Does Hillside have Britain’s best back nine?
Club golfers and professionals don’t stop banging on about is how spectacular Hillside Golf Club‘s back nine is. Greg Norman once famously wrote an unsolicited note to the club saying “the back nine holes are the best in Britain.”
It is indeed a fantastic experience amongst towering dunes, valley holes, and spectacular tees. It is a true test of links golf, and the locals will tell you it is the finest links course not to have hosted an Open Championship.
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THE STORY BEHIND HILLSIDE
Hillside’s history goes back to 1911 when the golf club was formed in the holiday town of Southport. However, it wasn’t until 1965 when the course that stands today was completed by renowned architect Fred Hawtree.
Over the last century, Hillside is hosted many professional UK tournaments including the Picadilly Medal, Sun Alliance PGA Championship and, in 2019, the Betfred British Masters. Since 2014, they have hosted the final qualifying for The Open Championship.
THE HILLSIDE COURSE
Once described as 18 mini-tortures, Hillside has been recently been reworked to make it easier for the everyday golfer.
The back nine gets the plaudits, but don’t underrate the front nine. It is an enjoyable layout that possesses some excellently sited green complexes with clever greenside bunkering.
The 7th is one of the prettiest holes at Hillside, it is a mid-length par-3 playing towards the edge of the pinewood. When the sunlight filters through the pines and captures the green it really is a sight to behold.
In contrast, Hillside’s famous back nine wanders through some of the largest dune formations in the county – this is where your round gets fun.
The visually stunning dunes are most dramatic on the 14th. You will climb to an elevated tee box, perched high above the dunes, where you will get a glimpse of the Irish Sea, Royal Birkdale, and the wonderful par-4 you will play.
THE SIGNATURE HOLE
Of course, it is located on the back nine. As you climb from the 10th green to the elevated tee on the 11th, you will soon be lingering at the view before you. It is as if the whole world opens up to you.
The par-5 doglegs left meandering through dunes with a fantastic view greeting you as you approach the elevated green that lies before the pinewood.
DID YOU KNOW
A 22-year-old American golfer named Jack Nicklaus made his professional debut at Hillside back in 1962 at the Picadilly Medal. Despite making the cut, Nicklaus would fall 15 strokes short of Aussie Peter Thomson, who would go on to win the event.
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