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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.
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
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 74Yellows, 6,519yds, par 71, sss 73The 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
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:Thanks for your response to my question, but I think you went too far. mmmm maybe too detailed 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). AgreeI 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 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.
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.
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.
Quote from: Tommy Williamsen on September 24, 2022, 03:55:46 PMWS 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.