This is my favourite course I get to pay on a regular basis and I cannot recommend it highly enough. As you turn into the driveway that meanders down through the woodland you will not believe what a treat Hollinwell has in store for you. As you sweep right out of the trees the long drive down towards the clubhouse opens up for you. Take it all in. I have never known a better entrance to a golf club.
This club is one of pure class from start to finish. The clubhouse sits grandly next to the 1st tee and 3rd and 18th greens and has always offered a warm welcome when I play there.
Good practice facilities and putting green and a friendly pro shop.
The 1st tee is manicured to perfection (as is the 4th which is also near the clubhouse!). Some comment that the 1st is bland, but given the stern test of golf you are about to commence a gentler start is only fair to help you ease into the round. That said, with bunkers left and right and heather on both sides there is plenty to get you into trouble from the get go if you hit a wayward shot.
The 2nd is a hole of such quality, gently sweeping right to left, with the tall stands of pines behind the green making an imposing frame to the hole. Some alterations requested by the R&A like exposing the rock face have been less than positive although heather and grass is no growing back and making it look more natural
The 3rd par 5 is a welcome opportunity for par or birdie before you head across to the 4th. This is a brute of an hole, with bunkers ideally located to catch your drive and a long 2nd awaiting you. The par 3 5th is protected by bunkers to the front but there is bail out and chance for par if you miss the green to the right hand side, albeit a tricky up and down.
There is not a weak hole on Hollinwell. The best section however is the 11th through 15th. The 11th is my favourite hole with a narrowing funnel like fairway and a narrow green being played to up hill. Get past the pin and a tricky downhill putt awaits. Surrounding the hole is bunkers and gorse.
The 12th across the top offers amazing views of the surrounding countryside as does the signature par 3 13th, where I have taken anything from a 6 iron to driver depending on the breeze. Downhill, playing over 185 yards, with bunkers front left and right a par on here is a great result.
The 14th is enjoyable but I really love the 15th, similar to the 11th in that it narrows as you approach the green.
The 16th has seen some recent bunker changes and then the 17th, an easier par 5 with the stands of pines framing the hole and in the summer/early autumn the yellow pollen wafts across the hole, dancing in the breeze. Truly memorable.
The 18th is a tough finishing hole. Open up your shoulders and let rip, quite a wide landing area but a 2nd strong shot is required to reach the green in two.
Afterwards enjoy a drink of gunners/rock shandy in the bar and wonder how a course of this class is not even further up the rankings
Date: July 08, 2019