We meet up with Alan Darby from Visit Lincolnshire and set off on the original championship course at Woodhall Spa. |
Set amongst gorse and broom, built on sandy soil, with oak, fir and silver birch trees framing every hole, the course is beautiful to look at.
But it is also admired as a masterpiece of golf course(discount golf clubs) architecture – it is ranked the 45th best course in the world by top100golfcourse.co.uk and Golf World magazine rate it the number one inland course in the UK.
Beauty and quality are not it’s only two characteristics however – there are also some of the toughest bunkers in discount golf.
Jon Gidney, one time England squad member at the venue and currently playing his first year as a pro, warned me on twitter: “Have fun but stay out of the bunkers – they are deeeeep. Especially the par-3 12th.”
On every tee box I stand, peer down the fairway, sigh loudly and then announce, “this is one of the best holes I have ever seen, they just get better.” Fortunately both Will and Alan agree, otherwise they’d hit me for being boring and repetitive.
The only mild let-down is that we are playing before the lilac heather blooms. Perhaps it is no bad thing – I am so enraptured I might pass out if it was any more beautiful.
The bunkers are everything we were warned they would be. But on the par-three fifth I actually escape from one with a par.
Some effort given that the wall of turf in front of me was about two feet higher than my head and that the pin was no more than ten feet over the lip. The secret is to thin the bunker shot into the base of the front of the bunker, let the ball run up that face, with just enough gas to make it over the edge and dribble pin high. Easy!
Not every recovery goes quite so, ahem, smoothly. Moreover the gorse and trees are costly if you ever visit them. The course might be over 100 years old but it is no gentle ride. On the other hand, as with every high quality course, if you hit good shots you are well rewarded.
The round ends in darkness – almost total darkness. But we had seen enough – the Hotchkin races into my personal top five courses ever played. A wonderful experience which we end with a drink in the clubhouse.
Love golf from my childhood. Do you know any top golf clubs for me? I'm using taylormade r11 driver now, and it's great. PGA Championship PING Golf Rory McIlroy
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