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Hillcrest Golf Club approves master plan for major course renovations at AGM

First shovels could be in ground this fall for multi-million dollar 2024 Master Plan project
The Hillcrest Golf Club passed the 2024 Master Plan to rebuild the majority of the course at their annual general meeting on Wednesday night.

MOOSEJAWTODAY.COM -- The Hillcrest Golf Club’s massive course-wide renovation is officially a go.

Members of the local 18-hole valley layout overwhelmingly supported the 2024 Master Plan for renovations during their annual general meeting on Wednesday night, and as a result, it could be as early as this fall that work begins.

“I feel like I consider myself as an optimist, so I always felt good about it, but there’s always some doubt,” said Hillcrest president Chris Knoop of how the vote turned out. “If it was going to be a close vote, we might have had to re-think about how we were going to go about things in the future to get more people engaged and those sorts of things. But to see overwhelming support at that meeting kind of reaffirms what we’re doing. So now we’ll keep chugging along and get things going.”

The project will see a multi-year redesign of the course, with the multi-phase project initially budgeted to cost around $3.5 million for the first stages of the rebuild.

While initial support was dicey at best, a special presentation on Mar. 20 going over the changes hole-by-hole and answering a ton of questions from the membership helped get the vast majority of voters on board.

With that hurdle now cleared, the real work begins.

“We have a long road ahead of us,” Knoop said. “Now we’ll chat with the city and see if they’re okay with what we’re going to do and then it’s full-steam ahead with doing some fundraising, getting some (requests for quotes) out for the different phases and kind of choosing how we’re going to do things.”

Based on the original plan, Phase 1 would see work on the first green, third back tee, 13th hole, 14th green and 18th green, immediately bringing wholesale changes to how the course looks and feels. 

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.

Initial cost figures saw Phase I come 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.

Depending on how things work out with tenders and replies, the Phases themselves might be broken down into smaller pieces, and some extra time might be taken to get everything in place in the proper fashion.

“We have two new holes we’re building in a dead space on our golf course, so we have the space and could focus on that, then kind of go with a couple more holes from there and take it slower,” Knoop said. “We’ll see how it all unfolds in the next little while and see how it goes.”

One thing that’s certain is there will be all sorts of fundraising involved. Portions of that will be taking place this summer, and if everything goes according to plan, shovels could be in the ground as early as this fall.

“Right now, we have a good nest egg built up from the last half dozen years, so that helps,” Knoop explained. “Then we have a few initiatives this year we’re going to try and move forward with and hopefully make even more than last year, then we can put all those funds right into the project right away.”

Be sure to keep an eye on and their social media pages for regular updates on the project as it progresses.