The Woodhall Spa Golf Centre in Lincolnshire, has been a regular venue for the Greencard Golf Tour for over 25 years. Over that time we’ve seen it develop into one of the best golf destinations in the UK. Now home to the English Golf Union and the National Golf Centre there has been significant investment in both the tremendous academy facilities and the quality of the golf courses.
We were based in the excellent Dower House Hotel. Located opposite Woodhall Spa Golf Club, this Edwardian country lodging is an elegant country house hotel, full of character and charm.
The golf programme included three rounds on the Hotchkin and one on the Bracken. The Hotchkin is the lead Woodhall Spa golf course and benefits from the firm sandy soil ensuring that the course is kept in excellent condition throughout the year. Deep faced bunkers and heather-lined fairways are its key hazards waiting to catch out errant drives or approach shots. It is a solid test for any level of golfer and a must-play experience.
Round 1: Peter Roe sets the pace with opening 36
We opened the week playing the Championship Hotchkin course and Peter Roe led the field after the first round following his superb 36 points. Neil McGarva was only two back on 34 and Alistair Walker was lying third on 32. Lodewijk Schlingemann was in fourth on 30 and Pauline Crosthwaite was the leading lady on 29.
The majority of the group had dinner in the evening at the hotel. The food and service was excellent which made for a very pleasant evening.
Weather dampens the Bracken for Round 2
The weather had been overcast for the first round but we were promised heavy rain for the following day. When the curtains were opened our fears were realised with the rain pouring down. We were due to play the Bracken, the second course at Woodhall Spa golf center, later that morning and as we set off the rain, if anything had got heavier. However, thankfully by the time we had reached the back nine the weather had improved and the umbrellas were put away.
The Bracken course although situated on the same ground has a totally different feel. Designed by Donald Steel it is a parkland course with fewer bunkers but more large trees and raised greens.
Round 2: Good Scoring Despite the Weather
John Meagher and Ian Robinson played superbly in the conditions to score 34 points. Anne Bridges shot 33, a score matched by the on form Pauline Crosthwaite.
At the half way stage Peter Roe was leading the field after scoring 30 points in the second round which brought his total to 66. Pauline Crosthwaite and Alistair Walker were just behind on 62 points. Anne Bridges and Neil McGarva were a further two back on 60.
The weather forecast was showing signs of improvement for the following day’s third round on the Hotchkin. Although we ended up having to deal with one or two light showers, it was nothing compared to the previous day. These courses had dealt with the rain fantastically well and with the Hotchkin being sand based the drainage was excellent – a real credit to the recent investment put into the facilities at the Woodhall Spa golf complex and to the course maintenance team
Round 3: Neil Marr takes narrow lead going into final 18
Neil Marr managed to avoid all of the 100 plus bunkers on the Hotchkin course to shoot the best score of the day with 36 points. Anne Bridges had another good day with 33 and both John Shearan and Ian Robinson finished with 31 points.
So with one round to go Neil Marr had taken advantage of the overnight leaders struggling a little to jump into the lead on 94 points. Anne Bridges was one behind with Peter Roe two further back. Neil McGarva made the fourth member of the final group with 90 points.
Round 4: Sun shines on a testing Hotchkin
The sun was shining for the final round and the course looked superb. The Hotchkin course does not allow you to relax as every hole is a challenge. It is a great test of your ability and holding onto a lead heading down the final stretch would not be an easy task.
Early leaders set excellent pace
Although there were several good scores recorded from the earlier starters, they were not high enough to threaten the leaders. John Meagher’s 33 points ensured that he would finish the event in fourth position.
However, it was soon down to the last two fourballs on the course. Ian Robinson shot 30 points and ensured sixth place overall. Alistair Walker matched this score and although he finished one place lower overall than Ian Robinson, he still secured sufficient Tour Points to qualify for the Grand Finals later in the year.
Neil McGarva goes to the top of the tables
Neil McGarva and Peter Roe have already qualified for the aforementioned Finals week from previous events. However, both were very much in the mix for more success here. Peter’s final round of 29 and 120 in total confirmed a third place finish. Meanwhile, Neil McGarva had an excellent round scoring 32 points and 122 overall. It would be enough to secure a second place and take him to top of the Tour Points Order of Merit.
Finals qualifiers list continues to grow
Neil Marr’s form dropped a little for the final round, this took him out of contention but his work earlier in the week had put him in a great position and his eighth position overall secured sufficient Tour Points to qualify for the Grand Finals.
Pauline Crosthwaite charges through to claim debut Tour victory
Meanwhile Pauline Crosthwaite had enjoyed her best day of the week. Her 35 points in the final round had taken her total to 123, it was enough to pass Neil McGarva by a single point and claim her first Greencard Tour Victory. In doing so, Pauline also guaranteed her place at the Grand Finals, which will be held in La Manga from the 28th October 2017.
Congratulations to Pauline on her fine win and a huge thank you to everybody for making the event such a success. We will definitely return to the Woodhall Spa golf complex in the future and I believe that with the Dower House, we have the perfect combination of quality golf and accommodation.
Find out how the results from this event change our Tour Points and Order of Merit Tables by clicking below:
Woodhall Spa Golf 2017 Final Leaderboard
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