Hillside, UK

Hillside golf club is located very close to Royal Birkdale in the north of the UK. We played the course a couple of weeks after the British Masters 2019 as you can tell from below picture.

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We arrived into Manchester in the morning and drove straight to the course where it was raining heavily. They had a club tournament on and we had the first tee time after the competition.

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We had coffee and a bit to eat whilst watching the players coming back from their round in full rain gear. In many parts of the world golfers complain about the weather, but it is great to see players just accepting the conditions and making the most of it. Talking to a few of the players after their round they were positive about the weather today as it was even worse the day before….

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Hole 1, par 4

The opening hole is a straight par 4 with well placed bunkers on both sides of the fairway. I hit a decent drive down the middle but missed the green right, but got up and down for a opening par.

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Nothing like links style bunkers
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Looking back down the first hole
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My approach to 3rd hole

The 3rd hole has is protected by water in near the green and I hit a driver from the tee which was a bit too risky in hindsight as the landing area is quite narrow with the water running along the left hand side.

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Hit a decent approach to a makeable birdie, but wasnt able to convert
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Hole 4, par 3

Good par 3 with bunkers protecting the green. I missed my tee shot right which leaves a difficult up and down with the pin position on the right hand side.

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Hole 7, par

Really good looking par 3 with well placed bunkers. My playing partner and I both came up short as the wind was difficult to read. I had another tough up and down from behind the bunker to a short pin. As with most courses you cannot leave your shot in the wrong positions and of course playing new courses this is even more challenging.

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Tee shot on 8

Dogleg left and a bit intimidating from the tee. There is more space on the fairway than what is apparent from the tee, but still needs a good tee shot to hit the fairway.

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Hole 9, par 4

A strong finishing par 4 to the front nine. From the tee you can go save down the middle of fairway and leave a longer second shot or try and carry the road and get onto the fairway on the lefthand side for a shorter approach. As many good holes a risk/reward decision from the tee. I went for the risk and hit a nice drive onto the left hand fairway which only left me a wedge to the green. Didnt capitalize on that as my second shot was long and left me a tough chip shot. Resulted in a bogey.

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Hole 11, par 5

Considered the signature hole and it is good looking hole. There is something special about standing a bit higher than the fairway and hitting down on the fairway.

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11th green with a runoff area in front
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Hole 12, par 4

A difficult driving hole as there is water on the right hand side and trees on the left.

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Hole 14, par 4

A well designed par 4 with the mounts on both sides. The landing area is relatively small and as the hole is not than long you can go for a shorter tee shot to make sure your playing the approach from the fairway.

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Hole 16, par 3

The green is divided into multiple levels which adds a bit more pressure on distance control to avoid a difficult putt.

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Hole 17, par 5

I really enjoyed this hole. A strong par 5 uphill with a tough green to hit. I was in the fairway bunker from the tee but manage to get close in 3 shot for a good birdie chance as you can see from below picture….it was missed and unfortunately no birdies for me on Hillside.

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17th green with a view of Royal Birkdale clubhouse
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Hole 18, par 4

A good finishing hole with bunkers in play from the tee. I hit a driver perfect onto the fairway but missed my approach in the green side bunker.

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I really enjoyed Hillside, especially after watching the British Masters  and playing the course with many of the holes in mind. We got lucky with the weather as the rain stopped on the 1st tee. The course was in decent shape, nothing extraordinary but as you would expect. Like many courses there are some really good holes that you remember well and some that are average. I didnt play that well, missing to many greens from the fairway and didnt have the short game to get away with it.

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