Enclosed in a beautiful setting just outside the market town of Whitchurch in Shropshire. If you haven’t noticed what’s on offer at Macdonald Hill Valley before, now is the time to start, these courses, named after gems don’t deserve to be hidden ones.

Hill Valley boasts 36 holes of gently undulating parkland golf plus the four star hotel with luxurious bedrooms, eateries and full spa and leisure facilities. An ideal location for societies, for play and stay breaks and friends and family getaways.

Golf – The Emerald Course – Hill Valley’s Championship layout. The yardage marker that points your way towards the safe haven of the first fairway is indicative of what’s in store. Without ever being a difficult walk the rolling terrain leads to a good amount of blind tee shots and approaches over the humps and bumps, hidden valley beds and up towards some elevated putting surfaces. If you do stray off the short grass you will find yourself in a bit of tree trouble for sure, between them these courses pack in no less than 40,000 of them, in all shapes and sizes.

Yet the Emerald course is a very fair one, keep it in a straight line and the birdie opportunities come along, the five long holes probably present your best ones, the majority reachable in two in good conditions. Plus the greens which vary in size give you a chance too, consistent in quality and not too severe in terms of undulations.

A  lovely stretch of mid-length par fours around the turn sees The Emerald at its finest, attractive and very challenging too with water features at the eighth and at the corner of the 90 degree dog leg ninth hole. Following a trip to the lovely halfway hut by the side of the 10th take a deep breath, this is one big test of a tee shot to a narrow tree lined sloping fairway. The views from the 11th tee are stunning too.

The water returns with a vengeance and twice on a very exciting 18th under the gaze of the hotel balconies, a great risk and reward way to end a society round if you’re chasing late points.

The Sapphire Course – Significantly shorter in length, just one par five this time and the putting surfaces much smaller too than on The Emerald. It’s a very target led course, one set up to be a great test to your short games and it does achieve that but yet so much more too. It’s just a little bit more open in places, letting in some lovely panoramic views of the surrounding area. Plus it hides some seriously testing holes, short ones through incredibly tight tree clad valleys with lurking water hazards, and then longer ones too that are no less of a challenge, the SI 1 ninth a case in point, quite an approach in store up to the two tiered green.

Just a short course it may be but potentially big in stature too and certainly not one to take lightly, proof if proof were needed that golf doesn’t necessarily need to be a long hit game to be great fun.