Hill Top

Hill Top "Gun"

Par 28

Level 2 from 1,165 – 1,347 yards

Hill Top Gun.  Yes, I’ve changed the name!  For good reason.  While waiting at the white line to approach the tee box, a fellow golfer swung into the parking lot with a song blaring from his sound system - Danger Zone, by Kenny Loggins!


Headin' into twilightSpreadin' out her wings tonightShe got you jumpin' off the deckShovin' into overdrive


The famed Top Gun intro song!  I had that song and movie in my head the rest of the round.  The focal point of that movie is a Naval Flight School where the best of the best Navy fighter pilots train.  I’m impressed how often I'm randomly paired with Villagers who have military experience, from all the branches.  It’s an honor I don’t take for granted.  My dad did four years of service in WW2 aboard the carriers Intrepid and Monterrey.  He witnessed thousands of aircraft landings and liftoffs so knew well the bravery of those pilots.  On the drive to Hill Top today, I stopped at the Veteran’s Memorial Park near Spanish Springs – a beautiful reminder of the service many of our fellow Villages gave to our nation.  I had all those things on my mind when the Top Gun music hit me next to the first tee!  It’s no wonder the adrenaline was firing and my first shot of the day sailed well over the green into the water below – splash one! Hill Top 1 is the Danger Zone!  


As I was hunting for my ball at the water’s edge, I had an idea – why not name the rest of the Hill Top holes for a specific Top Gun Character Call Sign!   So, after “Danger Zone” hole #1, here’s the rest of this flight crew:

#2 - Goose

You thought the first hole was a tough shot?  The 2nd hole will require Great Balls of Fire to reach the green.  Talk to me Goose!  It plays a lot longer than the 123-yard marker and the green is perched up so anything off the deck will scatter away.  Club down to catapult up!   

#3 – Sundown.  This is one of the tallest tee boxes in town. And if you’re playing in the late afternoon, this is the sundown view you'll get overlooking the lake, fountain, Paradise Rec Center and the Spanish Springs rooftops.  Club down and use the same approach as your first shot.

#4 – Iceman.  This short shot requires ice in your veins and all the swagger of Val Kilmer’s antagonist character in the movie.  It’s the toughest shot of the round and one of the 18 hardest holes in town!  Water and a front trap are in your sights from the box. But there's surprise - like how Ice and Mav became "Wingman Forever" friends.  The surprise is the sand trap behind the green.  You can’t see it from the tee - it's a hidden enemy over the horizon>>>>

#5 – Chipper.  It’s the shortest shot you’ll play today. Not even a full wedge.

#6 – Charlie.  It’s a pretty view back through huge oaks to the fountain on the lake – a real stunner!

#7 – Jester.  This hole is nothing special - kind of a joke to me.

The green is unseen in this picture - it's around that left corner oak.  Lay up or make a "Slider" shot but don't ditch it in the waste! 

#8 – Slider.  Hill Top Gun's only par four.  Why is it that when we see a par four, we "Feel the Need for Speed" and automatically get out a driver?  Why can’t we just be smart?  This dogleg left has a tight landing zone.  It’s not possible to hit over the oak on the left corner and there’s a massive waste bunker 20 yards past the white 150 stake.  So, unless you can draw a slider shot around that tree, a driver is risky.  Heck, it’s just plain stupid!  Smart is to lay up to the 150 marker.  Why can't we do that? Guess our egos are writing checks our bodies can't cash!  

#9 – Maverick.  There’s no one like Tom Cruise’s character.  He’s unconventional, cocky and a bit risky (you could say hes just full of Risky Business!).  The 9th hole is equally atypical – the only hole in The Villages with this type of set up.  You can't possibly "buzz the tower" here - the tee box doesn't allow a direct shot to the flag.  The trees on the left hang over more than your morning after a night at the Hard Deck bar.   And the traps on the right limit your lay-up options.  I used a 5 iron to run it low up the hill.  It’s a Maverick hot shot for sure!

Hill top is not a normal level 2 course.  It’s a dog fight - way harder and way more irregular.  But landing a fighter jet on an aircraft carrier is clearly not normal either!  And yes, it’s a bit tired and worn around the edges.  But who of us aren't at our age?  It gets points for nostalgia and the views and quirky liftoffs and landings.  It's one of the original courses in The Villages - and for sure, it's not lost that lovin feeling

Come play this iconic course and kick it into overdrive! 

Toughest to Easiest

4, 1, 9, 8, 2, 3, 6, 7, 5   Toughest Green - 9

Here's a cool website that gives more background on the Top Gun Movie Call Signs, even ranking them!  Click here.

And if you need some adrenaline pumping music to get your round going, click here for a full compliment of both soundtracks. Click here

And here's the 10 best quotes you should try to use while playing Hill Top! Click here

From the blacks!   

Hill Top only uses two sets of tees - gold and green.  The Gold will give you enough lift anyway.

Go Green!

The total difference in yardage, from green to gold on Hill Top, is 182 yards.  A carrier's flight deck is just 166 yards.  Think about that!  So you'll get a little more than one carrier's worth of advantage by playing from the forward gold tee box. You might as well play from golds and get the full Top Gun experience!

What's Nearby?

The Villages Veterans Memorial Park.  It's located near the golf cart bridge that crosses 27/441 by Spanish Springs.  It's a beautiful reminder of the service that many of our Villagers and family members have given our nation.  You can join hundreds that have honored Veterans with a customized brick placed at the Memorial Park. Click here for more info.

Also nearby is the Paradise Rec Center can be seen from hill tops.  It has many of the amenities of other Regional Rec Centers, with one cool exception:  It has a library with thousands of books on the shelves!  It’s called the Mark Twain Library and you can browse their offerings from 9-5 M-F and 9-Noon on Saturdays. I found a nice article about it in the Daily Sun.

My impressions are based on playing from the Gold tee boxes.  The Black and the Green tee boxes pose different challenges or benefits described as well.  The rankings of the toughest to easiest holes are just my opinions - yours will be far different, as will your favorite courses and most difficult and attractive holes.  I welcome your opinions or thoughts on any of this - click to leave a comment.