July 17, 2014
The start of my two week golf trip to England began at Woodhall Spa Golf Club. There are two courses, the Bracken and the Hotchkin. I played both on the same day and had terrific weather for both. I had initially planned to play at Woodhall spa after the Open Championship (which I attended on Saturday and Sunday), but when I spoke to the club, they advised the Thursday and Friday were wide open and I had my choice of tee times. I had scheduled my flight to land in Manchester, since it was the closest airport I could get to my hotel for the Open Championship. So, it necessitated a drive across the country, from west to east, to get to Woodhall Spa. My flight landed at around 5:30 p.m., so I had daylight almost my entire trip to Woodhall Spa.
|The welcome sign as you enter the city of Woodhall Spa.|
Since I had never been to Woodhall Spa, and I didn't know anyone from there, I had searched such sites as Yelp and TripAdvisor to make sure I stayed at a hotel that had received a good many positive reviews. This would be a theme for most of my stay while in England. One of the highest ranked hotels was the Petwood Hotel located approximately two miles from the entrance of the Woodhall Spa Golf Club.
|A look at the Petwood Hotel at night.|
Upon arrival, I was greeted by a very friendly staff. They had my key (yes, a real one) and reservation sitting on the counter alone. When I joked that they must have been waiting up for me, they advised that I was the last one and they wanted to wait until I arrived to personally greet me. It made the stay immediately feel like I was at home and I was very much appreciative of that after 14 hours on planes and in airports, and a four hour drive across country. They also advised the bar was still open so the nice lady must have also been a mind reader. An ale was exactly what I needed after a full day and half the night of traveling.
Once the check-in was complete, I was able to take in my surroundings for the first time. I am somewhat of a World War II enthusiast, reading every book I can and watching any movie I am able to, about the war. My grandfather had been in the 101st Airborne and had taken part in the war, so my interest has been there since I was a child.
The Petwood Hotel exuded history, especially from World War II. There are two photos framed side by side. One is of the modern day hotel from a similar angle as the above photo. The other is a black and white photo, from the same angle, but is dated 1942 and shows a B-17 bomber taking off over the hotel.
|The foyer staircase opposite the check-in counter.|
|A look towards the front of the room from the back.|
|A look from the back corner of the room towards the bar.|
|My room at the Petwood Hotel.|
|A view of the Petwood Hotel upon my departure.|
|The entrance sign into Woodhall Spa Golf Club.|
|The clubhouse at Woodhall Spa Golf Club.|
|Just outside the proshop is a layout map of both courses.|
|A look to the right immediately upon entering the locker room.|
|A look straight ahead upon entering the locker room.|
|The white flag at Woodhall Spa.|
|The yellow flag at Woodhall Spa.|
|The clock and note board located next to the first tee box.|
The first hole is a 361 yard par 4 that is fairly straight forward. After the first mound approximately 80 yards in front of the tee box, the fairway is mostly level, though it does rise towards the green for the last 50 yards or so.
|A look down the fairway from the 1st tee box.|
|A look into the 1st green from 100 yards out.|
From the blue tees, the second hole is 442 yards. It's a long, straight par 4 and requires a strategic decision from the tee.
|A look down the fairway from the 2nd tee box.|
|A look into the 2nd green from 80 yards out.|
|A look down the fairway from the 3rd tee box.|
|One of the numerous bunkers protecting the 3rd green.|
|A look towards the 3rd green from 150 yards out.|
|A look into the 3rd green from 80 yards out.|
|The famous tower behind the 3rd green.|
|A look down the fairway from the 4th tee box.|
|A look into the 4th green from 170 yards out.|
|One of the deep bunkers that guard the green.|
|A look into the 4th green from just off the left side.|
|There is a hidden bunker on the back side of the green that can also lead to trouble.|
|A look into the green from the 5th tee box.|
|A closer look at the 5th green and the deep bunkers that guard it.|
|A look down the fairway from the 6th tee box.|
|A look into the 6th green from 120 yards out.|
|A look at one of the deep fairway bunkers on the 6th hole.|
|A look into the 6th green from 100 yards out.|
|A look down the fairway from the 7th tee box.|
The approach shot is played over a slight rise in the fairway to green guarded by two bunkers on the front left and right. The green slopes gently from right to left and is 33 yards long.
|A look into the 7th green from 75 yards out.|
|A look into the green from the 8th tee box.|
|A look into the green from the drop area approximately 60 yards out.|
|A look down the fairway from the 9th tee box.|
|A look into the 9th green from 130 yards out.|
|A look down the fairway from the 10th tee box.|
|A look into the 10th green from 150 yards.|
|A look into the 10th green from just off the left side.|
|A look down the fairway from the 11th tee box.|
|A look into the 11th green from 130 yards out.|
The last of the par 3s, this hole measures 176 yards. The most notable features are the deep green side bunkers and the one on the left is the deepest on the course, measuring 12 feet below the green. The green is long and narrow and slopes slightly from back to front.
|A look into the green from the 12th tee box.|
|A look down the fairway from the 13th tee box.|
|A look into the 13th green from 150 yards out.|
|A look into the 13th green from 50 yards out.|
|A look down the fairway from the 14th tee box.|
|A look down the fairway from the edge of the landing zone.|
|A look into the 14th green from 120 yards out.|
|A look down the fairway from the 15th tee box.|
|A look into the 15th green from 75 yards out.|
|A look down the fairway from the 16th tee box.|
|A look into the 16th green from 120 yards out.|
|A look down the fairway from the 17th tee box.|
|A look into the 17th green from 60 yards out.|
|A look down the fairway from the 18th tee box.|
|A look into the 18th green from 250 yards out.|
|A look into the 18th green from 150 yards out.|
|A look onto the 18th green from just off the front left side.|
My experience at Woodhall Spa was everything I expected and a heck of a start to a two week, nine course tour of England. The staff, course, practice facilities, clubhouse and restaurant are all world class and this was definitely in the top three of the courses I played. I recommend Woodhall Spa to anyone, even if you have to drive a couple of hours out of your way to get here.