Woolfox G. C.
Weather & Course Condition
Considering how the weather has been on the day of my visit it couldn’t have been better, with a clear blue sky and just a few clouds passing over in the light wind and being able to play in a polo shirt for the first time this year was a bonus. A well manicured and open course awaits with large greens some which left you with some challenging putts due to their unevenness that made it even more enjoyable. The course is open and with only young or small trees and bushes on it means it is ideal for those high handicappers who may be a little wild with their drivers, definitely a course to play should you be in the area and one that can challenge the better players as well.
Woolfox (Originally known as Rutland County but has recently changed hands and has been renamed) is North East of Rutland water about halfway between Stretton and Great Casterton, the access to the course cannot be made from the A1 you must get onto the road that runs alongside the southbound carriageway of the A1. As you go up the drive there is the driving range on your left and the clubhouse is in front of you with the course to your right. Once parked on the large car park you will see how much work has been done on the clubhouse and the grounds around it and that work has certainly paid off, the pro shop is quite large and I was warmly welcomed by the club pro Mark Underwood, it has everything that you expect in a pro shop and I expect Mark will be developing it even further. Across from the pro shop is the clubhouse bar, due to the lockdown I didn’t partake in any refreshments on this day but would certainly have done so as the prices appeared to be very good and after the refurbishment it was a very welcoming environment, there is a large outside seating area where you can enjoy your refreshments either before or after your round. My only personal gripe on my visit was that when I knocked a few balls on the driving range I found that the balls had not been cleaned and were very dirty but this may have been because of the issues surrounding the lockdown. On returning home I came across a planning application for the site to be turned into a centre parcs type site with around 60 lodges being built here however I am not sure if they are being built on the course itself or on land alongside of it, I do hope it’s the latter.
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All yardage is from the yellow tee’s
Hole 1 – 384yds – Par 4
A lovely looking hole to start with, a wide fairway leading straight to the green in the distance with no hazards and is just asking for the driver, for some unknown reason that I can’t explain I opted for a 4 iron so was please to see it sail nice and straight down the fairway leaving a pitch into the green which I manage to leave just short of the green. A chip and 2 putt left me one over which I was more than happy with.
Hole 2 – 375yds – Par 4
Again a wide open fairway to the large green, this time I did opt for the driver but made a right mess of it by getting under it and launching it so high I lost sight of it, luckily it landed on the right edge of the fairway but only 140yds away. Using a 3 wood for my second left me just short and left of the green, hoping to now get a par as the hole was only some 12yds away I chipped onto the green then watched as my ball just missed the edge of the hole and continue to roll off the green into a long tuft of grass (boy those greens were fast) so instead of par another shot was dropped.
Hole 3 – 367yds – Par 4
This hole is again quite open with a slight left dogleg, from the tee I tried to aim for the middle of the fairway and hoped to land short of the bunkers that are on the righthand side, it came as quite a nice shock to see my tee shot land on the right of the fairway but passed the bunkers by some way. For my second it looked around 120yds to the green which is uphill from where I was standing, torn between a pitching wedge or my 9 iron I thought the best option would be the 9, for the distance it was the correct choice for me but I had not factored in how far above me the green was so ended up about 4yds short of the green to the left of it, should have gone with a 8 but still pleased to only drop one shot.
Hole 4 – 172yds – Par 3
This has to be one of my favourite par 3’s on this course, a straightforward 170+yd hole with no hazards at all unless you let your tee shot drift off right where your ball will disappear into the rough and down the bank or it could even end up on the previous fairway or in the aforementioned bunkers on the 3rd hole. Up until recently I used to be rubbish on par 3’s as my iron play was something to forget but after a lesson with my pro and watching a Rick Shiels video I am now striking the irons well so with new found confidence I selected my 5 iron, I have found that not taking a full swing is paying off for me so with a ¾ swing I let rip and enjoyed watching the ball fly high and straight towards the hole and landed just in front of the green but after that I lost sight of it due to the sun in my eyes so when I walked upto the green I was well pleased to see the ball right in the middle of the green and only around 8’ from the hole. I would love to say I got a birdie but I was short and ended up with a par.
Hole 5 – 388yds – Par 4
Just look at the photo of this hole and see the work the greenstaff have done, a lovely looking fairway waits for your drive, big hitters will take on the corner and this can leave a short pitch into the green. I aimed to go straight down the fairway with the intention to get to the corner, so letting rip I watched my drive drift off to the right and ended up off to the right of the fairway in the trees that you can see in the photo. As the ball was sitting up well my second was with my rescue wood and it was nice to see it fly towards the green and left me just short of it so another bogey was recorded.
Hole 6 – 508yds – Par 5
Even though this is a wide open hole it is a challenge for someone of my abilities, for the big hitters it will certainly make them work hard to get on the green in 2. A reasonably drive and 2nd with my 3 wood left me in the middle of the fairway just before the turn to the right and then uphill to the green. Deciding to have a go with my 4 iron I took the direct route to the green over the small trees between myself and my target and with some luck the ball ended up no more than 5yds short of the front of the green. With the flag only 12ft from the front of the green I was hoping for another par but unfortunately another bogey was recorded.
Hole 7 – 188yds – Par 3
Another good par 3 with bunkers waiting front left and right for your ball. Having been hitting my 4 iron well from the tee I tried it again on this hole but the strike was not as good as it should have been and I ended up in the bunker on the left. Not being the best player out of sand (why don’t we ever practice bunker shots more than we do?) I opted for my 65 wedge and gave it everything as there was more than enough green to play with as long as I don’t thin it. Pleased to say the ball came out easily and landed a matter of a few feet from the hole but then decided to roll some 20’ past it but at least a 2 putt finish gave me a pleasing result.
Hole 8 – 495yds – Par 5
From the tee the green can be seen in the distance, a straight par 5 with a wide fairway so all that is needed is to stay on the fairway but should you stray off it barring from being right behind one of the young trees there still isn’t any problems. This should have been a par for me but on my 3rd shot I opted for a chip and run with my 8 iron as I was around 35’ short of the green with no hazards between me and the green, if it hadn’t been for that duffed chip I may have got another par instead of the bogey but I was still more than pleased with the result.
Hole 9 – 322yds – Par 4
This hole brings you back to the front of the clubhouse and the chance of some refreshment. Keep on the fairway and don’t do as I did and miss the green on the left as there will be a big bank to go up to get back onto the green and with not to much green to play with it’s not the easiest of shots for us high handicappers.
Hole 10 – 505yds – Par 5
With the courtesy of the 4 ball in front of me letting me play through whilst they visited the clubhouse I looked down the 10th from the tee but the green was not visible but another wide fairway was awaiting. My drive ended up just in the rough on the right and although I hit a good 3 wood from here I was still in the rough, a 9 iron and a wedge later left me on the large green but a long way from the flag but a lucky 2 putt gave me yet another bogey.
Hole 11 – 391yds – Par 4
Another straightforward hole with a bank and bunker on the right which most players will either clear if going straight for the green or will stay well left of my drive did neither and ended up on the bank but as luck would have it on the upslope. Taking my rescue once again I struck the ball well and it flew towards the green but landed in one of the bunkers to the front right of the green, my 3rd out of the green was badly struck and flew across the green ending up off the far side of the green.
Hole 12 – 295yds – Par 4
This is a good hole for the big hitters to have a go at by taking aim over the trees that are between the tee and green then it is reachable, for me I was just happy to have my drive end up just short of the right hand corner of the hole leaving my approach to go over a group of more mature trees and bushes. A well struck 9 iron easily cleared the trees but also cleared the green leaving me some 10yds off to the right of it meaning a awkward pitch back up onto the green which like all the rest was very hard and fast, so keeping up with how the rest of the round was going another bogey recorded.
Hole 13 – 142yds – Par 3
A short par 3 with just a bunker to the left of the green and anything right of the green will disappear down the bank. Taking an easy 7 iron I made my worst tee shot of the day and topped the ball and saw it trundling into the rough down the left side of the hole, so taking a provisional I tried again but this time the ball flew high and straight into the said bunker. On walking to the green I noticed a ball some 20yds short of the green in the middle and on checking it found it to have been my first ball which had managed to roll out of the rough to where it lay now, with this luck maybe I should do the lottery tonight.
Hole 14 – 360yds – Par 4
With O.O.B. all the way down the left and the hole gently turning to the left this is really the first hole to be careful of even though there is still a wide open fairway I suspect there have been a few tee shots that have gone out of play here. For myself a little fatigue started to hit me at this point as this was only my third round since lockdown was lifted. My drive was pulled to the left and I just managed to stay in play, from here there was no shot to the green as a large well matured tree blocked the green and I neither had the skill or energy to go over or round it so opted to just knock it out onto the fairway. My approach shot with a 9 iron was not much better even though the distance was good I pushed it to the right and found a greenside bunker so after all that to record a bogey was more than a good result which was even better when I realised the hole was a S.I. 2 so I had received 2 strokes and recorded a nett 3.
Hole 15 – 158yds – Par 3
What a hole this one is, from the tee you look down to the green which is on a bit of a plateau with bunkers around it and is more of a challenge for all golfers. For me this is their signature hole and deciding which club to use was a issue, I could opt for the rescue which I can hit high but a good contact would easily clear the green, next option was my 7 iron which if hit well would easily reach the green but if not would most likely end up in the bunker at the front. After a minute or two I decided on a easy 5 iron aiming to the right side of the green, so taking a easy swing the ball sailed high and on the line I wanted but dropped short of the green and bounced left into the bunker. Managing to get out of the bunker with my 65 wedge it still left me a long putt from the far side of the green and I managed to close the hole with a bogey.
Hole 16 – 536yds – Par 5
The longest hole on the course now awaits you, from the tee the fairway drops down to the right hand dog leg then upto the green in the distance, down the right side are the white posts marking the out of bounds but big hitters may take on the corner especially if they had a following wind leaving them with the chance of getting on in two. Most will do the same as myself and just aim straight down the fairway which I did and happily watched as my ball for once went straight but as the fairway drops away it ended where it could not be seen from the tee. A reasonable 3 wood from the fairway left me around 150yds short of the green on the rightside of the fairway, my 3rd was not too well struck and left me just short of the green so once again another bogey went on the scorecard.
Hole 17 – 154yds – Par 3
As long as your tee shot is reasonably straight is a good result as anything left will leave you down a bank in quite long grass and amongst young trees, there are bunkers to the right of the green awaiting anything pushed right. Deciding I need to get more use of my 5 iron I teed off with that and it was a good strike with the ball landing just in front of the green on the right, a bounce onto the green looked good from the tee but as the green is higher on the right the ball rolled down to the left just past the hole and ended up just off the green.
Hole 18 – 355yds – Par 4
The last hole and once again a wide open fairway that leads round to the green in the distance. Wanting to finish on a high I took my time setting up for my drive, making sure my grip was spot on and having a few loosener swings I address the ball and made sure everything was right both in my mind and setup and made a perfect swing and struck the ball out of the middle of the driver face. My second was from the rough on the left some 10yds short of the fairway, yes I barely managed to pass the women’s tee with the drive, think I’ll just do it the old way as the results are definitely better. I have a M6 3 wood and have not been hitting it anywhere near as well as my old burner so the thought of using it now didn’t sit well with me but use it I did. Whether by luck or skill I hit the best 3 wood ever, it rocketed out of the rough with a perfect flight straight down the fairway and left me a short pitch to the green it must have been about a 235yds strike with the 3 wood something I could only dream about. Even so I still scored another bogey the 16th of my round, I should be pleased as my playing handicap was 23 and I ended up being 16 over par which makes me wonder if the World playing index is correct.
Back to Woolfox, this is a great well manicured course that is fun to play and a good challenge for all and needs more patrons to play here, the team that run this club work hard and deserve to reap the rewards for all their hardwork by having us golfers support them. Thank you to all at Woolfox for your help and support on the day of my visit.
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