The Battle of the Bunkers Ganton vs Woodhall Spa
Sixth hole, 460/510 yards; A beautiful bunker sits some ten yards short and left of the green and meanders out to the golfer. This bunker is at just the right place as a wood or long-iron approach must land short of the green before bounding onto the green. A rare example of a bunker that directly affects the approach yet is short of and to the side of the green.
Twelfth hole, 170 yards; Another beautiful bunkered par three, similar to the 5th hole in terms of demanding an accurate iron.
Fourteenth hole, 460/490 yards; Again, the golfer trying to force a birdie needs to be careful. A mean little bunker cuts into the green’s right edge. Just as importantly, a bunker twenty yards short of the green cuts across the front left of the green, making distance judgment difficult. The left-to-right angle of the green makes the left side of the fairway the desired target, bringing this bunker into play for the long second.
As for Ganton, Patric Dickinson best described the bunkers in his A Round of Golf Courses: ‘Bunkers are of two kinds: there are the solid crushers of golfing crime, obvious as the heel of policemen’s boots;…but there are other bunkers: beautifully alluring sirens, daring us to steer too near them, rallying our faint hearts to carry over them, and sneering at our feebleness if we take the middle course.’
In particular, the bunkers at Ganton give each of the fourteen par fours individual character.
Ganton’s Bunkers to Note:
Sixth hole, 450 yards; If the tee shot hasn’t been perfect, it is not a matter of just progressing the ball up the fairway: four bunkers litter the fairway from 60 yards in with another two on either side of the green. These are genuine fairway bunkers, i.e., bunkers surrounded by fairway.
Seventh hole, 430 yards; One of the most attractively bunkered holes in the world. Four bunkers stand guard at the inside of this dogleg to the right. Two deep, sea shell invested bunkers eat into the green from the left with another one standing guard on the right. Again, a bunker 60 yards short of the green does the golfer no favors and makes depth perception tricky. Just the way a dogleg hole should be bunkered as there is a decided advantage, in terms of both distance and angle of approach, to hugging the bunkers at the corner.
Fouteenth hole, 285 yards; A tempting par four to drive but first a cavernous bunker must be carried at the 240 yard mark and another two avoided closer to the green. Everyone knows an iron off the tee is the wiser choice and yet….
Fifteenth hole, 435 yards; A unique 38 yard long bunker works its way up the left side of the fairway and requires a carry of 225 yards to be past it.
Sixteenth hole, 450 yards; The biggest bunker on the course is a cross bunker some 185 yards off the tee. It stretches across the entrance to the fairway and offers no hope to those who enter. Except into the strongest of winds, the bunker is not in play, yet there is no denying the thrill of blasting a tee shot over what looks like a World War I trench.
Some courses in the United Kingdom rely on the wind to stiffen the challenge that their holes do not otherwise possess. However, a course that is well bunkered is always a challenge, regardless of the conditions. Golfers are guaranteed such a greeting at either Ganton or Woodhall Spa, where they can say hello to the real thing.