Enjoy the Fun at Hillview Golf Course

There is one word that comes to mind when playing a round of golf at Hillview Golf Course in North Reading, MA – fun. That’s probably the reason why Hillview averages nearly 50,000 starts each golf season, especially with senior golfers who like to take advantage of the $16 special for nine holes from Monday through Thursday. Golf Facilities Management Inc. has been getting a lot of notoriety for its resuscitation of the Beverly Golf & Tennis Club over the last three years, but it must be noted that GFMI first made its mark at Hillview 25 years ago. That’s when it took over a former private club and transformed it into a popular public course with no memberships or season passes.

GFMI is operated by Chris Carter, the head golf professional at Hillview who bought into GFMI in 1998, along with his partner Steve Murphy. With additional direction from course superintendent Matthew Grady, they have managed to present a very player-friendly course with a variety of shot selections for golfers of all ages, male or female, and with course conditions on par with that of a lot of private courses From a management’s perspective, we’re trying to be consistent with the two facilities in terms of what we put into it,” said Carter, who was the 2010 New England PGA Professional of the Year.

Hillview Golf Course

“A lot of golfers don’t like to begin a round with a par-5, but Hillview’s first hole is a fair, honest par-5 without too much degree of difficulty and plenty of room for an errant shot to the right. The third hole is a par-4, 410-yard challenger that is free of any green side bunkers. All you have to do is just get the ball there. The fifth hole is a decision maker off the tee, with the safe choice being a hybrid to a narrow fairway landing area. For a short, 311-yard hole, the 11th is quirky with a sneaky, blind bunker fronting the green on a downhill that is not in view from the initial approach shot. The course finishes up with a long, par-3 16th that ranges anywhere from 208 to 236 yards from the tips, followed by a short, uphill 241-yard, par-4 17th that can easily be reached, but watch out for another blind green side bunker with severe sloping. No. 18 is one of those rare, par-3 finishing holes, which plays left-to-right to 185 yards.

The 7th fairway was completely redone this year with new drainage and sod, and 11 new greens have been built in the last 15 years. Know is the time when Hillview begins to kick things into gear for junior golfers. It is already promoting national initiatives, Get Golf Ready and Tee It Forward, throughout the season. In July, however, Carter will be running a free clinic every Monday for boys and girls ages 5 to 17 and is expecting 50-100 juniors every week. Plus, if time and space availability allows it, Carter will let the juniors go out on the course for a number of holes. Hillview will also be hosting the New England PGA Junior Match Play Championship and a U.S. Kids Golf Boston Summer Tour event in July. I’m huge on junior golf,” said Carter. “It’s the future of the game. And Hillview supports that as a fun place to play, less expensive, and in better condition. It’s our goal to bring the family.”

Bob DiCesare is an award-winning golf writer for The Patriot Ledger in Quincy, MA and The Enterprise in Brockton, MA, both Gatehouse Media newspapers.