Art 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.
Hills was elected President of the American Society of Golf Course Architects in 1992 and has been a longtime member.
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 stimulate the 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.
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 passed away in 2021 at the age of 91.