In its relatively short history the Macdonald Hill Valley Hotel, Golf and Spa is already synonymous with a number of big names in the game.
The championship Emerald course was designed by Peter Alliss and Dave Thomas, creators of The Belfry’s Brabazon, in 1975 while the first club champion was local boy Ian Woosnam, future Masters champion.
Since then it has blossomed into a challenging parkland course, which stretches over 6,700 yards from the back tees, and where strategy, and the avoidance of ponds and numerous bunkers, is the key to prospering.
There is plenty of variety with five par 5s – indeed the course opens with one – and four par 3s that all require some solid hitting, all of which adds up to a par of 73.
Otherwise expect undulating fairways, swooping dog-legs and sloping greens which become very quick in the summer months. And pay attention to your course planner, as driver is often not the best option, and then take the time to enjoy some spectacular views.
If you are staying at the four-star Macdonald hotel it is also well worth experiencing the shorter Sapphire course, which is tighter still and leaves little room for error though plenty of enjoyment.
Off the course, as you might expect from a Macdonald facility, there are a host of things to do with a luxury spa, which offers all manner of treatments, and an indoor pool.
Or, if you’re still feeling energetic after your round, you can take to the air-conditioned Technogym which boasts countryside views.
Less than an hour from Manchester or Liverpool and just 20 miles from Chester this makes for a delightful spot to get away from it all… and enjoy plenty of great golf.
Expect undulating fairways, swooping dog-legs and sloping greens which become very quick in the summer months.
5th 524 yards, par 5
This is the second par 5 with a blind tee shot played over a marker pole. From there the second is played over a pond as the hole turns left and runs uphill to a well-protected green.
9th 370 yards, par 4
Another picturesque tee shot played over two ponds before a 90˚ dog-leg left which runs by the former owner Albert Minshall’s house. This is not one to take driver on – a fairway wood will leave a short-iron approach.
18th 401 yards, par 4
This is quite a climax with a drive over a pond, which is more of a lake, before the second, which can be anything from a 6 to a 9-iron, has to be played between two oak trees while anything short and right will end up wet.