Famed American golf course architect Arthur Hills has died at the age of 91.
An alumnus of Michigan State, where he was a member of the golf team, Hills also graduated from the University of Michigan.
After college, Hills started up his own landscaping and maintenance company, eventually transitioning into architecture and design by the early 60s.
By 1966, Hills was ready to make his name in golf course design, and took out an ad in the Yellow Pages, and the rest is history. He would go on to become one of the country’s marquee golf course designers over the next several decades, designing some 200 original courses while renovating and/or refining hundreds of other layouts, including iconic courses ahead of major championships.
“He started the business by placing an ad in the Toledo, Ohio, Yellow Pages under ‘Golf Course Architect’ while operating a landscape contracting business,” said Steve Forrest, Hills’ business partner in a released statement, announcing Hills’ passing.
“I had the great privilege of learning all aspects of golf course architecture from a distinguished professional practitioner and humble gentleman over 42 years.
“Arthur became a fatherlike figure to me who was a mentor, an instructor, exhorter and admonisher while always trying to improve his own skills and increase his personal knowledge every day.”
Some of Hills’ designs include: Bonita Bay, Naples, Florida; The Golf Club of Georgia, Atlanta; Bighorn Golf Club, Palm Desert, California; Palmetto Dunes, Hilton Head; Keene Trace Golf Club, Lexington, Kentucky; and Hyatt Hill Country Resort, San Antonio, Texas. Hills-designed courses have hosted a number of distinguished amateur and professional tournaments, including U.S. Opens and the Ryder Cup.
Hills is survived by his wife, Mary, with whom he had eight children, 24 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.