The American Society of Golf Course Architects (ASGCA)announced today that Past President Arthur Hills passed away today, May 18, in Florida. He was age 91. Visitation and funeral arrangements are below.
Hills love and passion for the game were rooted early on when as a youngster he worked on the maintenance crew at Ann Arbor’s Barton Hills Country Club.
A graduate of Michigan State University (1953) and the University of Michigan (1961), he played for Michigan State’s team and was the 1950 winner of the Ann Arbor City Championship.
Armed with an advanced degree in landscape architecture, the Ohio native designed over 225 golf courses around the world, including Bay Harbor and 15 others in Michigan. He also renovated 125 golf courses, including Oakland Hills Country Club and 19 other Donald Ross courses as well as several U.S. Open venues.
His work at private and public facilities has been recognized with the industry’s top awards, and three times he has been named “Golf Course Architect of the Year” by his peers and golf publications.
He formed his golf course architecture firm in the 1960s. Today, Hills * Forrest * Smith, Golf Course Architects continues to, as their website states, “create golf course designs that stimulatethe senses, display creativity, and honor the hallowed traditions of the game as they relate to strategy, shot values and aesthetic character.”
An environmental pioneer, Hills designed the first Audubon Signature Sanctuary courses in the United States, Mexico and Europe. ASGCA Past President Pete Dye dubbed Hills “the Mayor of Naples” for the number of private country club courses that he designed in and near that coastal Florida location.
ASGCA Past President Steve Forrest said, “He started the business by placing an ad in the Toledo, Ohio, Yellow Pages under ‘Golf Course Architect’ while operating a landscapecontracting business. 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 father-like 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.”
Hills is also a member of the Ohio Golf Hall of Fame and received a lifetime achievement award from the Michigan Golf Course Owners Association. He was inducted to the MGHOF in 2011.
He is survived by his wife Mary. They had eight children, 24grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
Visitation will be at Reeb Funeral Home, Sylvania, Ohio, on Sunday, May 23, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Funeral Mass will be at St. Joseph Catholic Church, Sylvania, Ohio, on Monday, May 24, at 11 a.m.