Holly Tree Country Club

Holly Tree Country Club – Played 2016

  • Rankings: None of the four lists
  • Location: 500 Golf Club Drive, Simpsonville, South Carolina
  • Year: 1973
  • Architect: George Cobb
  • Course Access: Private
  • Walking Rules: Carts Available

Score Card Information:

  • Blue: 6,790 yards, Par 72, 73.4 Rating/133 Slope
  • White: 6,340 yards, Par 72, 71.2 Rating/130 Slope
  • Grey: 5,984 yards, Par 72, 69.5 Rating/124 Slope (Men’s), 76.3 Rating/138 Slope (Women’s)
  • Gold: 5,530 yards, Par 72, 67.4 Rating/120 Slope (Men’s), 72.3 Rating/130 Slope (Women’s)
  • Red: 5,184 yards, Par 72, 65.9 Rating/116 Slope (Men’s), 69.7 Rating/124 Slope (Women’s)

It’s always a bonus when you get January weather in the 60’s!  That was the case on this day.  I was out playing at my still new home course, Holly Tree Country Club.  The wife and I joined back in July of 2015.  We have really enjoyed it so far.

On this glorious day I was playing with a former coworker who is thinking about joining the club.  It would be great if he joined so as to have another familiar face around.  As usual we hit the ball too many times, but we had a great time.

Now for a little history on Holly Tree Country Club.  It is located on a piece of land that was the Gilder Plantation that was operated by Nathaniel Austin.  The development was started by five partners and in 1975 the members purchased the club.

All distances are from the white tees.  You will notice that the course’s grass is dormant.  It looks very different in the spring and summer as most courses in the South do.  Let’s start the course tour.

Hole 1 – 512 yards – Par 5

The first tee shot of the day is one of the more awkward shots on the day.  It plays straight down the hill with out of bounds right and the ninth fairway to the left.  I can say one of the popular plays is to cheat left, but that can block you out from going for it in two.

HTCC 1-1Once you get to the bottom of the hill the rest of the hole is straightforward.  The second shot is flat all the way to the green.

HTCC 1-2The photo below shows a popular layup location.  The green is open from this angle and presents a green light situation.

HTCC 1-3Here is a side view of the putting surface.

HTCC 1-4Hole 2 – 162 yards – Par 3

The second is a par three.  It plays slightly downhill.  Long and right of the green is bad news.  The popular miss is short of the green.

HTCC 2-1You can see below that it is a large green with plenty of different pin position options.

HTCC 2-2Hole 3 – 362 yards – Par 4

This hole plays considerably longer than the yardage.  It is also more narrow than it looks with the road on the right side and some overhanging trees.  If you can work a gentle fade here you are in luck.

HTCC 3-1You can see the dramatic upslope.  At least one extra club is needed to reach the green.

HTCC 3-2This is one of the more treacherous greens on the course.  Any putts from back to front will be very quick.  Side to side putts are difficult as well with the severe back to front slope.  We always say to be below the hole here.

HTCC 3-3Here is another look that gives you the full picture of the slope.

HTCC 3-4And one wide shot.

HTCC 3-5Hole 4 – 383 yards – Par 4

This hole fits my eye really well.  It calls for a draw up the right side.  If you go left you want to go as far left as you can because of the trees lining that side.  If you go way left they won’t be in the way.

HTCC 4-1The approach shot plays down the hill to a green that slopes towards the player.  There are bunkers, but not right next to the green.

HTCC 4-2Below you can see the putting surface.  There are plenty of makeable putts here.

HTCC 4-3Hole 5 – 478 yards – Par 5 

This is the quirkiest hole on the golf course.  There is a severe dogleg to the right.  If you put your drive in the right spot you can go for it in two.  Your best line is hard up the right side, but don’t leak one because there is out of bounds all down the right.  You will see the quirkiness in the next photo.

HTCC 5-1See what I mean?  You have to hit a big cut over water from here, which is about 215 yards out.  Most of us hit a chip shot with a seven iron that goes about 80 yards.  Silly.

HTCC 5-2The approach shot is a good one though.  You are challenged to hit over the water to a green with steep drop-offs behind.

HTCC 5-3The green is pretty big due to getting a lot of shots with long irons and woods.  There are some subtle breaks in this one that make putting difficult.

HTCC 5-4Hole 6 – 362 yards – Par 4

This is a tricky tee shot.  You need to hit a cut to utilize the most fairway of this dogleg right.  If you go too far straight you will go through the short grass.  There is not unlimited acreage to the right either.

HTCC 6-1This is a good drive that reached the bottom of the hill.  This leaves you with a very uphill approach where you can’t see the green.  Some people, usually me, choose to hit a shorter shot off the tee to have a more level look at the green.

HTCC 6-2Here is the green.  This putting surface can be quite dangerous when putting downhill.  Chipping is very difficult around this green.

HTCC 6-3Hole 7 – 409 yards – Par 4

This hole is tailor-made for my usual shot shape.  You can aim over the trees on the left and hit a gentle draw.  This strategy, when executed properly, takes a lot of distance off the hole.  Depending on where you hit your drive here you can be 200 or 100 yards away.  It is an interesting hole.

HTCC 7-1The approach is more straightforward.  There is a little bit of a hill in front of the green so short shots probably will not run on.

HTCC 7-2The green is not very wide, but it is a little deep.  Accuracy is a must for this shot.

HTCC 7-3Hole 8 – 175 yards – Par 3 

The eighth is one of our more picturesque holes.  The water is a good bit short of the hole.  I have hit it in of course, but only on horribly struck shots.  The shot usually plays a little longer than it says.

HTCC 8-1Hole 9 – 372 yards – Par 4

This is a tough hole if you are walking.  It is straight back up the hill you played down on the first hole.  Trees encroach on both sides of the fairway so a straight tee ball is needed.  Aim directly at the clubhouse.

HTCC 9-1The second shot is definitely affected by the lay of the land.  You cannot see the green from the fairway.  You need to know where the pin is to carry the ball the correct distance.

HTCC 9-2One cool feature of our course is that the ninth is part of a double green shared with the eighteenth.  You can have some long putts here!

HTCC 9-3Hole 10 – 363 yards – Par 4

This is another dogleg right, which makes it three so far.  If you go straight with a driver you can get up into the trees.  A sensible play is to hit a shorter club to the wide part of the fairway.

HTCC 10-1My playing partner on this day ended up with one of the crazier lies I have ever seen.  This was not staged.  His ball came to rest just like this.  We let him off with a free drop!

HTCC 10-2The approach shot can be a little interesting here.  There is deep drop just over and to the right of the closest bunker you see.  The green is shallow, but you shouldn’t have much more than a wedge or nine iron from here.

HTCC 10-3Below you can see the shallowness of the green.  It looks deep from here, but you play it at a right angle from the fairway.

HTCC 10-4Hole 11 – 172 yards – Par 3 

This is a tough hole.  Most of the toughness comes from the deceiving quality of the hole in that it doesn’t play much less than the yardage even though it is downhill.  Everything slopes to the left here.

HTCC 11-1Hole 12 – 378 yards – Par 4

This hole is a wider than it looks.  There is some hidden fairway up he left side.  A good strategy here is to lay back with a three wood to the wide part of the fairway.  Due to the length of the hole you still shouldn’t have too much left.

HTCC 12-1This green is two-tiered so you will want to be on target with your approach.  Anything short will end up in the front of the green.  They like to place pins pretty close to the ridge.

HTCC 12-2The photo below does a good job of showing the undulations in the putting surface.  The closer bunker is no picnic if you find yourself in there.

HTCC 12-3Hole 13 – 456 yards – Par 5 

You can definitely get home in two on this hole with a good drive.  If it is long enough you will have an open look at the green.  The hole is straightaway until you get close to the green, which is tucked behind the trees to the right.

HTCC 13-1Below you can see the bend in the hole.  From this angle you can play through the two trees that look like goalposts on both sides of the far cart path.

HTCC 13-2Here is a look at the third shot if you are forced to layup.  It plays over the creek and anything short will not run up.

HTCC 13-3The green slopes from back to front quite a bit.  If you go over the green it will be difficult to get up and down.  There are a lot of birdies on this hole.

HTCC 13-4Hole 14 – 358 yards – Par 4

This is a brains over brawn hole.  If you pull driver you have to be really precise with your line.  The is out of bounds on both sides of the fairway.  My preferred play is a long iron over or to the left of the fairway bunker.

HTCC 14-1The approach shot plays downhill.  Long is absolutely dead here as there is an extreme drop-off.  It really doesn’t play too much shorter than the yardage.

HTCC 14-2The green has a lot of slope in the front, right portion.  It slopes off the green that way and anything landing in that area is in danger of running off quite a bit.  This is one of the more treacherous greens on the course.

HTCC 14-3Hole 15 – 189 yards – Par 3 

This hole is probably the most difficult par three.  It is long when playing into the wind.  The green is large, which helps.  It is guarded by bunkers front and back.  A popular spot in the front, right of the green since you don’t have to take on the bunkers.

HTCC 15-1Here is a little closer look.

HTCC 15-2This green isn’t overly undulating.  A fair amount of putts are made here.  Interestingly, if you miss with your tee shot here it is the toughest up and down.

HTCC 15-3Hole 16 – 376 yards – Par 4

This hole plays straight up the hill and as such plays longer than the yardage.  I usually take three wood here because you can hit through the fairway on the right.  The best line is up the right side of the short grass with a draw.  You can get into a little speed slot that way.

HTCC 16-1The second shot always plays at least one club longer.  A lot of balls end up short.

HTCC 16-2Below you can see the green.  The overall slope is back to front.  It is a little narrow.

HTCC 16-3Hole 17 – 380 yards – Par 4

This tee shot gives you some options.  You can hit it up the middle with a little draw and it might get some of the way down the big hill.  Another option is to aim way left over the trees and try to take a shortcut to the green.  It is low percentage, but I have seen it done.

HTCC 17-1If your tee shot is up the middle or a little left you will be faced with this downhill approach.  It plays a little shorter than the yardage, but not as much as you would think.  This is quite a large green for the hole not being overly long.

HTCC 17-2Here is a closer look showing the slope in the putting surface.

HTCC 17-3Hole 18 – 453 yards – Par 5 

This par five is also very reachable with a good drive.  It does play uphill most of the way.  The best line is up the left side of the fairway with a draw.  That will leave you the shortest second shot.  You just have to make sure you get past the trees.

HTCC 18-1The second shot is all uphill.  You can’t really see, but the green is just to the right of the clubhouse.

HTCC 18-2If you couldn’t get there, below is what the third shot looks like.  The green is mostly open except for a bunker short and left.

HTCC 18-3Below is a shot from behind the green.  There is some significant slope from back to front.  Downhillers can be dicey.

HTCC 18-4I hope you enjoyed the tour.  I am very happy with my decision to join the club.  I have found a great group of guys that plays on the weekends.  I am excited to use the club as much as I can when I am not out traveling the country playing more Top 100’s.

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9 thoughts on “Holly Tree Country Club

  1. You must be reading my mind, because I’m in the process of writing a home club post myself. Your place looks like a fun place to play, with enough shots to keep it interesting play after play.

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