Hillcrest membership overwhelmingly agrees to push forward with $3.5 million “master plan”

Hillcrest Golf Club General Manager Jasmine Cameron and Board President Chris Knoop showoff the course's updated master plan after the club's AGM on April 10.

On Wednesday in Moose Jaw at the Hillcrest Golf Club, the course held their Annual General Meeting. General Manager Jasmine Cameron and Board President Chris Knoop updated the full clubhouse about the year that was plus what’s next for the facility.

The hot button topic has been the development of an updated “master plan” that would revamp the golf course but come with a cost of an estimated $3.5 million. Proceeding with the plan was voted almost unanimously by the members in attendance. Knoop said after the meeting that they stumbled across the club’s almost 40-year-old plans when the discussion arose to replace a couple greens.

“If we’re going to build new greens, should we change the holes was one of the big questions,” Knoop explained. “We thought by redesigning some of this that will help. When we have really busy times, we get logjammed at the end of our front nine, that was one of our goals as well. Maintenance will be a lot less as well.”

Next up for the club and the board will present the plans to the city of Moose Jaw for approval to go forward. Fundraising will now begin as committees are now formed within the club. One member, who did vote in favour of the master plan, did raise concerns about using debt to pay for the upgrades. Knoop hopes that’s also the case as the club moves forward.

“That would be ideal if we don’t have to go there, but again we will see, hopefully we can see this through and we don’t have to go that route. The best thing about it is we have a nice phasing layout for this. We don’t have to do it all at once,” he said.

Original course designer Les Furber returned to Moose Jaw with his team in October, toured the course, and presented two plans back to the Hillcrest. Several meetings have been held in the city including a “townhall” session leading to a quick vote on Wednesday. Knoop said the excitement is evident, but the work will be long lasting.

“It would be at least a five year project, but if we can do it all in 10, I would be ecstatic,” he chuckled.

The Hillcrest is a historic club and has been a centrepiece of the city for a century, Knoop and many others have spent years devoted to the club and playing golf. He said working with the city, corporate partners, and other golfers they want the facility around another 100 years.

“I talked about some greens that don’t really weather well, our irrigation system is old, we need that upgraded, we have done some work with it, but the upper portion of our golf course needs that done as well and it’s not a cheap project. We figured if we are ripping this up anyways let’s make it better,” he concluded.

For this year, the club has made some upgrades already, they installed a 1,200 foot fence along the north boundary to keep public off the course, they installed a new sound system and televisions in the clubhouse, plus the Hillcrest updated their security equipment to help combat a theft issue that has seen the club lose between $100,000 and $150,000 in equipment. Some drainage and cosmetic work is also currently underway in the southwest corner between holes eight and nine, plus a new bridge was built on hole 10.

The course will make an opening date announcement soon.

You can hear more from Knoop in his interview with Golf Saskatchewan.