Hillside was probably the highlight of my group's four-day tour in the area recently, besides staying in the Dormy at RLSA of course. My three playing companions had their cameras out on many occasions on the back nine, especially on the last two elevated (blue) tees.
Personally, I was slightly less fond of the place. The fairways are far too flat and smooth to get that maximum links feel, especially as the terrain on the back nine promises so much. In fact, I ended up enjoying the golf on the more understated front nine more, while I spent more time admiring views on the back nine. On reflection, I realise that my taste in links golf has evolved the more of it I have played. Ten years ago I would definitely have rated Hillside higher.
All this being said, it is a very well presented championship links course of high calibre, the finish of which (at least in early June 2019) has probably been helped by hosting the British Masters.
Now, assuming you have a free choice of courses in the area, how should you prioritise? If we leave the three Open venues (Birkdale, Hoylake and RLSA) aside, I would pick Formby ahead of Hillside. Furthermore, if you already have Birkdale on your schedule, I would also pick West Lancs ahead of Hillside to get more variety.
Date: June 03, 2019