Golf course architect Tom Doak has been hired to advise on a development plan at the National Golf Centre in Woodhall Spa, UK.
Home of England Golf, Doak’s work at the Centre will have a particular focus on the Hotchkin course. Doak visited the course as a student and included the design of the 18th hole in his book, The Anatomy of a Golf Course.
“Most of our work will be to focus on enhancing the features that have always made Woodhall Spa special,” Doak told GCA. “This will include clearing trees to help restore more of the open heath character, expanding mowing lines to recover the toughest hole locations close to the green side bunkers, and generally removing visual clutter so that the unique bunkering can dominate the views.”
“The other half of the battle is rebuilding some of the bunker faces so that they can be better maintained,” he explained. “As you know, they are one of a kind in their depth and shape, but that asks some difficult questions on the maintenance side, too.”
“We expect the process to take several years, but the superintendent will start expanding the greens mowing this winter,” Doak added. “We expect to start work on a handful of holes, probably holes nine to twelve – in the late fall of this year.”
The Hotchkin course was originally laid out by Harry Vardon, with Harry Colt and Col. Hotchkin also among the names to have worked on the design.
Doak’s recent work includes the development of the Renaissance Club in Scotland, Pacific Dunes in the US, and Cape Kidnappers in New Zealand.
“In our opinion Tom Doak is one of the most accomplished architects in the world today and we feel that renovating/refining a national treasure like the Hotchkin Course requires expert opinion,” said Richard Latham, general manager of the National Golf Centre. “We are huge admirers of Tom’s work and are confident that his input will be invaluable.”