I thought would collate the three threads into one.
I played Woodhall Spa Nov 3 with director of operations Richard Latham. WS is a seductive wench yet filled with charm that dares you to test your manly skills. It can beat you up. There are some 110 bunkers. In some ways there are too many. Yet, they provide for a lot of strategic play. It is possible to avoid them if you want. I was in only one. Or you can challenge them with more aggressive play. Over the next few days Iíll post some pictures.
Today the first six.
The opening tee shot is pretty benign. Make par here. It is the easiest hole on the course. 361/361 yards (both tees)
Left side fairway bunker
Number two 442/411 yards
One of the 110 bunkers. This at the 2nd green.
Number Three (415/415) has a daunting tee shot, to say the least. It is scarier than need be because the carry is only about 150 yards.
fairway bunker on the left.
Number four 414/414 yards
There is about 160 yards of carry heather to reach the fairway. On the left is a large cross bunker you can challenge. Richard did and lost.
Greenside bunker about five feet deep.
This is the 150 yard fifth hole from the right hand tee. It is a more difficult angle because the bunker on the left is more in play. From this tee the hole is only 116 yards.
This bunker is eleven (11) feet deep. It guards the left side of the green and is the deepest bunker on the course. Stay out of it!!
Number six is a 526/510 yard five. It is pretty reachable if you dare challenge the ever-present bunkers on the left. From the forward tee it is a 461 yard par four.
This bunker catches any tee shot pushed.
This bunker catches a pulled second shot.
Woodhall Spa holes 7-12
Number 7 (470/437 yards) is a beast of a hole. I canít believe I only took one picture of it. It doglegs right with three bunkers on the inside of the dogleg to catch a short or pushed drive. Left center is prime real estate. From the back tee the carry to the fairway is 220 yards. For mortals it is about 180 yards. The green is protected by two bunkers on the left and right. The green is raised but t is possible to run a shot on to the green.
Number eight is a 209/192-yard par three. Three bunkers flank the left side with a coffin on the right. There is a top shot bunker some twenty yards or so in front of the green. The green itself is large and kidney shaped.
This is the view from the tee. Daunting eh?
This is from the bunker short of the green
Number nine (585/555 yard par five) is the longest hole on the course. It is straight with cross bunkers about 350/320 yards from the tee.
View from the tee. 180/150 yards to the fairway.
The cross bunkers. If you donít hit it in the fairway they can get in the way.
Stay out of these cross-bunkers. They are pretty deep.
This is the view from a bunker about 190 yards from the green.
Number 10 is a wonderful 338/338-yard par four. It is slight dogleg left that invites you to fly it. But there is a bunker you have to clear about 220 yards off the tee. And two more bunkers to its right than can catch a pushed tee shot. When I played the course it had just received one and a half inches of rain. When the course if firmer I would think the green is drivable. The first picture is from the tee. The flag in the distance is a temporary green because they are redoing the greenside bunker.
The next picture is really interesting. It shows how they repair a bunker. They stack sod underneath the perimeter of the bunker. Then they place sod on the face of the bunker and slope it ever so slightly.
Eleven is a wonderful 438/438-yard par four. There is a forced carry of about 180 yards to a wide fairway. About 70 yards in front of the green is a combination bunker, waste area and heather. It is possible to run the shot on to the green but donít be short.
View from the green
Twelve is a great par three (178/178 yards). There is a bunker short and left and five bunkers surrounding the green. They are deepóup to ten feet.
View from the green.
Bunker left of the green.
View from behind the green.
The view from the fairway.
Woodhall Spa 13-18
Woodhall Spa has an intriguing finish. It begins with a beast of a par four, moves to a reachable par five, three shortish par fours and a par 4/5 18th.
Thirteen (451/451 yards) may be the most difficult hole on the course. If I counted correctly it has ten bunkers. There are three bunkers that catch a wayward tee shot, numerous cross bunkers short of the green, but oddly enough no bunkers at the flatish green. Getting to the green is the problem, putting on it is not.
View from the tee
Bunker on the inside of the dogleg
Cross bunkers short and left of the green
Fourteen is a good chance to make a birdie. It is fine example of a risk/reward par five at 521/485 yards. It doglegs slightly to the right with bunkers on the right to catch any shot that strays a little from too bold of a tee shot. The green is reachable but you have to flirt with a bunker short and left of the green. Only one small bunker protects the relatively flat bunker.
View from the tee.
Fifteen at 321/321 is a wonderful example of a great short par four. It really is not possible to drive the green but the tee shot requires some thought. There are two bunkers on the right side of the fairway that are pretty easy to carry. The fairway, however, narrows and the gorse and heather exact a pretty steep price for being wayward. The ideal tee shot is to drive just short of a cross bunker some fifty yards short of the heavily bunkered green. This green has some good slope.
These bunkers on the right side of the fairway are only about 200 yards from the tee.
View of the green from the cross bunker short of the green
Sixteen is a medium length par four at 395/395 yards. This may be the weakest hole on the course. There is a long carry (about 190 yards) to the fairway. But the green has no bunkers and is pretty flat and featureless.
View from the tee.
View from the left hand side of the fairway some 100 yards from the green The bunker you see is about 60 yards from the green.
Seventeen is a splendid short par four (336/336 yards). The hole demands a thoughtful and accurate tee shot. The fairway is not very wide and is flanked by a bunker and heather on the right and heather on the left. The green is heavily bunkered and has good undulation. I like this hole a lot. There are many ways to play it. Be conservative and four is a relatively easy score. Be bold and take your chances.
The greens complex
Eighteen is interesting. From the Championship and medal tees it plays as a par five of 540 yards. From the Yellow tees it is a 442 yard par four. We played it as a par four. I think it is a better hole that way. The drive is deceptively tight. There are two extremely well place trees on either side of the fairway that block a pulled or pushed tee shot. The green, however, is receptive to a low running shot if the trees block your way. The tree on the right side of the fairway is exceptionally beautiful and is placed in a perfect spot. It is a strong finish.
Tree on the right side of the fairway.
Greens complex. Picture is from their website.
It seems that the course is not well loved on GCA. In fact unlike Sunningdale or Alwoodley, it probably does not generate much love. But it is a course that you have to respect. It certainly demands thoughtful and exacting play. Every shot gets your full attention. I thought it was exceptional. It is heavily bunkered but they are extremely well placed. You have to think and plot your way around the course. I could play it regularly and not tire of it. It is out of the way from anywhere but is worth a visit. The town of Woodhall Spa has plenty to do after golf.