Hillsborough Golf Club was founded in 1920, with holes laid out across and old ganister quarry owned by farmer Charles Bramall at the side of Wadsley Common. The local vicar, Reverend George Cherry Weaver, became the first president of the club but he later resigned over the issue of playing on a Sunday.
Conditions at the outset were pretty basic, with players having to work their way around walls, ditches and old quarry workings and a wooden clubhouse, lit by oil lamps, was finally brought into use two years after the club’s formation.
A decade later, the club purchased the land it was leasing and in 1936 a new clubhouse was opened, which merited a visit from one of the three Whitcombe brothers, Charles, who was at that time the Great Britain Ryder Cup Captain.
During World War Two, crops were grown on part of the course and the local Wharncliffe Hospital used the clubhouse for storage. Golf still continued, with Home Guards even given honorary membership of the club.
Today, the course extends to 6,254 yards from the back tees, with par set at 71; out in 35 and back in 36. Highlight holes include risk-reward short par fours at the 7th and 17th, along with the 630-yard 18th, an epic downhill par five finisher.
I visited Hillsborough GC again yesterday and whilst not needing to do a full detailed review (did one last year) I thought a brief update would be useful.
I viewed each hole as objectively as I could, taking into account conditioning, quality of greens, layout etc and I have to say that each time I play the course grows on me.
The 1st 3 holes remain a tough opening set for any golf course and I continue to highly rate the 2nd and 3rd, visually both are stunning holes. And the 4th and 5th are really starting to mature into the overall course, even those these were added much later than the original layout. This time I noticed on the 5th, the clever weaving of the fairway, so not really a gentle left to right, but actually if you drive to far, you end up blocked out and having to play a right to left shot to get to the green. There is also a group of trees 100 yards from the green on the left hand side, where some of them of them are actually within the fairway. An interesting added complication to the hole.
This double dog leg as it could, also appears on the 15th which I had always had down as a left to right fairway, but again the fairway weaves back to the left, so position off the tee is vital.
6,7,8 remain too tightly crammed in and with this being a busy course, there are players everywhere and balls flying all around you. You also have this ‘busy’ feeling playing the 8th, 15th and 14th as all fairways are close together and errant shots make for dangerous golf! A tad more land would have been helpful to space this overall corner of the property out better.
The par 3’s remain the courses highlights - 2nd, 6th, 10th, 13th and all of an excellent quality. The 13th, which I down played last review is actually a lovely little hole in the quarry bottom.
They have removed tress around the 6th green and 17th hole which have improved appearances and made the short 17th in particular feel more in keeping with the rest of the course.
The blind shot on the 14th remains a nuisance, and they could create more visual and therefore a better hole by removing/lowering the cliff face which blocks all view of the hole.
The greens were excellent, so many variations within the complexes which make for interesting putts, but true and pristine.
The clubhouse is having some improvements made as well to the changing areas which is good news.
Overall a welcome return and whilst the course was simply too busy for my liking to want to play it more regularly, the overall presentation, challenge and quality is there to see..
Hillsborough Golf Club, situated in Wadsley, in the North West Sheffield is set alongside Wadsley and Loxley Commons, heathland areas adjoining the course and on the edge of the Peak District. It is set high up with great views back across Sheffield and out to the Peak District. Yet it is only 10 minutes from the centre of the City.
I live 1 minute away and yet this is not the golf club I am a member of. Reason why is that whilst there are some good holes within the 18 hole layout, it simply as a course is not that good, and certainly not deserving of a 24th ranking within Yorkshire.
I do however like parts of the course and will highlight these. Hillsborough GC has had it’s troubles over the years and in fact a book was written about some of these but to visit now you do get a friendly welcome and there are practice facilities very close to the club house.
The 1st sums up my frustrations with the course - teeing off from directly outside the clubhouse and putting green, the 1st is a long slog up hill, with oob all the way up the left hand side and trees, which separate the 1st and 18th fairways, coming into play on the right. So yes the hole is tough, but it’s bland. And the same can be said for so many holes on this course. Samey, not inspiring, forgettable.
That said, and in balance, there are some excellent holes - namely the 2nd, which is a superb short par 3 across a gully with a severely sloping back to front green, protected by bunkers to the front left and lined by the woods of Loxley common also on the left and oob. You then follow this with another excellent hole, the 3rd, a par 4 which has a linksy feel to the shape of the hole and again with woods all the way down the left hand side. At this point you’re feeling good about the course having played 2 excellent holes.
But then you cross the road to the 4th and 5th, built when I was a kid in the early 70’s if I remember rightly, and whilst they are maturing, they don’t offer much interest with the 4th swinging right to left and the 5th coming back swinging left to right. Great views of the Peak District from the 4th green and 5th tee however.
You cross back across the road and play the delightful long par 3 6th, before a very short par 4 7th. Driving the green is easily possible but with heavy bunkering, most play a mid iron and then short iron onto the green. I like this hole although it does feel like it has been sandwiched in.
Then you come to the 8th which I never hear anyone say anything good about. It’s a sharp dog left right and unless you are a big hitter and fancy your chances over the house which protrudes into the course, then you have to try and play to the corner, however the ball always runs through to the 15th. Not a good hole
You then drop down and play a bland par 5, but that is followed by another excellent par 3, downhill hole, Beautifully framed. Halfway hut is at this point.
Then you get to a stretch of the course which I think is poor, rather samey and needs to be re thought. The 11th par four back up the hill is followed by the 12th coming back down (I do like the visuals on the 12th as you come towards the green with the woods surrounding it), then a short par 3 in the quarry, which really isn’t up to the standards of the other par 3’s on the course and then the 14th when you have a blind tee shot up over the quarry edge - just not a good stretch of holes.
The 15th is good as you come back on yourself as it sweeps gently round to the right with a well positioned green and this is followed by another short hole, the 16th but the defence is the the slight dog left left and well protected green, a nice hole.
The 17th is a very short par 4, tight through the trees, where they have added bunkering to try and make it more interesting but this hole again seems to be forced into the layout
The course does finish however with a strong, long downhill par 5 to a sunken green by the clubhouse, with trouble all the way down the left and the 1st fairway to the right. It’s a good finishing hole.
This is a friendly and busy club with excellent greens and a few quality holes, notably the 2nd, 3rd, 6th, 9th, 15th, 16th and 18th. It simply has too many bland holes for it to be rated more highly in my opinion.