Hillside Golf Club Course Review

A superb links course with an incredible back nine, mature pines alongside many holes at Hillside add great definition and character

Hillside Golf Club Course Review
(Image credit: Getty Images)

A superb links course with an incredible back nine, mature pines alongside many holes at Hillside add great definition and character

Hillside Golf Club Course Review

Top 100 Ranking 2021/22 - 31

Previous Rankings

2019/20 - 34 2017/18 - 30 2015/16 - 30 2013/14 - 30 2011/12 - 32 2009/10 - 33

Summer Green Fees

Round – £190wd, £220we

Visitors: Info on club website

Medal Tee: Par 72 – 6,849 Yards

hillside-golfclub.co.uk (opens in new tab)

Changes since previous ranking

Having commissioned Martin Ebert of MacKenzie and Ebert to undertake a full appraisal of the links, the following changes were made over the winter of 2019/20:

Natural dune structures and waste sand areas along entire right side of 1st hole.

Changes to routing between 1st green and 2nd tee – New, naturalised, 2nd tee complex.

Natural dunes and waste areas along right side of 9th hole to blend with 1st. New dunes encircling reshaped green complex.

New elevated championship tee on 18th hole with new dune structures and waste areas on right side.

9th and 1st holes
(Image credit: Hillside GC)

Hillside Golf Club Course Review

Owing to the significant work conducted at Hillside and the improvements made because of it, the course has climbed three places to 31st on the 2020/21 ranking.

The 2019 British Masters hosted by Tommy Fleetwood showcased the quality of the layout at Hillside, with both players and fans singing the praises of the layout. The event was won by Sweden’s Marcus Kinhult.

Hillside is an unusual links in that many of the holes are framed by mature pine trees. The towering dunes that line the fairways, particularly on the back nine, are long established and the thick rough that covers them is brutal in places.

Related: Top 100 Courses UK and Ireland

Hillside Golf Club Course Review

The course begins gently, with a short par 4 then a reachable par 5. The test mounts from the 3rd – a challenging par 4 with water short and right of the green.

It’s on the back nine though that Hillside really shines. In fact, in a letter to the club, Greg Norman has described the holes on the run for home as, “the best in Britain”.

11th at Hillside
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The short par-3 10th takes you up and into the dunes, before the excellent par-5 11th sweeps to the left between the dunes then rises slightly to a sloping green backed by pine trees.

Elevated tees on the run in provide wonderful views to the Lake District in the north and Snowdonia in the south, but these shouldn’t distract from the sheer quality of the holes. The superb uphill 13th and par-5 17th are particular highlights.

7th at Hillside
(Image credit: Kevin Murray)

Assessor Feedback

The front nine is challenging to score well but the back nine is where the course comes to life. Each hole is potentially an improvement on the previous one with stunning views on offer from the elevated tees. The course will challenge all aspects of one’s game and playing well here will give you a real boost. The design work is adding to an already stunning layout.

GM Verdict

A superb links course with an incredible back nine. Recent changes have really elevated the offering and over time, it will only get better.

Fergus is a golf obsessive and 1-handicapper. Growing up in the North East of Scotland, golf runs through his veins and it was concentrated by his time at St Andrews university studying history. He went on to earn a post graduate diploma from the London School of Journalism. Fergus has worked for Golf Monthly since 2004 and has written two books on the game; "Great Golf Debates" together with Jezz Ellwood of Golf Monthly and "The Ultimate Golf Book" together with Neil Tappin (also of Golf Monthly)... Fergus once shanked a ball from just over Granny Clark's Wynd on the 18th of the Old Course that struck the St Andrews Golf Club and rebounded into the Valley of Sin, from where he saved par. Who says there's no golfing god?