TOLEDO, Ohio – Gentle fun is often made of course architects who claim their designs are "challenging for low handicap players but accommodating of high handicappers." Ditto for developers who attach the word "championship" to the most modest of layouts.
Well, a pair of municipal courses designed by Arthur Hills/Steve Forrest and Associates will prove this summer that even the most hackneyed, stale marketing phrases can, on occasion, ring true.
The United States Golf Association will hold its Women’s Amateur Public Links Championship June 20-25, at Walking Stick Golf Course, a Pueblo, Colorado muni designed by Arthur Hills in 1991. Two months later, the USGA’s premier amateur event, the Amateur Championship, will be staged in Minnesota at The Chaska Town Course, a 1997 Hills/Forrest design.
The Town Course will share medal play duties with its more feted neighbor in Chaska, Hazeltine National GC, during the first two days of the Amateur. But Arthur Hills couldn’t be more proud if the Town Course, or Walking Stick, were tabbed for the Ryder Cup.
"Our firm has been involved in preparing courses for several Opens [Inverness, Oakland Hills, Oakmont]," said Arthur Hills, founder and principal of Toledo, Ohio-based Arthur Hills/Steve Forrest and Associates, "but sometimes it takes an event like the Amateur Public Links to spotlight a layout like Walking Stick, which is a wonderful public course that folks across the country might not have heard of."
"The Chaska Town Course got some attention when it opened [Golf Digest named it the nation’s fourth Best New Public Golf Course in 1998], but here’s a town-owned, town-operated course that holds twilight leagues all summer long – except for a week in August when it challenges the best amateurs in the game. That’s really something."
Championship events are commonplace at courses designed by Arthur Hills/Steve Forrest & Associates. In total, 36 of Hills/Forrest designs have hosted a USGA, PGA Tour, Champions Tour, LPGA Tour, Nationwide Tour, PGA of America, NCAA Championship and European Tour events. Most recently, Oitavos Golfe Quinta da Marinha played host to the European Tour’s 2005 Open of Portugal. Gaillardia Golf & Country Club in Oklahoma City, was site of the Champion’s Tour’s season-ending Tour Championship in 2002, and Mirasol Golf & Country Club in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. recently played host to the PGA Tour’s Honda Classic. As host course, Bighorn Golf Club in Palm Desert, Calif., was instrumental in popularizing a pair of made-for-television events, The Skins Games and the Battle of Bighorn.
"We just opened a course in Sweden called Hills Golf Club which has received all sorts of international attention [Travel+Leisure Golf named it among the top 10 courses to open worldwide in 2005] and may indeed host a Ryder Cup someday," Hills added. "But that’s about as private as a golf club can get. It’s just as gratifying to design courses like Chaska and Walking Stick that accommodate everyone and, when called upon, test the best players in a national championship setting."
Arthur Hills/Steve Forrest & Associates is one of golf’s most prolific and respected course architects, with 180 original designs to its name and 40 more projects underway in Mexico, Canada, the United States, Europe and the Middle East. Sand Golf Club in Sweden will celebrate its grand opening this fall, just north of Gothenburg. At about the same time, Olde Stone, an exquisite new private club project, will hold its grand opening in Bowling Green, Kentucky, USA, while Wolfdancer Golf Club at the Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort opened June 1, near Austin, Texas.
Phillips Golf Media
Arthur Hills/Steve Forrest and Associates