The purists among us all know how good a course Hillside is. This is the perfect opportunity to show the course off to the wider world…

The exposure it will have, just through television and blanket coverage from Sky, will show it off in a fantastic light. We had the Ladies Amateur last year and Sky covered that on a smaller scale, but it looked fantastic on TV. To see it with stands and crowds is going to be pretty special.

The world’s best have hailed the course. I think Greg Norman once said it was the best back nine in Britain…

We get a lot of pros coming here and playing and they absolutely love the place. It’s going to be good to see it as a test. How is it going to stand up? There’s going to be a book in the bar speculating on what the best score might be and it’s all dependent on what happens with the wind and whether we get any rough.

It’s a course of contrasts. The front nine is lovingly manicured and pristine and the back nine could be transported straight from Ireland as a wild links…

You’ve summarised it very well. The flatter front nine leads you in to the grandeur of the fantastic dune structures we have got on the back nine. It blends in well and I am sure they are going to enjoy themselves.

We’ve built a new tee on the 18th, high on the dune behind the current tee, and the view there is one of the most spectacular you will ever see. It’s an incredible panorama.

British Masters

Tommy Fleetwood is a Southport legend and will have played Hillside a lot. Tell us about his association with the club…

He’s a Southport lad and I have known him since he was a junior. He started representing Lancashire and I followed him really keenly all through his amateur career.

I’ve been here nearly five years and, just as I started, his then manager approached Hillside to ask if we would allow him to have playing rights and come down and use the facilities. The club granted that. We don’t see a massive amount of him because his schedule is so busy.

He’s a really polite guy, a super lad, and it’s great to see a young guy with a lot of talent come through and do what he is doing now. It’s great for Southport. He’s got associations with Formby Hall and he started playing at the Southport municipal. They shouldn’t be forgotten – they are part of his history – but he was asked where he would want to stage it and his number one choice was Hillside.

That’s great for the club, isn’t it? There’s Royal Birkdale next door, Southport & Ainsdale across the road, and yet he opted for Hillside…

It’s absolutely superb. The Tour aren’t telling us the ticket sales but they are saying it’s ahead of any events they have had and I am sure the Southport public and the wider North West public will support it. I’d think it will be a sell-out for the tournament.

We’re restricted because of how tight a site it is. Everyone says it is the best course not to have held an Open and it never will because of the infrastructure you need. It is tight and too compact for a major golfing event. But we’re going to make this work with the Tour guys and I think it will be a record.

Players Championship report

How involved has Tommy been in the process?

He has been involved. We’ve had him on the golf course and he’s talked about what tees he’d like to play from. It’s quite interesting. He wants to see some short par 4s where he can drive the green and wants to push us back on a few. He’s very involved on the golf course. I am sure he has got a few things up his sleeve for some personal touches during the event.

All you need now is a decent field. You’re slightly hampered by the PGA Championship coming the following week…

I think Tommy has got a lot of pull. He’s an incredibly popular guy on both sides of the Atlantic now and I understand the Tour are organising a private jet on the Sunday. The PGA is in New York and so it is not too bad a flight time in terms of time difference. It may be that 20 or 30 guys that are playing in the PGA have a facility where they can jump straight onto the plane and be in New York for Sunday evening.