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Hillcrest Golf Club open house gives in-depth look at massive changes proposed for course

Near complete redesign to offer large-scale improvements, create better flow of play, see return of driving range to local 18-hole valley layout

MOOSEJAWTODAY.COM -- The Hillcrest Golf Club will have a very, very different look about half a decade from now if everything comes together with a planned series of wholesale improvements and renovations.

An open house meeting at Sask Polytechnic on Wednesday night gave members an up-close look at all the changes planned for the course -- you can check them out in the series of photos above -- and to say the least, the 2024 Master Plan is as expansive as it is ambitious.

Every hole will see some sort of improvement, with many being completely re-routed and adjusted, with the overall goal of creating a more modern layout with wide fairways and updated challenges, including new bunkers and water hazards throughout.

All told the multi-phase plan will improve the flow of play, update the antiquated irrigation system, reduce maintenance and water costs, repair and improve problem areas and see the return of the driving range and practice facility.

“We had a meeting back in October, and there’s lots of planning that’s happened from then until today,” Hillcrest club president Chris Knoop said shortly after the presentation. “There’s been a lot of optimism and it’s good to hear what some of the concerns are and I feel pretty good about how things went today.”

The overarching theme of the project was to update the original 1986 Master Plan which had seen a handful of changes to the course in the years since. The new 2024 plan takes into account the evolution of the sport and was put together by Les Ferber and GDS Designs after touring the course and gathering the necessary information for such a huge plan.

While there might be some questions as to whether or not such a massive project is necessary, it’s all about looking toward the future, especially with some of the aging parts of the 18-hole valley layout.

“That was one of the concerns, people who are saying ‘hey we just want to play golf, leave it’,” Knoop said. “It might be okay for you, but we want it to be even better for our kids and our kids kids. We want to make it better so it doesn’t fall by the wayside, we have a lot of aging infrastructure as well and we just need to get that all updated. I think that’s definitely achievable.”

The plan will take place in multiple phases, with Phase I covering work on the first green, third back tee, 13th hole, 14th green and 18th green. Phase II would see work on the first tee and fairway, second hole tees, installation of the driving range and redoing the 18th tees and fairway. Phase III work includes the sixth hole and seventh tee and further Phases will see the remainder of the work completed.

“I love it, it’s going to look awesome,” Knoop said of how the new layout will look. “We get some new bunkers where we don’t have many on the golf course right now, so that helps. Adding some length is great, too, it adds a bit of challenge. We hosted the mixed provincials last year and the junior girls championship a few years ago and this will give us the opportunity to do some more of that stuff and bring some highly competitive golfers to our city. 

“And it also makes it better for everyday player as well… It’ll make it a bit easier, there will be nice and wide fairways, it’ll help with the pace of play and we won’t have six-hour rounds that frustrate everyone on Saturdays. It’ll  just help improve a little bit of everything,”

Costs for the various phases have also been calculated, with Phase I coming in at $1.07 million, Phase II at $1.675 million, Phase 3 at $713,000, Phase IV at $94,000 and further Phases at around $875,000.

The plan is to see the work completed over a five-year span, with all construction done in the fall so as to not impact play during the season. Ideally, the first shovels could be in the ground this fall if things all come together.

That leads to the most important next step: membership approval of the plan.

The 2024 Master Plan will be voted on at the Hillcrest Golf Club annual general meeting on  Wednesday, Apr. 10. A positive reception there will then lead to approval by the City of Moose Jaw, followed by capital fundraising and construction.

“We would love to see it start this fall when we’re done for the season and maybe we get some surprise money, who knows,” Knoop said. “It might be next fall and I would hope we could get something prioritized by then, but there’s a lot to be done before anything happens.”

Be sure to keep an eye on the Hillcrest Golf Club social media pages and visit 

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