Both courses also had extra bits of history: Woodhall Spa is the home of the English Golf Union, which owns the course: in effect we as golf club members own it; Moortown was where the first Ryder Cup match was played in the UK, in 1929.Woodhall is a lovely heathland course which had a couple of advantages compared to Bamburgh: it's flat and it wasn’t windy. But it has exceedingly large bunkers. I’m pleased to say I had a birdie on the first hole, which set the scene for 18 points on the front nine and 15 on the back. Mike Robinson and I (southerners) played John Southern and Keith Whitfield (northerners). After a close start, we were three down with four to play but managed to halve on the 18th. I won’t go through each shot, but they were mostly very satisfying, as was the Chateau Musar in the evening. Continuing to focus on important issues, Woodhall also had a half-way house, something I think we should think about one day.
Moortown was tough; I only had a par on the first (Keith had a birdie) and then didn’t score for ages.. Mike and I were four down after seven holes. But then things turned as we won eight holes in a row. I had an inspirational – some might say outrageous – birdie to put us level; after mis-hitting my second onto the next fairway 150 yards from the green, I hit a lofted wood low (very low) over the rough, between the bunkers and into the pin so hard that it was loud to me 150 yards away. It dropped. Golf is a psychological game. Having got 11 points on the front nine, and two down, I thought the course was disappointing. After getting 11 points on the back nine, but with that birdie and a par, and finishing four and three, I thought it was great. And the Ryder Cup memorabilia was fascinating.
I’d recommend a stay at Woodhall Spa for the village, the course and the hotel. The title “Old classics”, by the way, refers to the courses not the players.