Candia Woods opened for play in 1964. The golf course was designed by Phil Wogan whose father, Skip Wogan, worked directly for the famed golf course architect Donald Ross. Through the years Candia Woods has undergone a number of changes and improvements all of which have been overseen by the original designer and his firm.
The club has been host to many state and local events including the prestigious New Hampshire Amateur in 1990 and the New Hampshire Open in 1971. Although Candia Woods offers the challenge to tournament players it is a very enjoyable course for players of all abilities. Generous fairways and the option to run the ball onto every green are part of the reason that Candia Woods is called: The Friendliest Course in New Hampshire.
As you play, you'll find large landing areas for your ball on this user-friendly course. Although there are some difficult hazards to deal with that will test your golfing skills, they are not penal. The greens are spacious, but they have slopes and undulations.
Take out your driver for the first hole because even from the middle tees, this par-4 measures over 400 yards. From the back tees it plays at 423 yards and from the forward it plays at 275. In addition to the length, you're going to be hitting into a prevailing wind. "It's a little bit tougher than many golfers would like for a starting hole," says Ted Bishop, general manager and director of golf at Candia Woods Golf Course.
A long tee shot positioned on the left side of the fairway gives you your best approach shot. But the fairway turns into a narrow throat on your approach to the green which is bunkered on both sides. Missing the green left, right or long almost always results in a bogey.
The fourth hole, our No. 1 handicap hole, requires a tee shot that is uphill on a fairway that slopes toward you and from right to left. You're not going to get a lot of run out of your tee shot. You'll often have an uphill lie for your second shot. "You'll be using a mid- to long-iron to get to the green which is hard to see from the fairway even though it's slightly elevated," says Bishop. Not only that, but the green slopes from right to left toward a bunker.
After that difficult hole, you take on a beautiful par-3 on No. 5 (193 yards from the back tees and 173 from the forward). "This is a hole that has been recently renovated," says Bishop. "There are a couple of new tee boxes and it has been re-landscaped near the green and to the left. We took down some trees and removed some rocks on the left side of the green so now it's still possible to miss to the left and still find your ball. The hole offers a range of distances. You can use a fairway wood or even a short iron off the tee."
On No. 9, you play a par-5 (533 yards from the back tees and 445 from the forward) that plays downwind and offers the long hitter to take a chance at getting on in two strokes. "Every the average player can generally make it to the green in three shots," says Bishop.
You'll find rolling terrain on the back nine that is similar to the front. You'll be hitting into the prevailing wind on No. 10 (468 yards from the back and 369 from the forward) which makes it seem longer than it really is.
This is a slight dogleg left that you can reach in two, but you have to get your ball through a narrow opening in the greens that encircle the green. The green also tends to be one of our faster greens. "It's somewhat of a risk reward hole," says Bishop. "With two good shots, however, you could have an eagle try. It's a relatively easy three-shot par-5. However, the green is small and tends to be one of our faster greens."
You'll find a relatively short par-4 on No. 14 (323 yards from the back tees and 293 from the forward). The challenge here is the green which is sloped toward you. If you land on the right side of the green, the high side will push you ball to the left. "The green is fast and it's hard to get close to the pin," says Bishop. "If you land on the high side, it can lead to extra putts."
The par-5 No. 16 is above average in length and plays into the prevailing wind. Generally speaking it's our toughest par-5. It plays at 555 yards from the back tees and 433 from the forward. There is a generous landing area to the left. The green is very small and well-guarded at the front by bunkers. Par is a well-deserved score on this hole.
You'll finish your round on a par-4 that measures 421 yards from the back tees and 323 from the forward. "For the first 165 yards on this hole it's fairly straight," says Bishop. "Then there's a downward undulation and you can end up with a difficult lie."
The green on No. 18 is also slightly elevated. It's large and sloped from back to front. "It's not an easy green to bounce a ball onto. There aren't a lot of birdies here," says Bishop. "Par is a good score here."
Distances, ratings and slope at Candia Woods: 6,540 yards (70.9/118); 6,307 (69.8/117); 5,561 (66.1/109 for men, 70.2/117 for women ); 5,357 (71.7/127).