Town officials believe the upgrade will make it one of the best 9-hole courses in the state.
The Hill finished golf season early this year in order to begin an $850k renovation that the town believes will give the course the credibility it needs to attract more experienced players.
According to Dean Crane, director of Blacksburg’s Parks and Rec Department, the course has hardly been modified since the town bought it in 1971, and is essentially the same layout from when it originally opened in the 1920s.
The only change the town made to the property was installing a sprinkler system that Crane said was desperately needed.
The project’s currently out to bid and construction is expected to start near the end of July, with the course being playable May 2018. General Manager Jeff Kleppin said that construction should only take around two months, but the grass needs time to develop and get rooted into the ground before it can be played on.
Currently, the course is being stripped of its old fairways and greens and some trees are being moved before the project begins.
According to the town’s master plan, notable improvements include the regressing of the fairway’s and greens, the leveling out of the tee boxes, removing existing bunkers and adding new ones, expanding the putting green, creating a short game practice facility and improving drainage. George
Kleppin said that he believes the improvements will bring in more experienced golfers who don’t necessarily think of the municipal course as an elite course.
“As far as quality goes, I think these improvements will put us up there with any course in the area,” Kleppin said. “Too many people these days don’t have time to play 18-holes. Nine-hole courses are the way things are heading.”
Last year, Kleppin said that for fiscal year 2017, which ended June 30, roughly 9,000 rounds were played and revenues were $69,000. He said that those numbers are down a bit from years past, but that that is common throughout the industry.
In addition to getting more golfers out to play at the municipal course, Kleppin and the town hope to start hosting more programs for kids, as well as potentially offering lessons from a licensed professional.
Kleppin will have his hands full between now and when the course reopens in the spring with the rebranding process which includes a new website, scorecards, new signage, having the course recertified by the USGA and developing new programs.
“We have the best view in the valley, and now we will have a course to match,” Kleppin said. “I believe it will be the best nine-hole course in the state.”