Woodhall Spa Day 2 - The Hotchkin Course
After a good breakfast downstairs at 8.00 am, a few of us went along to the 617 Squadron (the Dambusters) Memorial just down the road from the Inn. Woodhall Spa was a very busy place indeed in the Second World War – and we were actually visiting on the 80th anniversary of the famous Dambusters raid.
There were 24 playing today – now also including Bryan Pickup. We played an Individual Stableford competition for the Tour Champion Trophy – one of the Fitz majors, along with the Fitz Open. We teed off from 10.00 am in 6 groups – with the Starter witnessing all 24 of us pleasingly hitting quite reasonable first shots. Then it must be said that many of us found it much more difficult!
The course was much drier than the Bracken – as it is sandy heathland. The fairways were very good – and the grass was quite springy and nice to play off. But there are over 150 (often quite large and deep) bunkers on the course, there a number of lengthy carries off the tee (often over heathery ground) and we seemed to be often playing nearer the white tees than the yellows – and the greens were much faster on this course – so we needed all of the extra shots that we were given on our course handicap, and a few more would certainly have helped!
Even for those of us not playing particularly well, we could still enjoy a lovely May day – with the trees and vegetation in its full late Spring glory and plentiful birdlife – and even the odd hare to admire. A number of times in the round, we were loudly interrupted by a superb flypast almost directly overhead of a Lancaster Bomber accompanied by a Spitfire and a Hurricane, from a nearby airfield practising for the 80th anniversary celebrations of the Dambusters Raid.
After playing, we had a chilli con carne lunch before the Tour prize giving – with the announcement of another new winner of the Tour Champion Trophy. Gavin Dolling narrowly came out on top – on countback with 35 points. Gavin now qualifies to represent Fitz in next year’s Inter College competition. The other leading players – all with excellent and hard-earned scores were:
35 Gavin Dolling (Winner on countback)
35 Andrew Garden and Peter Galpin.
32 Andrew Coombs, Bryan Pickup and Martin Dinkele
29 Stuart Lester
28 Richard Newport and Jon Prichard
27 Clive Makin, Mike Hall, Harry Coe, Andy Flint and Mike Sellers
We again played the Nearest the Pin on all of the three par 3s – and the winners were:
5th hole Gavin Dolling (very close, behind the hole)
8th hole Charlie Brown
12th hole Bryan Pickup.
For the Longest Drive it was decided to have this at the 17th hole – although this was described by the golf professional as ‘not a driving hole’! The aim was to have something a bit less straightforward than the normal straight hole for the Longest Drive, There was a dogleg on the hole around the 200 yards point – and the plan to stop the usual suspects winning nearly worked – but in the end, one of the big hitters – Gavin Dolling – did manage to find the far fairway, ahead of the rest of us (some close contenders, it must be said).
It was a very enjoyable tour and the arrangements all worked out well – which I was pleased about. Although the golf was extremely challenging – especially on the Hotchkin course. As usual, we try to move around the country on our Tours – and this area, rather off the beaten track in Lincolnshire – was a region that many of our tourists had not been to before. It is a very pleasant rural area – and the town of Woodhall Spa is also quite interesting.
MIKE HAMMENT, PRESIDENT & TOUR ORGANISER