Hilltop Golf Course
Teachers’ Comments: A challenging little neighborhood course
Hilltop Golf Course in Plymouth, Michigan, is a tight course on rolling terrain that plays much harder than the relatively short yardage would suggest. Hilltop is my league’s home course, and we have come to accept that bogey here is a decent score.
The difficulties presented by the course are evident from the first hole. The tee shot has to thread a line of pine trees and fly downhill into a creek valley. If you manage to avoid the pines, orchard remnants and stray trees on the fairway edges and stay out of the creek, you then have a 100 yard shot uphill to a plateaued green which is guarded by a steep walled front bunker. It’s a two club hill. Miss left or right and you’re in the trees. Miss long and you’re down a hill into scrub. The green is relatively small and undulating and there are hole locations that will make you cry.
The second is a 180 yard par three from an elevated tee to a green guarded by a swamp on the front, and trees on the sides and rear. It might be a two club hill. Or maybe not. No one can figure it out except to say that whatever club they choose, it is rarely the correct one. Similar difficulties present themselves on most of the holes. With just a couple of exceptions, you don’t need to be long on this course. You do, however, need to be accurate on every shot.
The whine of “This is just unfair” is heard a lot in my league, as wayward shots exact one-, two- and three-shot punishments.
This is not to imply that Hilltop Golf Course is unenjoyable. Our league plans to return again next year, and it is not as though there is a shortage of courses in Michigan to choose from. The course does a good job of negating the advantages held by big (but often wild) hitters.I like the challenge and go back to play even when my league is not in session. When a round at Hilltop is done, I’ve used every club in my bag.
Further, with all of the trees and hills, Hilltop is quite pretty. I find it quite walkable—in spite of some notable climbs—because tees follow closely after the greens. You will see lots of people on the hoof here.
The par 70 Jerry Matthews design measures just 6,009 from the back tees, where it plays to a 69.5/131. From the middle tees, it’s a 68.2/129. Forward, it measures 4,635 and rates a 69.0/118.
Conditions at Hilltop are always a mixed bag. There are a number of low spots that never seem to dry out. They should take some steps to improve the drainage here. In other spots, the fairways and rough can get rock hard. A little more watering these wouldn’t hurt.The greens, however, always seem to be in uniformly good shape.
Hilltop is by no means a course that demands a special trip. But if you’re in the Plymouth, Michigan neighborhood, it’s worth a visit.