Blog

New Updates:

The North side of the practice facility continues to progress quickly! This past week, we installed sod on the range and installed the concrete pad on the Northside practice area for the new Turf Hound synthetic turf, which is a premier practice turf. It’s not your regular synthetic turf - it's like standing on healthy natural turf. Set your own tee at any height and drive or use your irons and work on your short game. The only difference is there’s no divot to replace! This surface will allow for continued practice, even when the grass tees are affected by weather conditions or maintenance.

The concrete pad has been installed on the Northside practice area for the new Turf Hound synthetic turf.

Irrigation on the course has also begun, with it complete on number 14 green and in process on number 18 greens complex with the pipe and valve install. The satellite system was also installed this week, setting the stage for when watering will begin this spring.​

Irrigation is underway on #18 complex.

​​​​​What's Happened:

Click here to take a look at this great video showcasing what has been happening on The Hills Signature Course!
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Construction on the course is back and even bigger! Another crew has arrived onsite, adding additional hands and equipment for hauling and irrigation. 

Focus on the greens continues and initial work has begun on the tees with removal of top materials. Drainage and gravel installation will be complete on greens 8, 10, 11, and 12 by the end of this week, moving much of the course close to the next phase on the greens.

Turf removal from #7 tees.

The biggest news of the week is that the greens mix blending process has begun. 100 tons of mix is getting blended with 7% Spagnum peat moss daily in The Hills parking lot. Once mixed, we began filling in the cavities of number 18, 6, and 14 greens! By next week, greens 7 - 13 will be ready for greens mix application.

100 tons of mix is getting blended with 7% Spagnum peat moss.

18 green covered with greens mix.

Repair and beautification of the waterfall on #18.

What's Happened:

Last week we described the difference you will see in the number 18 green complex. Be sure to check out the image below with a before and after comparison. The before picture is on top and the new, rough shaped green is in the image below.

#18 green before (top) & after (bottom) comparison.

Rough shaping is now complete on g​​​​reens #9 and #14. This week, we are working on rough shaping of number 7 and drainage work on all of the greens in which the rough shaping is complete, which is a pretty intricate process as you can see in the images below. The drainage design is different on each green - individually specific to the way each green will be built.

Drainage pipes being laid in a rough-shaped green.

Intricate drainage pattern designed for each green.

The new Northside tee of the practice facility continues the process of sand-capping, which will take several more weeks to complete.

Sand cap on the Northside tee of the practice facility.

Work continues on the #18 water feature, which includes rebuilding the dam beside the green. Once this is complete, this water feature will be much more visually appealing and the lake level on the number 15 side will increase.

Repairing the water feature on #18.

The rebuilding of the dam in the #18 water feature.

What's Next!

  • The construction crew will be taking a break for the holidays and resume on January 4, however, our Golf Course Maintenance crew will continue to work on the project throughout the next few weeks.
  • Once number 7 green is complete our expert shaper will move to rough shape number 8 and 12 after the holidays.

The best place to begin is the most exciting, with the story of the 18th green. We started construction on number 18 first as we knew it was one of the most daunting of the project and will be the most visible when golfers return to the course. The Nicklaus designers had their work cut out for them to get 18 to USGA specs. First, 3-4 feet of material was removed so we could essentially rebuild a green on top of a green. The green has increased in size by 50%, which may make it more playable, but it could play longer and have more wind as well as a tricky false front. It is going to be an incredible, championship finishing hole!

As construction moves through the course, turf removal, rough grading and bunker renovation has begun on 6, 14 and 15 is almost complete. The next step for each of these greens will be rough shaping. Join us on the patio at The Hills Signature Chophouse to view the process on number 14!

With the movement of 2,400 cubic yards of dirt on the North end of the new practice facility, we've increased the hittable tee surface by 60% and are excited about what this new practice area will look and feel like for our Members! As this part of the project continues, the crew has begun to grade and install sand on the North Driving Range Tee.
We are currently performing additional tree work as well as cleaning up the undergrowth around specimen trees on the course and academy area. We have a certified arborist on-site throughout the construction that is consulting with the team about any tree work performed. All oak tree work is being completed in compliance with the February 1-June 30 Oak Wilt law. With no fungal activity at temperatures at 65 degrees or lower, we are timing our pruning for additional precautions and are working to seal all wounds.

 

Capping the North tee at The Hills Driving Range with sand.

  

Rough Shaping of the 14th green.

 

What's Next!

  • As we work on the greens, many more areas of the course are under construction. One major feature that is under renovation is the signature waterfall on number 7. The crew is working to restack rock that has fallen through the years, silt removal and repairs to improve functions and aesthetics.
  • Once we complete rough shaping of the greens, the next focus will be to begin the drainage work for each green. The new greens will have a drainage percolation rate of 33 inches per hour, in alignment with USGA specs. This means our greens are not going to be holding onto water as the percolation rate measures the speed in which water moves through the soil.

F.A.Q.'s

  1. During the Hills Renovation Project, is there any work being done to the Academy Practice Holes?

    Yes; however this work is being done by our Club Maintenance Staff, not the project contracting crew.  We have done a lot of tree work and cedar removal to help open up these holes.  Additionally, we took some good sod from the Hills Signature putting green and expanded the greens on Academy holes #1 & #2.  The green on Academy #3 will be rebuilt just as those on the course and planted with the Champions bermuda.

  2. As you know, the usage credits you might have been issued in the spring of this year will expire at year-end.  Will other creditbook winnings be written off after the end of the year?

    No, credits earned will not be written off at the end of year.  However, Members are encouraged to use their credits.  Credits can be used for all club purchases except for purchasing gift cards.  

    Example: A Member was granted $500 in usage credits starting in the spring of 2021.  At the end of the year, the Club will see if that Member spent more than $500 in creditbook since the first application of credits.  If they have, nothing will be written off.  If they have only spent $400, then $100 will be removed at the end of the year. Reminder: You must instruct Club staff to utilize your credits at the time of purchase for the credits to be applied.

What's Happened:

To date, we have moved 2,400 cubic feet of dirt on the North end of the new practice facility and are currently working on irrigation.

Construction has visibly begun on the course and is progressing quickly! So far, our focus has been on 16, 17, and 18 greens.

Turf Demo, removal, and storage of the greens mix, made up a valuable ratio of sand and pete moss, will be stored and saved to use in other areas. Once the demo of the grass and greens mix is complete, rough shaping of the greens begins. Rough shaping is essentially the process of forming the skeleton of the green. The interior is still an empty space to be filled in, but you can actually see the outline of the new green.

Of the processes performed so far, rough shaping is the most time-consuming. This is because you are essentially starting with a clean slate and requires an expert shaper to transform the green from what it was to what it now will be. As a reminder, each new green will be larger than it was when we started construction, as we are removing any encroachment and taking them back to the original shape. We've made amazing progress and have rough shaped 16, 17, and 18 greens.

As the greens are being worked on, so are the bunkers. Each bunker is being reworked to peel them back to the original shape and improve the transition from bunker to green. As they remove the edges, they can actually see the original shape in the ground.

Turf removal and shredding.

Edging of a bunker on number 16 to peel it back to its original shape.

Removal of the greens mix from number 16 to store for later use.

Rough shaping of the number 18 green.

What's Next!

  • This week we plan on finishing the demo and rough shaping of the 15 green, then will focus on the mobilization of the equipment to number 6.
  • Rough shaping of 6 and 14 should be done by this time next week with number 9 as the next in line.
  • As a reminder, with the course officially closed for golf, the course is closed for all walking, jogging, dog walking, bikes, and fishing as it is a construction zone with very large and deep holes as well as dangerous equipment.

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F.A.Q.'s

1. How do Hills & Champions Golf Members secure tee times at area Country Clubs during the renovation?

Several area courses including Barton Creek, Horseshoe Bay, UT Golf Club, Lakecliff, Twin Creeks, and River Place have agreed to allow some limited access to our Members during our construction period. For the time being, Members may contact Director of Golf, Aaron Chilek or Head Golf Professional, Jarrett Almond to set up these arrangements. Hills Members may book at Live Oak or Yaupon five days in advance of their tee time by booking through the club website (www.thehillscc.com) or by using the Clublife app. Champions Members may book seven days in advance.

Aaron Chilek, PGA
aaron.chilek@clubcorp.com
512-3434-4710

Jarrett Almond, PGA
jarrett.almond@clubcorp.com
512-343-4798

2. Where do Hills Golf Members pick up their golf special orders now that The Hills Signature Course is closed?

All special orders will now be picked up at the Flintrock Falls Golf Shop. We will continue to reach out to the ordering Members directly when their orders are ready for pickup at the Flintrock Falls Golf Shop.

3. Where do Members take clubs that need to be repaired?

Please take any clubs that need to be repaired to the Flintrock Falls Golf Shop. We will perform the repair and have it ready for pick up at the Flintrock Falls Golf Shop.
We appreciate you taking the time to read through our update and look forward to more exciting news to share throughout the next months! Should you have any questions throughout this process, please do not hesitate to reach out to the Club!

What's Happened:
Excavation has continued to be the main focus at the Range. Irrigation and drainage work began this last week as well, which you can see in the pictures below. We also began the process of building the putting green on the North tee. The green has been built with gravel and an 88:12 mix of sand and pete moss. It will be topped with sprigs at a later date for optimum grow-in. Later this week you will be able to see things really take shape on the North end.

Once complete, our Members will be able to enjoy the following features:
• Chipping green and bunker
• Expanded Tee space
• Target greens
• Putting green

A look at the new putting green as drainage and gravel are installed.

Hills Renovation 12.1

 

Hills Renovation 12.1 Image 2

What's Next!
• With the course officially closed for golf today, the course also closes for all walking, jogging, dog walking, bikes and fishing as it will quickly become a construction zone.
• As of tomorrow you will see mobilization of additional crew and equipment, taking our on-site construction crew of eight to 20, including four expert shapers!
• Irrigation removal will begin on all greens complexes of the course.
• Logistical planning and organization for course construction will be in full force.
• The North side of the precision practice facility shaping should be finalized this week.
• Last week, we mentioned the possibility of having to limit hitting distance, but do not anticipate having to shorten the range at this time. Should this need to happen in the future, we will let you know in advance.
 
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F.A.Q.'s
1. What is the process for Hills Members that would like to book tee times at Live Oak or Yaupon while the course is closed?

Hills Golf Members are allowed to book tee times at Live Oak or Yaupon five days in advance of their selected date of play. Members can book online through the club website (www.thehillscc.com) or book using the Clublife app. Please be sure to book all names that will be playing when you make your tee times, as we are moving away from "X's" or TBD's.

2. What are the maintenance days for the three courses that are still open during construction?

Flintrock Falls will be closed every Monday until 12:00 noon for maintenance. Live Oak and Yaupon will alternate closing on Thursday mornings for course maintenance.

Here is the course availability during construction:
Monday: Live Oak & Yaupon open all Day, Flintrock Falls open at 12:00
Tuesday & Wednesday: Flintrock Falls, Live Oak & Yaupon are open
Thursday: Flintrock Falls open all day, Live Oak OR Yaupon open all day, Live Oak or Yaupon open at noon
Friday - Sunday: Flintrock Falls, Live Oak & Yaupon are open

3. Are any Members allowed access to the Hills Signature Course during construction?

Starting today, the Hills Signature Course is to be considered a construction zone. For the safety of all Members/residents we are restricting all access to the course. This includes walking, running, golf cart rides, pet walking, fishing, biking, etc... We are erecting signage at all access points to remind Members. While certain areas might not look like they are under construction, mobilization of large pieces of equipment as well as work that may not be easily discernible to the eye has begun and will continue throughout the process. Your safety is our first priority.
4.

We appreciate you taking the time to read through our update and look forward to more exciting news to share throughout the next months! Should you have any questions throughout this process, please do not hesitate to reach out to the Club!

What's Happening Now:

The project has already begun on the North side of The Hills Driving Range! Excavation began on November 10 with rough grading to level and expand the tee space. During this phase, we created additional fill, which has allowed us the opportunity to expand this project to transform this side of the range into a precision short game facility. Once complete, our Members will be able to enjoy the following features:
• Chipping green
• Expanded Tee space
• Target greens
• Putting green

Currently, the crew is focusing on rough grading, leveling and contouring the space, but after this week, you will begin to see things take shape!

Stripping and shredding the original grass.

What's Next!
• This next week you will see mobilization of additional crew and equipment, taking our on-site construction crew of eight to 20 by December 2, including four expert shapers!
• The back of the range will be prepped and readied for sod and seed after Thanksgiving.
• During construction of the target greens, we will have to restrict hitting distance to 200 yards on the range for an estimated period of 14 days. Once we reach this stage, we will let you know the exact date of closure, but expect it to begin sometime next week.

We have put together some of the most frequently asked questions from the membership so far for your review below. We will continue to keep you informed as the project progresses with weekly communication.

Will there be any design elements of the course that will be changed?
The goal of the project is to rebuild and refresh the tees, fairways and greens complexes. It is not our goal to change any of the design or layout of the course. We will continue to do tree work and there may be some tree removal, especially around some of the greens complexes.

The course is in great shape now. Why is the project needed?
We have been blessed with great weather to allow us to have very smooth greens this year. In years past, and in most springs, the greens struggle due to what is underneath the grass, leading to frequent issues. The current greens are not USGA spec greens. There are some parts of our greens that have up to 36 inches of sand, whereas the sand level on a USGA spec green should be at 12 inches under the grass. This excess sand makes for tough growing conditions and causes drainage problems, leading to disease. Irrigation issues have also plagued these greens complexes. During this process, the drainage and irrigation will also be replaced, creating a much more conducive growing environment. Once this is complete, we can expect firmer and quicker greens more frequently throughout the year. Your new greens will also be larger. Throughout the years, due to slow encroachment, the greens have shrunk about a foot on the sides.

You may have noticed that there are several different strands of Bermudagrass on the fairways. Not only do these look unsightly, but they play differently. Having a consistent TifTuf Bermudagrass will provide a much more aesthetically pleasing and playable surface.

The tee boxes are no longer level in several places around the course. This project will result in laser-leveled tee boxes with an upgrade in grass coverage as well.

Will Hills Golf Members have access to Live Oak and Yaupon during construction?
Yes, Hills Golf Members will be able to book tee times at Live Oak and Yaupon five days in advance of their desired starting time. Members in the Champions category have access to tee times seven days in advance. This will begin when the project starts and The Hills Signature Course closes.

Why was the initially proposed project expanded from a 6-month project to a 10-month project?
We enlarged the scope of work from the original plans, adding in all of the work that will be completed on the driving range. By starting now, we will be able to do all of the construction in the winter in preparation for the great grass-growing weather in the spring and summer.

Will the driving range close during construction?
The plan is to keep the driving range open throughout the project. We will start the work on the North (Academy) end of the range and prepare it so we may utilize that tee throughout the winter. Once this is ready for play, we plan to close the south end of the range to renovate. We will end up with much more tee space when this is complete.

Will there be a dues reduction during the renovation?
Your dues are necessary to keep your Club operating at a high level and to maintain Club programming and service standards. Your dues also keep our new, elevated golf course maintenance staffed with a crew that is now 30% larger than what we used to operate with, as well as supporting other staffing and service levels that have been raised at the Club due to the large improvements happening.

Will the putting green be redesigned with the construction?
Yes, The Hills putting green will be larger and flatter than the current design.

Will The Hills Clubhouse and Creekside remain open during the project?
Yes, Members will continue to have full access to The Hills Clubhouse including breakfast, lunch and dinner service. We will modify Scoreboard hours to Friday and Saturday for live music and adjust accordingly as we move through this process. We will also be expanding Food & Beverage hours at Flintrock Falls.

Will The Hills Golf Shop remain open during the renovation?
No, we will close The Hills Golf Shop at some point in December. At that time, all retail will go through the Flintrock Falls Golf Shop.

Will Members be able to access the course or walk on the course during construction?
No, once we start construction, there will be no access to the course. This is solely for the safety of our membership.

How will the Club communicate with the Members about the project?
Club management will continue to work with our board and committees as we move through the project as well as provide weekly updates via email to all Hills and Champions Golf Members.

It's hard to describe what this substantial investment will do for not only The Hills Signature course, but our community as well - solidifying The Hills as a prestigious course and community in the Texas Hill Country for generations to come!

The plan includes rebuilding the greens using Champion G12 turf, modifying greenside bunkers, laser-leveling tee boxes and re-grassing the fairways and tees with TifTuf Bermuda turf. The north and south tee lines of the driving range will also be re-grassed and leveled. The project is set to begin in mid-November and is already primed for success with a large part of the tree portion of the project completed in January. As we finalize the timeline, we will work to ensure the course is available for play as long as possible, but expect to have the course back open for Member play in mid-September.

Members will continue to have full access to The Hills Clubhouse including breakfast, lunch and dinner service. We will modify Scoreboard hours to Friday and Saturday for live music and adjust accordingly as we move through this process. At some point in December The Hills Golf Shop will close, adjusting all retail to run through the Flintrock Falls Golf Shop. We will also be expanding Food & Beverage hours at Flintrock Falls and will be rolling out a whole new menu concept, including eclectic fare as well as New York-style pizzas made with our new pizza oven soon!

Once we start construction, there will be no access to the Hills Signature course. This includes no walking, jogging, walking dogs, fishing, bikes or golf carts. This is solely for the safety of our membership. During this time, course hours will also be adjusted to Flintrock Falls closing until Noon on Mondays and Live Oak and Yaupon alternating closure until Noon on Mondays.

As the scope of this project is outlined in more detail, we will continue to communicate what to expect as well as project updates on a consistent basis.