GOLF COURSE ARCHITECTURE
Florida Golf Magazine Winter 2017©
Copyright 2016, All Rights Reserved
Golf Course Architect,
Arthur Hills reading Florida Golf Magazine.
The Florida Golf Course Architecture of
Hills & Forrest International Golf
Home Office: 7351 West Bancroft Street,
Toledo, Ohio 43615, Phone: +1 (419) 841.8553
Fax: +1 (419) 841.9600, www.hillsforrest.com
Arthur Hills is known as one of the United
States' most highly-regarded golf course architects. He has designed
more Florida development courses than any other architect. Hills
has designed 45 Florida courses in all, including six that are
showcased within this issue of Florida Golf Magazine.
This issue showcases Miami Beach Golf Club
and Normandy Shores, both in Miami Beach, Vista
Plantation Golf Club in Vero Beach, Jonathan's
Landing Golf Club in Jupiter, Collier's
Reserve Country Club in Naples, and Heron
Creek Golf & Country Club in North port, Florida.
"People want to live where the weather
is good, rather than where it's miserable in the winter,"
says Hills. "So people are going to continue to move to
Sunbelt golf communities."
Arthur Hills' Spartan (Michigan State 1950) Golf Team - Young
Arthur Hills is on the far right.
Golf Architect, Arthur Hills, ASGCA
Arthur Wright Hills was born in 1930 in
Toledo, Ohio. He still has his office in Toledo, but he has homes
in both Ohio and Florida.
As a youngster, Hills worked on the maintenance
crew at Barton Hills Country Club in Ann Arbor, Michigan, which
he describes as "a wonderful old Donald Ross course."
He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Michigan State, and
then a degree in Landscape Architecture from the University of
After a few years as a landscape contractor,
he began his practice as a golf course architect in 1966. Brandywine
Country Club, which opened in 1967 in the Toledo suburb of Maumee,
is listed as his first course.
Golf Course Architect, Steve
Hills was president of the American Society
of Golf Course Architects in 1992. His associate, Steve Forrest,
who has worked with Hills for nearly 40 years, became a partner
in 1990 and was added to the company name in 1999.
Steve Forrest has been working with
me since the late 70s, said Arthur Hills. He was
number-one in his college class at Virginia Tech. Its nice
to have somebody with intellect in the firm since I graduated
last in my class. But I did graduate! Having Steve made for some
balance. Hes well-organized, creative, and very well spoken.
Most importantly, hes an outstanding architect. And hes
put up with me for all these years. For putting up with me, and
for all the things that he has contributed to the business, I
decided it was time that his name be associated with the firm.
Its now called Hills & ForrestInternational Golf
Our careful and thoughtful work has
shown that the firm is more than qualified and capable to perform
delicate surgery on the golf courses considered to be national
treasures. Weve completed more than 120 golf course renovations
projects around the world and, in fact, our firm has been entrusted
to restore or renovate 19 Donald Ross courses. We have also lengthened,
touched up, and prepared many recent major championship courses.
Arthur Hills photographed at Saint Andrews
Past Architects and Contemporaries
Golf Course Architects ·
Alistair MacKenzie and Donald Ross at Claremont CC in California, USA (1933).
When asked about his opinion of past golf
course architects and contemporaries, Arthur Hills says, The
designs of Donald Ross are very playable and attractive golf
courses that are good strategically. However, because of their
subtleties, and their focus on strategy, I wonder if, as a new
course today, they would get the notice they deserve decade after
decade. Pinehurst No. 2 is unquestionably great straightforward,
no bells and whistles, a series of great holes.
The designs of Alister Mackenzie are beautiful,
dramatic, and interesting. Every course I've ever seen that was
designed by Seth Raynor, I admire to the utmost. I'm told Raynor
only played golf once or twice in his life. Camargo Golf Club
and Chicago Golf Club alone established his credentials.
Raynor and Ross both built some of the
same holes more than once on their various courses. There are
par-3's at Ross' Essex Country Club (Windsor, Ontario) and Scioto
Country Club (Columbus, Ohio) that are similar.
Dick Wilson's courses are admirable. Designs
by Robert Trent Jones Sr. are very traditional. He advanced the
The living contemporary I most admire is
Pete Dye. I think his work is dramatically imaginative and very
I run into Pete and some of the other designers from time to
time. It seems that we tend to play it close to the vest when
our paths cross. We don't talk about our projects much. We talk
about our families.
Playing to an 18 handicap, the consumate golfer, 86 year-old
Arthur Hills plays golf several times a week.
Arthur Hills On Golf
I enjoy playing our own courses,
says Mr. Hills, except that I see their shortcomings more
than anyone. As we gained experience, the green complexes done
later in our career are more sophisticated, varied, and subtle.
Now, at age 86, I play to an 18 handicap. The best score I ever
had was a 68, which I shot on four separate occasions. I shot
it once at Barton Hills near Ann Arbor, Michigan; once at Highland
Meadows Golf Club in Sylvania, Ohio; and twice in Germany when
I was in the Army.
I can't come close to shooting a score like that now. Like my
friends say, "I know I can play better - I just never do!"
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