Legendary golf course designer Arthur Hills, responsible for many MI courses, dies at 91

Arthur Hills
Posted at 1:21 PM, May 19, 2021

(WSYM) — Arthur Hills, a legendary golf course architect who is responsible for designing and renovating dozens of courses in Michigan, has died. He was 91 years old.

The American Society of Golf Course Architects announced his death on Tuesday.

Hills, who graduated from Michigan State University and then the University of Michigan, was a member of the MSU golf team.

In all, Hills designed or renovated nearly 50 courses in Michigan, and 200 new golf courses around the world, with an additional 150+ renovations.

His top Michigan course is likely Bay Harbor Golf Club, which offers 27 holes in Northern Michigan. He designed it in 1998.

Other well-known courses in metro Detroit designed by Hills include Fieldstone in Auburn Hills, Lakes of Taylor in Taylor, Lyon Oaks in Wixom, Shepherd's Hollow in Clarkston and Pine Trace in Rochester Hills.

He's also responsible for renovations at Oakland Hills, which came before the 2004 Ryder Cup, and restoring the University of Michigan Golf Course designed by legendary golf architect Alister MacKenzie.

That renovating included the return of the original bunkers, construction of tee areas, improved tree planting and a new irrigation system, according to the university.

Hills' business partner, Steve Forrest, said that Hills got his start in Toledo by placing an ad in the Yellow Pages under "Golf Course Architect."

"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," Forrest said.

American Society of Golf Course Architects (ASGCA) Past President Arthur Hills, ASGCA Fellow, died May 18, 2021. He was age 91.

Hills was inducted into the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame in 2011 and served as the ASGCA president in 1992-93.