From one of England’s best inland courses at Woodhall Spa to the fine links at Seacroft, golf in Lincolnshire has plenty to offer. Here are five to try...
For many years my golf in Lincolnshire experience comprised only the two courses at Belton Woods, and then Burghley Park, where Mark James honed his game.
But there’s more than enough other good golf on offer – both coastal and inland – to make the county well worth considering for a golfing break…
This 100-year-old James Braid course is part links, part parkland. The opener is a relatively gentle par 5, but standing on the 4th tee – the first true links hole – you see but a sliver of fairway.
The 5th along the beach is then a real brute, with a bank at driving distance all but ensuring a long approach to a perilously narrow target.
The back nine then has a blind or semi-blind element to every hole from the 11th to the 17th.
Seacroft plays over a slender links strip south of Skegness, though the sea is rarely visible. The opening holes play by the road down to Gibraltar Point Nature Reserve, with the 1st green flanked by a large Sycamore tree.
A number of back nine fairways are gently valleyed to help coax slightly wayward shots back into play.
My biggest problem came on the par-5 13th where it took me a little while to work out where the green was. Up and round to the right it transpired. If only I’d invested in a course planner.
Woodhall Spa – Hotchkin course
My Hotchkin debut was played out in glorious sunshine and solitude, and I remember watching a team of sadistic greenkeepers strimming the banks of the bunkers on the excellent par-3 5th to ensure balls tumbled all the way in!
There are so many good holes it’s almost impossible to single one out, but if pushed I’d go for the par-5 9th which sets up magnificently from the tee.
The younger Bracken course starts off with water hazards aplenty, but takes on a more natural heathland feel from the 6th hole onwards.
Gainsborough Karsten – Lakes course
The newer sister layout to the 120-year-old Thonock Park course in the home town of Ping generally gives you room to open your shoulders – no bad thing as it’s not short.
It plays over surprisingly elevated terrain, with enough mature trees to bely its youth. Water makes its presence felt often, perhaps most demandingly on the 6th where it pressures you into holding back off the tee.
Best of all though is the 16th where a pretty little brook meanders its way all along the right up to the green.
Comparisons with Woburn are inescapable, with the John Morgan creation comparing very favourably on both beauty and test fronts, but the overall feel is less claustrophobic than you might imagine.
The 3rd on the Forest nine has shades of Augusta’s 13th, while the arrow-straight par-5 5th boasts a memorable sunken green.
On the Pines you’ll need your wits about you on the strong stretch from the 5th to the end, with the highlight perhaps the par-5 8th with its exaggeratedly narrow drive and clustered greenside bunkering.
The third nine – Beeches, which you spy from time to time – is apparently well worth a knock too, although sadly time didn’t allow for me.