If you find yourself in the Pittsburgh, PA area, you will have to take a trip to Hickory Heights Golf Club, located just 15 miles southwest of Pittsburgh. Owned and operated by Sam Depe III, and his son, Sam Depe IV, Hickory Heights has seen major renovations since this father-son pair took over ownership in 2009. One reason Hickory Heights has seen so many makeovers, is because of the Depes’ new love for golf. Sam Depe III was in a horrific car accident 1998, causing him to lose both of his legs. The game he loved and enjoyed as a child was abruptly taken out of his life. Sam Depe III began to put all of his love for golf into the business end of the sport, ultimately purchasing Hickory Heights and making it his dream course.
Hickory Heights is a public course with a country club feel. A beautiful clubhouse sits at the top of a hill, overlooking the #10 tee box and #18 green. Sam Depe III said fixing up the golf course was the easy part, but figuring out what to do with the clubhouse and restaurant located on property was more of a challenge. “Sammy’s Pin High Pub” was the Depes’ creation, and it seems to be the perfect addition to the golf club. The Pub offers a casual setting to watch television, enjoy drinks, and watch golfers go pin seeking on the 18th green.
When all the other courses in the area softened up from the summer rain, Hickory’s greens stayed firm and fast. Even with my GPS equipped golf cart, I could not get the right distance with my irons, as the Hickory Heights’ hilly design gave me fits. This course easily played as the most difficult course in my trip to Pittsburgh. From the firm greens and elevation changes, to the marshes and gorges, there was not one easy hole on the course. Even the shortest of holes, like #9 – Par 4 – 319 yards, you will find it’s a straight up hill blinded tee shot with a huge front bunker swallowing any ball left short of the green.
Overall, Hickory Heights Golf Club was one of my favorite courses in Pittsburgh. Located in a beautiful rolling neighborhood just minutes outside of the city, the course played long and fast. Make sure you’re ready to use every club in your bag before you try and tackle the difficulty of Hickory Heights!
Brandon Mumaw works in high school athletics in western New York. Originally from Florida, he is an avid and skilled golfer, and began writing for BuffaloGolfer.Com in August of 2017. His Pittsburgh Golf series is his first for the site.