29 reviews of Woodhall Spa Golf Club
Have played here many times over the years and each time the Hotchkin is in excellent condition.
It isn't forgiving if you stray offline but is a very enjoyable design. I particularly enjoy the par-3s which are in my opinion at least some of the best in the country.
5 star review, well done to all at Woodhall
For any serious golfer, the Hotchkin golf course is a must play. It is on par, in my opinion with any of the Surrey / Berkshire heathland courses with a great deal of variation on the holes and something to offer golfers at every level of ability.
Would put this in my top 10 golf courses ever played.
Had an excellent round of golf on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa last week and can fully recommend it to anyone looking at playing a great value Championship golf course.
It is often considered the best inland course in the UK and I would agree with that. Each hole is very different and the undulations / bunkers which surround the greens are great.
If you haven't played at Woodhall Spa make sure you do, it is one of the best you'll get to experience.
Played the Hotchkin on 10 September. In my opinion it rates alongside Ganton and Sunningdale New as the best heathland course I have played. The course winds its way through clasic heathland country with carries from the tee over heather and gorse. Every fairway is lined with pine and birch trees (which seem to get narrower as the round progresses) and the turf is beautiful. The bunkering is deep in many places and you will need a sound technique to escape from them. The greens had recently been micro-tined but were a good speed and did not bobble. I have no doubt that when at their best they are fantastic.
I cannot recommend this course highly enough. Superb.
PS. Stayed at Petwood Hotel (Woodhall Spa hotel was closed for major repair). Excellent hotel, excellent food and for lovers of RAF memorabilia (especially 617 squadron), a bit of a shrine.
Played the Bracken Course on 9 September 2012. Although much newer than its illustrious neighbour it stands on its own as a good course which is now beginning to mature. It compliments the Hotchkin perfectly as it is not a replica but an testing alternative.
The greens provide the greatest difficulty as they are severly undulating and if the pins are placed on the higher positions the ball tends to collect in the lower parts often leaving you in three putt country. Good selection of holes with perhaps only the 18th a slight dissapointment.
Played The Hothchkin in glorious weather last week. When we turned up there were at least 40 golfers milling around the practice green but was pleased to find that they all went on to the Bracken leaving us with an empty front 9.Disappointed to see the halfway house closed and the greens could have been a bit quicker, but considering the amount of rain the area had taken recently the course was in great condition with only two bunkers having rainwater in. Great course,fantastic facilities without being over flash .
Played the Hotchkin course on 23rd September and it was a delight from start to finish. Good layout, nice condition and professional service from all of the staff. Considering the number of rounds that must be played here each year the condition of the course really is a credit to the greens staff.
Unfortunately I didn't realise that if you are a category 1 handicap you can play off the white tees and I suspect it is a very different course off thew white.
A must play.
Played here last week and have to say it is one of the best courses I've had a game at. Each hole is very individual with plenty of thinking required off the tee. There are really tough hazards for anyone straying off line with heather and very, very deep bunkers waiting to gather any shots which don't find the short stuff.
Only played it off the yellows which was tough enough, looking back at some of the tees in the distance it would be an almost impossible task for mortals like our golf society!
Well worth the trip and comparable with the likes of Sunningdale, Alwoodley etc. In my opinion it is the best value golf course in the UK.
I played the Hotchkin last month and have to say this is one of the finest golf courses you'll get to play anywhere in the world. Each of the holes are very different and is fully deserving of it's rankings within the Top 100 Golf Courses.
The best holes are actually in the opening few with the 3rd and 4th being two excellent and challenging par-4's. There aren't really any birdie opportunities except for the par-5's and you have to work quite hard on those ones.
One of the most infamous holes on the course is the par-3 12th which features an almost island green with deep punishing bunkers to the left and right of the hole. Any shot hitting the green is a real achievement - hard to believe it is stroke index 18!
The 14th is also an excellent dog leg par-5 which meanders through the great silver birch trees which line the fairways.
All in all great course and worth every penny.
Played Woodhall Spa off whites on a pleasant September day 09.
The facilities at the club are very good. Ample parking, a very nice clubhouse and well stocked pro shop, some quite superb practice facilities. Whilst we only had a sandwich and coffee on arrival, it was fine and the staff were very welcoming and accomodating. Prices were a little pricey but I was expecting it in fairness.
The course itself is, as you would expect, a very challenging affair and an excellent example of a typically British heathland course.
The fairways were very firm, which amazed us considering the amount of rain we've had all summer, and in good condition. Oh what joy to get some run on the ball off the tee!
The bunkers were penalising. Some of them are huge, from memory the 4th in particular! But they were in good condition and consitent in their make up. The rough was not ridiculous, nor was the heather, so unless you were wild you could find your ball but would the usally have to play a recovery shot of some kind.
The greens were again firm but receptive. They were slick - I would love to play them after a long dry spell! Most importantly, they were absolutely true.
Some of the views down the holes from the tee bed are fabulous. Superb use of natural heathland, foliage and tree lines makes the judgement of distances not as easy as you would think. For anyone who has played Alwoodly, I'd say they are similar in set up from the tee.
It's one of those courses where it's difficult to pick out a signature hole, though I'm sure they'll say it's the third because of the monument. By the same token, ask me to pick out a poor hole and I'll struggle - the 8th is probably the weakest but it's still ok! 18 good holes of golf with no stand out one.
£80 a round is reasonable value for money when I think about some of the courses I've played this last couple of years for half that price which have been dire.
Definitely worth a visit.
Wow,a proper golf course,a masterpiece and best of all the price.i have played wentworth and i have got to say wentworth has everything,it is a special place,but it comes at a price.Woodhall for shear top quality golf,whatever your veiws on various courses,this is by far the best value prestige course you will ever play.I have read some of the reveiws and i have got to say most are spot on,but some are totally off the mark.The clubhouse is a clubhouse pure and simple,it doesnt have to be the ritz.If you want to chip and putt there is a lovely 9 hole chip and putt course 50 yards from the club house set among lots of trees and is a great way to start your round before you go to the putting green,and its free.The person you speak too when you book and the assistant in the shop were very helpful and couldnt do enough for you.The course and thats what you go for,is stunning.Keep it down the middle and this course is a pussycat,go off line and it is a monster.The bunkers quite literally take your breath away and can easily wreck your card and the heather which is present on a lot of holes only comes into play if you hit a bad shot.It really is a test of golf but totally fair,rewarding good shots and punishing bad ones.I will be back a few more times to play,what can only be described as a pleasure and and there is no profiteering going on here,just total value for money quality.
Re Fern Moore's comments. Fern virtually all clubs I have played at have putting greens that have a sign that clearly says "No Chipping". To avoid a problem simply use the thing as it is intended. If you want to chip use the fantastic driving range located a short walk away.
My experience at Woodhall was absolutely fantastic from start to finish. Great booking service with very friendly staff and a warm welcome in the Pro Shop. As for the Starter he actually came up to me as I was practicing putting,knew my name and asked me if I wanted to go off 10 minutes early. Having teed off he then wished me good luck and congratulated me on my opening tee shot. I have never experienced better service.
The course is a heathland masterpiece and deserves all the plaudits it routinely gets. The bunkering is out of this world and condition overall fantastic. After 9 holes I got talking to a member who was marshalling and he was just as friendly. A quick bite in the super halfway house and off to play 9 more fantastic holes.
Great course-great price and nice people. Cant wait to go back.
I have been looking forward to playing the Hotchin course for some time. On arrival you notice the clubhouse is nothing special, the welcoming from the guy in the Pro shop was not particular warm either. A fair walk to the driving range as well.
However, the course...Wow...what value for money the hotchin course is. £55 is an absolute bargain, greens were fantastic, the variety of holes were impressive. It is certainly not a course where you hit driver of ever tee, you need to plot you way round the course.
The bunkers are some of the toughest I have seen in Britain, makes the the road hole bunker at St Andrews look easy. Stay clear of the bunkers on the Par 3s, they are serious card wreckers.
Much better value than any course in the South.
For £55 you can not ask for more.......book a tee time and enjoy.
If Woodhall Spa had no reputation then I would probably have left with nothing but incredibly watm feelings toward the course, however, having driven from North London for 36 holes on the Hotchkin based on the course's reputation (7th best in UK, 44th in the world...etc) I'm afraid it was a bit of an anti-climax.
The course itself is a lovely design with barely an average hole, possibly the 17th being the only mediocre one. The bunkers are incredible and I enjoyed the par 3s. However, the fairways were in a pretty awful condition - more like some of the clay based fairways I play on down here. The greens were ok but I was expecting absolutely top notch putting surfaces.
I'm not too bothered about the clubhouse facilities but had a great hot sandwich for lunch.
So, slightly mixed feelings but hopefully, the conditions were a blip as I think I would go back and play again. £100 for 36 holes is definitely better value than some of the 'glamourous' courses in the South East.
I played the Bracken Course on 8 Sept 2006 off the white tees in a competition. Although I am reliably informed the the Bracken pales against the Hotchkin, I didn't get the chance to play it. What I can say is I thought the Bracken was an excellent course, well worth playing and much better than many places I have visited.
The course was in superb condition and although the greens had recently been treated they ran true and at a decent pace. This is a thinking mans course, with placement key. Bring the driver, but blast at your peril. The only weak hole is the 10th. Other than that I thought this was a good test of golf and the course merits more respect than simply being seen as a warm up for playing the Hotchkin.
The off course facilities are excellent as you would expect at the home of golf.
Been wanting to play the Hotchkin for years and picked the hotest day of the year! The fairways were burnt but that just added to the fun. The greens were great and that added to the fun. Then the rest of the course, well it was a great test of your skills and we enjoyed it. The half way house was dissapointing but friendly.
We played the Bracken in the afternoon and as a second course it was fine and well worth a visit.
I played the Hotchkin twice last week and have to say that it is a wounderfully designed golf course. The course was very dry so it probably played a good 1000 yards shorter than what the card states. The bunkers are real card wreckers if you get in them especially on the short par 3 holes. The green fee of £55 for an EGU member is an absolute steal compared to the Surrey heathland courses at twice the price and there was no hint of snobbery at all.
Now for the only downside! The state of the bunkers on the Hotchkin was absolutely
shocking with most of them being full of very large stones especially the one on 18 that is 50 yards short left of the green. I can't believe that the head green keeper is not aware of this as most of the members are constantly complaining about the problem.
Please wake up head green keeper as this is ruining a fantastic golf course..
Played the Hotchkin course on 16tn July, 1st of all we were given a very warm welcome at golf reception, which after reading an earlier review I wasnt expecting, we were clearly told were all the facilities were and given a free reign to use them. We then went and got a bacon sandwich and a coffee, sitting outside in our golf shoes we were promptly served from a very nice man called Keith from the clubhouse, we then had the opportunity to use the pitch and putt and the putting green (which is clearly marked no chipping, rules are rules eh!!!!) and eventually given the green light bang on our tee time. The course is very very dry and playing short, but you could not help but be impressed by the course and the different holes which require different golf skills, also we were impressed with how easy it was to find wayward shots, only 3 balls were lost in our 4 ball which made a refreshing change. I would like to play the course again when its in a more lush condition and not nearly 100 degrees, but its the greatest test of golf Ive had in over 20 years of golf and only Ganton comes close to the quality of the course. After our round we were made to feel very welcome in the clubhouse and the locker room facilities, especially the showers were most welcoming, all in all a great day out, not snobby in any way and we all 4 want to return next year.
Woodhall Spa is no doubt one of the best clubs I will ever visit. It is a club of 2 courses. The Bracken was frankly a disappointment.
The greens were 'tricked up' and so was much of the course.
It was too open for me and some holes were what I call 'fields' with a tee at one end and a green at the other.
Overnight dinner b&b at Petwood House-excellent.
Next day we played the Hotchkin. What a course. Words fail me.
Words did not fail the starter when he saw me chipping putting alongside the practise green.
I do not like 'OI YOU' types.
Now as it happens I have an issue with banning short put type chips any way, what is that about?
I suppose the home of the English golf Union is as good a place as any to raise the question.
It's a bloody practice green. Why does it need extra protection the playing greens do not get?
There is no danger element.
A full pitch might leave a pitch mark.
If a club doesn't want that then ban full pitches or ban any shot leaving a pitch mark,.
What's wrong with those little feel shots you need to practice?
If there is concern for other players apart from the fact that anyone who interferes with another player shouldn't be there; why not put down a rope like they do at Olton.
I saw someone else being told off for swinging a club in the wrong place.
I did not spoil our visit but it's the kind of jobsworthness that golf does not need.
Also, the proper practice green is on the other side of a large car park in the opposite direction to the driving range which takes 15 minutes to walk to...
This is not the place to slag off a club but on the other hand some write- ups look like they were written by someone on the inside!
I try and be objective but what annoys me and my fellow golfing pals is stupid snobbery of the type that puts off non golfers. Plenty of it at Woodhall Spa.
I have made the pilgrimage to Woodhall twice in 2003 and once in 2004. It is very hard to write anything new about Woodhall when every hole is so special. This is the complete golf course in terms of design, charm, fairness and danger. The par 5 ninth hole is simply stunning, but then you could say the same about par 4 seventh, eleventh and sixth, and the par 3 fifth and twelfth holes are superb - although you might disagree if you go in the bunkers and can't find a way out. The best time to play the course is when the heather is at its most purple, although it is in excellent condition all year round due to the sandy soil. Woodhall is the most natural looking course I have ever played - huge bunkers are often surrounded by gorse, heather and other natural-looking ground which doesn't appear at all manicured. The service is excellent and the people friendly and welcoming. The best course in the world? Probably. You would have a very difficult job in making a case against it by arguing that other courses are superior or more enjoyable to play. The only thing stopping this course being ranked higher is its out-of-the-way location, the fact that many people don't know about it and its lack of history/ emotion which goes hand-in-hand with the major championship courses. Those in the know may want to preserve its anonymity from the tourist invasion - I think I would. Did I mention that it is undoubtedly the best value high-quality golf in the world at £50 a round for EGU members and £60 for others - compares very favourably to the £220 a round at the inferior Wentworth and well over £100 for any of the open courses!
I've played the Hotchkin 3 times now over the last 3 years and every time it has been fabulous. Rightly regarded as one of the best courses in UK. Clubhouse is nice with good food and helpful staff. Well worth the long journey.
Eight of us played four rounds (two on each course) over one weekend in May 2004.
The Hotchkin course is quite rightly rated as one of the best courses in the country - it is superb in every way. We worried that it may prove too difficult higher handicap players, but as most fairways start quite wide but then narrow considerably the further you go this proved to not be a problem. It was also in superb condition.
It annoys me to read the criticism of the Bracken course below. I don't think it is in the same class as the Hotchkin (but then what is?), but is a very good course in it's own right. We all enjoyed our rounds on the (US parkland style) Bracken and thought that the contrast in styles between the two courses added to the enjoyment of our weekend.
The other facilities (driving range, short game area, etc) are all first class.
We will return next year, and the year after, and the year after, and.....
I had been waiting to play this for a long time and it lived up to my expectations. Not excessively long off the dailies but a great course in top condition. You need long straight drives to score anything near your handicap (which ruled me out) and more than anything it's the huge bunkers you remember. I would also advise taking your medicine when you're in the heather and playing out sideways! Pretty good value at £45 for EGU members.
I could wax lyrical about the Hotchkin course all day and night. It is simply perfect, I cannot think of a single improvement that could be made to this course, and I cannot think of any other course I could say that about. The condition of the course is superb, the layout first class and the challenge is breathtaking. The things with sand in aren't bunkers, they're quarries. The 11th is probably the best golf hole I have ever played. I could go on and on, but do yourself a favour and go play the best inland course in the UK, one word of advice, I would pay the day rate for the Hotchkin course rather than play both courses as the Bracken is garbage. - 10/10
One of those courses where one visit is never enough. You will receive a very warm welcome and the practice facilities are excellent. Played Hotckin course one day and Braken the next. If the wind is up and you shoot near your handicap on the Hotckin then you have achieved, as this is one of the sternest tests of golf in Britain. The bunkering is cleverly positioned and getting out of them is a test in itself. Add that to the heather and tree lined fairways you can see why this course is held in such high esteem.
The Braken is more of a US parkland setting and presents a different challenge. The greens are excellent and when the course matures with time it will become a truly great course.
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