Many found the wonderful Hotchkin course at Woodhall Spa a bit too tough last year and that probably contributed to the low number attending this year. However, those who did join us all agreed it to be one of the very best UK breaks. It is easy to say that, but I know the clientele concur.
Despite the long hot summer, and maybe aided by a couple of welcome storms the previous two days, both the Hotchkin and Bracken courses were in excellent condition. Blankney GC, less heralded, but a lovely rural Lincolnshire parkland layout was in fine condition too and always worth a visit when in the Lincoln area.
The world renown Hotchkin course is undergoing a three year face lift. Much clearing out of silver birch trees, gorse and bracken etc., subtle changes to some greens and renovation of its fearsome bunkers (in my opinion now not as fearsome), next summer will reveal the final result of this program as the last phase takes place during the coming winter. It’s sister course, the Bracken, designed by David Steele, is now twenty years old and I felt this year had really matured. A fine and interesting layout, quite a contrast to the Hotchkin, with its undulating greens an interesting feature!
We try to make these tours friendly golfing breaks and with a variety of handicaps mainly play team events, however, without being over serious, an individual stableford and a mixed 4 bbb to find our “ tour Champions” saw David with an excellent 38pts on the Bracken win the individual comfortably from Richard on 33. David ably supported by Allison were 4bbb winners on 43, Richard and Rosemary runners up with 38.
The Petwood Hotel, a Manor house steeped in history, especially of the “Dam Busters” era, was as usual our base for five nights. The glorious weather meant we could take particular advantage of the terrace overlooking well tended gardens and expansive lawns. As always the friendly staff were welcoming, supplied a fine breakfast and the whole group agreed the table d’hôte dinners were exceptional, as was the ambience of the Squadron Bar restaurant for our private dining.
This year I departed with a feeling that the whole package matched up to the very special ambience of the Woodhall Spa Hotchkin course, year on year voted into the worlds top 50 golf courses – and yes, still my favourite!
Hope to see you soon.
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