When Ed Hess opened the course in 1965, Hi-Level became the first public 18-hole course in Clarion County. The course has changed over the years, adding a beginner’s course in the 1970′s and a driving range in the 1980′s.
Most recently, Hi-Level lengthened hole number 5 to a par 5 and hole number 6 to a par 4. However, the course’s famous par 6 on hole number 16 has stayed the same. “We’ve had lots of people stop to play Hi-Level simply because they have never played a par 6,” says manager and co-owner Mindy Hess.
The course layout spreads over 5863 yards of beautifully maintained fairways for a par 73 rating. Perhaps nowhere else in the county can a wider range of distances be found on a golf course. Hi-Level’s shortest hole is 120 yards, while the longest is 670 yards. The front nine features five par 4s and three par 3s, plus a par 5.
“The eighth hole is probably the toughest on the front nine,” the late co-founder Robert Hess once said. “Hole #8 is a 400-yard par four. The back nine includes two holes over 600 yards in length, the 625-yard #11 and the mammoth 670 yard #16, which is the par 6. Hole #16 is longer than the fourteenth and fifteenth hole combined.”
Roughs are short and manicured to prevent lost balls and to speed play. The holes are arranged to allow the golfer to use most clubs in the bag. Hazards include one pond, bunkers on five holes, and ever-green trees lining many fairways. Another unique component of Hi-Level is its scenery: various types of fruit trees line the fairways and dot the course. Co-Founder Edward Hess planted those because he thought it would be nice for golfers to grab some fruit while enjoying a round.