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Arthur Hills

Arthur Hills – a name associated with some of the world’s prestigious and celebrated golf courses. This architectural genius behind hundreds of renowned golf courses has indeed left a significant imprint in the realm of golf. Having trained as a landscape architect from the University of Michigan, Hills dedicated his life to designing mesmerizing golf landscapes that challenge professional golfers while ensuring leisurely engagement for the amateur golf enthusiasts. His impressive portfolio spans over more than 200 courses across the globe, each unique in character yet bearing his unmistakable signature style.

Remarkably, Hills’ design philosophy revolved around minimalism. He aimed to produce courses that matched the natural contours of the land rather than remolding the landscape to fit a predetermined template. This attribute is clearly visible in all his designs, including the famous LPGA International in Daytona Beach, Florida, and TPC of Michigan, home to the Senior Players Championship. He incorporated the existing streams, hills, trees, and other terrain features into his plans, leaving the original topography largely untouched.

You truly witness Hills’ genius when you encounter the strategic complexity of his golf course designs. His work is characterized by a delicate balance of aesthetics and strategy, beautifully testing every golfer’s skill without distorting the natural sense of place. The elements of design were meticulously placed in a manner that compelled golfers to approach the game with thoughtfulness and methodical precision. Incorporating a blend of narrow fairways, exquisitely carved bunkers, multi-tiered greens, and water hazards, he forged his courses to compel golfers to calculate their strokes and fine-tune their moves.

With varying degrees of difficulty strewn across his courses, it’s common to stumble upon a hole that seems easy at first glance but proves challenging upon play. This is where the true genius of Arthur Hills lies. He lured players into the sport by constructing straightforward seeming fairways, only to reveal their complexity gradually. In essence, a Hills-designed course can be seen as both a paradise for the skilled and a learning ground for the novice.

Arthur Hills’ golf courses are not just about challenges and sporting intricacies. They also stand as testimony to his exceptional aesthetic sense. He believed in preserving the natural beauty and integrity of the site while optimizing its potential for golf. By striking a harmonious balance between preserving the environmental characteristics of the place and infusing modern elements that add to the game’s nuances, he created golf courses that were an ode to the uniqueness of the geographical location. This blend of nature and playability can be seen in the world-renowned Brookside Golf and Country club in Ohio.

Hills, true to his nature of pushing boundaries, never shied away from learning and innovating. His trailblazing partnership with associate Steve Forrest, resulted in designs that effectively incorporated modern technical capabilities while preserving the traditional aesthetic essence of golf course architecture. This led to the remodelling of more than 150 classic golf courses across the US, like the famed Oakland Hills South Course, pushing these pre-modern gems into a modern era without losing their core identity.

Arthur Hills’ legacy and style have inspired a generation of designers. His courses remain a favourite playground, not just for professional golfers but those who embrace the game for recreation and leisure. His ability to weave architecture seamlessly into nature, create courses that resonate with the local environment and the unique skill to showcase the depth and serene beauty of golf has cemented his name as one of the most influential golf course designers in history.

Several factors stand out when considering the success of Hills as a designer. Yet, at its core, his genius can be attributed to the marriage of simplicity and complexity in his designs, the preservation of environmental integrity, and the perfect balancing of sporting and aesthetic elements.

In closing, Arthur Hills’ golf courses are timeless masterpieces. His dazzling fusion of nature, aesthetics and strategy, and his commitment to respect and reflect the geographies of each site he has worked on, has left an indelible impact on the golfing community. Arthur Hills’ name will long be remembered for his enduring contributions and the way he skillfully designed each course to pay tribute to the timeless spirit of golf.

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