course a golf hole is only blind once and all that and in that respect the course is a true members course that you need to get to know. Going up the 16th hole on the first round I'd suggested to my playing partners that there was a lot to admire about the course but that I didn't think I'd ever love it. In hindsight and having played it again, I think I'd learn to love it fine, even if it is an unrelenting test of golf. In that respect it is much like Carnoustie which in my book is another great course.


ps. agree totally with comments on Richard's talk. A definite highlight for me.

Thomas Dai

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Re: WOODHALL SPA GC: A Penal Paradise Revisited
« Reply #52 on: September 26, 2022, 02:02:28 PM »
As with so many courses picking the correct tee marker to play from is key, not necessarily easy when a players ego/vanity is an influencer, ďIím a big strong man and/or a really good player so I should be playing from the back or middle teesĒ said the now old bloke playing into the wind who doesnít want to admit that he isnít a big strong bloke anymore. And of course playing from different tees isnít possible if a player is playing in a competitive event or a tournament where all the participants are required to play from the same tees so organisers need to use a bit of nous when placing the tee markers for any given event.
As to Woodhall Spa Hotchkin after the Renaissance guys and gals had opened-up Woodhall I had the opportunity to play it a couple of times on consecutive days and in different wind directions. I thought the course was absolutely terrific. Full of interest and challenge. But that was a few years ago and even then there were a couple of tee-shots where I needed my Sunday best to carry on to the fairways. These days I donít hit the ball as far as I once did so the tee shots would now be even more challenging, likely impossible for me to reach some of the fairways especially into the wind. Itís no big deal as far as Iím concerned. Life moves on. Move up a set of tees folks. Youíll likely have more fun and might even finish your round with the same ball you started it with.
Each to their own though. And just short of fairways is often a profitable place to find a brand new ProV1 or equivalent.


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