Hillside Golf Club, one of the finest links courses in the famed North West of England golf coast, comes under the spotlight this week as host venue for the Betfred British Masters.
Double Open Champion Australian Greg Norman, after playing in the PGA tournament at Hillside in 1982, described the course as: ‘The back nine holes are the Best in Britain.’ Jack Nicklaus described the course as ‘…a wild looking links’ and added that ‘…within the second nine are some of my favourite holes'.
For Tommy Fleetwood, this marks a special homecoming.
"There are so many great courses around here but for me, the first time I ever came to play here was such a wonderful experience. I felt very lucky and privileged just to be on the course. Since then I’ve been fortunate to have been a member and get to know a few of the members. It’s always great to come back here.
“One of the things about Hillside is the amazing views from a few of the raised tees. There’s nowhere in the town that offers the same panoramic views that you can get out on the course. In terms of set-up, we can put the pins in some tricky spots but wind and changing conditions can play a factor in those decisions.
One of the things about Hillside is the amazing views - Tommy Fleetwood
“There are a lot of birdie opportunities out there and scope for players to get into a good momentum and get a good score going. It’s definitely a second-shot golf course and, like all links courses, there are certain fairway bunkers well positioned to punish you if you hit any drives slightly offline.”
The course comprises two distinct halves with the opening holes heading south westward along flat ground beside the railway line before the contrasting back nine which winds its way through some of the highest and wildest dunes found anywhere.
We take a closer look at this spectacular back nine.
172 yards Par 3
Now this is where it starts to get interesting! The following nine holes are set amongst spectacular dunes and this hole is no exception. A very tight green will reward an accurate shot, the front half of the green can be very slick.
509 yards Par 5
Many regard this as Hillside’s signature hole, certainly the view from the tee is well worth lingering over, as on a clear day the fells of the Lake District can be seen to the North. This majestic par 5 meanders through dunes to an elevated green which is just in front of the pine wood.
400 yards Par 4
A pond on the right of this shortish par 4 must be avoided to leave a short iron approach into a green sloping from front to back.
402 yards Par 4
A great looking par 4 played uphill and generally into the wind. The tall dunes give a marvellous sense of isolation.
400 yards Par 4
The elevated championship tee once again affords a spectacular view with Snowdonia to the South and to the East to the fells of Lancashire. The hole is dominated by huge dunes.
421 yards Par 4
A significant dog-leg to the left with 4 fairway bunkers at the elbow. It’s a pretty approach to a green which is surrounded by dunes.
218 yards Par 3
Now this is one of the best par 3s you will play. Over 200 yards from the back tee, the green is set at a slight angle to the line of play. A huge ‘Mackenzie’ green awaits that sheds any errant shot away – no bunkers required here!
548 yards Par 5
A majestic par 5 played from a spectacular high tee that entices the golfer to open their shoulders – but beware as trouble awaits along the entire length of the hole.
439 yards Par 4
A spectacular new championship tee provides a fitting finish to a memorable round. At 480 yards it is a demanding par 4 with a well-protected green just yards away from the 19th!
Aerial photos and hole text courtesy of WSP Global
Photos: Getty Images