Great course, a quarter of a ball behind Birkdale therefore rounds up to 6 balls. Friendly pro shop gave Hillside an immediate advantage. The course is a well conditioned, beautiful course. Much has been said about the back 9 being the superior, which is true, but the front 9 is still excellent golf. The rough was usually manageable, penal to the point of usually needing to club down a few to get it back to safety but not endlessly looking for balls. The 10th hole is a fantastic short par 3 that is a gateway to the magnificent back nine. If you have the time seek out the back tees, in one case about the size of a pool table (15th?) as the views are great and adds another dimension to a few holes.
A nesting bird had a lucky escape on the par 3 16th. I pulled my long iron into the deep rough on the side of the hill, pin high, and as I had a quick look for it in the knee high rough (atypical of the entire course but in patches), swiping away with my wedge, I almost took its head off but stopped short just. I apologised profusely and left her to it and my pro V.
The size of the dunes are noticeably larger than Birkdale and approaching Cruden Bay in size. I haven't played the likes of Trump, Portstewart, Enniscrone yet so I'm sure there are bigger out there but I walked away impressed. Hillside has joined Western Gailes, Old Course, Cruden Bay & Birkdale as my 6 ballers in amongst the 56 links courses I have played. For relativity 5 ballers include Rye, RCP, Formby, Lytham, Carnoustie. Warren from Australia
Date: September 01, 2016