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.
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.
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.
This 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.
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.
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.
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.
This 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The 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.
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.
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.
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.
If 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.
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.
I 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.