News:

This discussion group is best enjoyed using Google Chrome, Firefox or Safari.


Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
HILLSIDE
« on: June 16, 2008, 05:45:45 AM »
Hillside's modern aspect (I think F Hawtree made significant changes to the course sometime in the 50s) is the main sticking point for me.  I prefer the front 9, but all the real dunes action happens on the back 9.  The problem is, the back 9 is routed very unimaginatively.  Its all through dune valleys with harsh rough eating balls slightly off line.  Even the front 9 has its problems.  The course in general has loads of legs which turn at the 230-260 mark with narrowed fairways or other trouble beyond - making use of the driver very difficult.  Its a terrible pity that a course built on this fantastic terrain should be characterized like this.  Even so, I liked the course and reckon it would be a better place to play in the winter when the turn of the legs isn't so apparent and the rough is down. 

The 1st is a gentle opener, but the 2nd is a very good par 5.  In typical Hillside fashion, there is trouble lurking off the tee with a driver in hand.  Water left (a ditch in addition to the railway line acting as a divider with S&A) and bunkers right - which are really centreline bunkers, but there is harsh rough to the right rather than fairway.  Holes 3 & 4 are decent enough.  #5 is another very good par 5 which uses the dunes and bunkering excellently. 

Below is the approach from a crooked drive on #6.  I was trying to get far right to get a view of the green for the approach.  Cleverly, trees block out wind effect and its dead easy to see balls pushed right to great surprise.  One alos gets an idea of how harsh the rough is!


A closer look at the green which I like. 


#7 is a solid little one shotter.  The green is much narrower than it appears.  #8 is a drivable and predictably turns at about 240 yards.  #9 is another layup hole unless you can confidently and accurately carry the ball 260ish.  #10 is a lovely little par 3 into a holler.  I really like this hole because many think the place to miss is the back of the green.  This leaves a nasty downhill pitch/putt.  #11 is probably Hillside's signature hole.  A shortish down and up par 5 which looks like a snake and plays just as narrow and uses bunkering rather too obviously to accentuate the fairway turning points in a regimented way.  This is a shame because this hole should be world class.  Once again, the fairway turns at about 240ish then virtually disappears.  The safe play is to layup - yet again.  The 12th is a wee legger to the right which is another layup hole or one can easily go through the fairway.  The green is very cool as it falls sharply away from the fairway and is obscured by the terrain.

Below is a look at the approach for #13.  Once again, the very regimented "in play or out of play look".  Also, the suggested kick in from the left has been cut off by a dip which catches balls.  This ploy was is used on a few other holes as well. 


The 14th is yet another hole which turns at the magic mark.  There isn't much point in pulling out driver except that the layup is difficult to judge being downwind and downhill.  15 is another turn at the mark hole and 16 is a good long par 3 into a holler.  The green narrows toward the back which makes putting and chipping hard to judge. 

Here is the last of the par 5s, #17.  I can't help thinking so much more could have been done with this back 9.  However, I do like the skyline approach.


I like the look of 18.  The fairway takes the long player out to the left when the proper line is from behind the bunkers.  One can try to take this lot on, but is about a 275 carry.  I am afraid the hole looks good, but the play is to layup - yet again!


Its evident I am not overly keen on Hillside.  The course seems to showcase some of the worst elements of modern design, but the terrain is so compelling.  Even so, I couldn't recommend staying away from one of the other courses in the area for a game at Hillside.   I would say its generally in the class of Formby and Wallasey for shot testing (whatever that means), but I much prefer both of these because their use of the land is more daring and less formulaic. 

Ciao
« Last Edit: June 02, 2016, 02:44:24 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies & Crystal Downs

Mark_Rowlinson

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: HILLSIDE Revisited
« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2008, 05:35:02 PM »
Sean, Start looking at the positives and stop being so negative. You may have failed to break 70 because the fairways turn at the wrong distance, but when they next need to host the PGA Championship or the like I'm sure they can find some tees 150 yards further back. I presume they are already there for this year's Open final qualifying.... It's a pretty good course. Mark

David_Tepper

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: HILLSIDE Revisited
« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2008, 05:53:35 PM »
Sean -

Thanks for posting the Hillside pics. I played there in 1985.

Remember, what is now a "lay-up" tee shot used to be a full-blooded drive not all that long ago! ;)

DT

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: HILLSIDE Revisited
« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2008, 06:50:54 PM »
Sean, Start looking at the positives and stop being so negative. You may have failed to break 70 because the fairways turn at the wrong distance, but when they next need to host the PGA Championship or the like I'm sure they can find some tees 150 yards further back. I presume they are already there for this year's Open final qualifying.... It's a pretty good course. Mark

Mark, its hard to be positive about Hillside when I think of what could have been.  A dream site half wasted.  When I prefer the front 9 to the back 9 even with all that great land, then something has gone amiss.  Still, I take your point.  Hillside is a good course.

David, even if the pros of yesteryear hit it the same distance as I do (of which I am seriously skeptical of), they would have faced the same problems I faced on far too many holes.  Its clever design to sneak in a few of these, but I reckon there may be as many as 8 of these layup jobbies. 

Mark, you are right, there are a handful of back tees nearly ready to open.  Of course, these guys blow the ball miles past me so I don't think the layup aspect for a player of my calibre will enter their minds except for a few holes with breaks in the fairway.

Ciao
« Last Edit: June 17, 2008, 03:01:40 AM by Sean Arble »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies & Crystal Downs

Jon Wiggett

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: HILLSIDE Revisited
« Reply #4 on: June 17, 2008, 02:11:34 AM »
Sean,

you are correct that the back nine despite its much more dramatic setting is not as good as the frount nine. I feel this down to the fact that for me Hawtree seemed more interrested in setting a solid golfing test which was often at the expense of the dramatic and doesn't lend itself to individuality with holes or courses. Having said that it is difficult to see how Hawtree could have routed the dune valley holes another way other than playing over them (as Birkdale used to be) leaving a series of blind shots.

The 11th would be a far better hole if the fairway was as wide as possible with centerline bunkers leaving a safe play with a blind shot from a hanging lie. Maybe the answer would be to redo the bunkering, some of the tees and the cutting lines.

It shouldn't be forgotten that Hillside has always seen itself as a championship course hosting the european tour events up until the 1980's. With such an image Cruden Bay style golf doesn't cut it. Hillside will be set up for the Open Qualifier although it is usually narrow but you are correct in that it would be far better opened up.

As with most links courses how Hillside plays is dependent on the weather. I played Hillside for the first time in 1987 at the age of 18 when I was carrying my driver an average of 235 yards. I remember playing the 18th with the wind from behind and left to right. I was able to shape the ball round the bunkers (265yards) leaving a short iron to the green. The Dogleg on 15 (230ish) was unreachable.

I do however agree with you Hillside is a great chance wasted.


Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: HILLSIDE Revisited
« Reply #5 on: June 17, 2008, 03:20:23 AM »
Jon

I think you are right.  Hillside is a fairly tough course that seems designed to test certain shots rather than offer options for guys to choose shots.  Having said that, There are loads of tee shots with options, but the choice is always the same.  Do I bang away or lay up short of turn/trouble?  There is very little in the way of going right or left - only long or short.  God forbid playing these narrow fairways in a wind.  As it was, we took 5.5 hours to finish a 2 MAN BETTER BALL STABLEFORD!  There was one hell of a lot of waiting and looking for balls.  I was tired and dead bored by the 14th and I hadn't lost a ball.  I am guessing the other three chaps lost 15-20 balls between them.  Mind you, this was partly due to the banging away mentality.  I uncharacteristically did a lot of laying up.  You could say I was once bitten twice shy after the Ashburnham debacle. 

As I say, Hillside is a good course, but its not the sort of place I have a lot of time for.  However, I bet when the email comes around next year I will think I need another look and 30 quid isn't a bad price...

Ciao   
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies & Crystal Downs

Mark_Rowlinson

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: HILLSIDE Revisited
« Reply #6 on: June 18, 2008, 12:29:20 PM »
Sean, I wonder how much freedom Hawtree was given with the design given the sensitive nature of the dunes in this part of the Lancashire coast? There are very strict regulations applying to what Birkdale can and cannot do.

You allude to Birkdale's once crossing dunes rather than going along the valleys. I wonder also if at that time Hawtree was asked to do something similar, for in those days Birkdale was held up as a model championship links because of its fairness, lack of quirk and so on. I remember Dobereiner writing many years ago in his newspaper column that the Open should only be played on Birkdale and Muirfield because the rest left too much to chance. Nicklaus hated the pre-Hawtree course and apparently raved over the post-Hawtree course.

Donald Steel - who knows a thing or two about golf courses - describes Hillside: 'It is not one of aesthetic delight except towards the end but it is relentless in the challenge it sets and unforgiving if its standards aren't met.'

Andy Hughes

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: HILLSIDE Revisited
« Reply #7 on: June 18, 2008, 01:15:42 PM »
Sean has cows?
"Perhaps I'm incorrect..."--P. Mucci 6/7/2007

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: HILLSIDE Revisited
« Reply #8 on: June 13, 2010, 09:58:03 AM »
I played with an interesting chap on Saturday who shed some light on why the back nine is cut so much through dunes rather than working with the dunes.  This fellow claimed that Hawtree wasn't paid for his work.  Instead, Hawtree cut a deal to sell all the sand left over to Pilkington Glass after the work was completed.  I don't know if this story is true, but it seems a plausible explanation for the design of the back nine. For you lot in the business, does this sound a plausible?

Ciao   
« Last Edit: June 02, 2016, 03:07:59 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies & Crystal Downs

Ally Mcintosh

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: HILLSIDE
« Reply #9 on: March 31, 2021, 03:12:11 PM »
After looking at the golfcoursearchitecture article on the renovation work going on at Hillside, I wanted to know who had seen it and what they thought?



https://www.golfcoursearchitecture.net/content/mackenzie-ebert-renovates-six-more-holes-at-hillside
« Last Edit: March 31, 2021, 05:30:30 PM by Ally Mcintosh »

Duncan Cheslett

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: HILLSIDE
« Reply #10 on: April 01, 2021, 12:14:09 AM »
Bugger!


I just passed up the chance of a game at Hillside on Easter Monday in the interests of family harmony.

If I’d seen Ally’s post in time I’d have risked divorce and gone on a research mission!

Hopefully I’ll be invited again soon...😉
« Last Edit: April 01, 2021, 12:19:02 AM by Duncan Cheslett »

Dónal Ó Ceallaigh

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: HILLSIDE
« Reply #11 on: April 01, 2021, 05:16:21 AM »
After looking at the golfcoursearchitecture article on the renovation work going on at Hillside, I wanted to know who had seen it and what they thought?



https://www.golfcoursearchitecture.net/content/mackenzie-ebert-renovates-six-more-holes-at-hillside


Ally,


When I first saw the photo of the lake, I was sure you had posted a link to a Hillside in Thailand or Laos or somewhere else.


The fairways of Hillside look uninteresting; a bit like Birkdale. If my memory serves me well, F.W. Hawtree worked at Birkdale as well?


When we were at the BUDA in Silloth, we played S&A (which I enjoyed a lot) and Birkdale instead (poor Jeff Warne had planned the itinerary, but could't travel). I have never seen much praise for Hillside, and I was familiar with S&A (Braid). There are a lot of good holes at S&A and the layout makes good use of the terrain. Sure, some of the holes at the far end are not so exciting. The surrounding dunes at Birkdale only made me wonder what might have been; I'd probably have a similar feeling if I played Hillside.

EDIT: Are M&E also doing work at S&A?

I think Jeff made the right choice for us  :D
« Last Edit: April 01, 2021, 05:20:16 AM by Dónal Ó Ceallaigh »

Tags:
Tags:

An Error Has Occurred!

Call to undefined function theme_linktree()
Back