Rolling Hills golf course makeover gets high marks

06/09/2014 10:55 AM

06/09/2014 10:55 AM

Rolling Hills Country Club’s golf course has had a much-needed makeover, adding about 300 yards to the original course, changing the direction and placement of the holes and flattening out the former turtle-back-shaped greens.

General Manager Dan Bidzius said the $1 million project, which had been planned for several years, was finished about eight month ago.

“The changes have been very impactful,” he said. “We wanted to keep the history and integrity of Rolling Hills but also make it more relevant to today’s golf market, which is very competitive.”

New native grasses and some areas that have naturally long grasses off the fairways allow the course to conserve water with its state-of-the-art irrigation system. The new course design has double the number of bunkers but takes less time to play.

Club President Brett Frazier said people can play the full 18 holes in about four hours.

“As times change, people are finding it harder to commit so much time to playing,” he said. “The new course is quicker and more fun. People are getting their kids involved. Youth is the future of this industry.”

Golf pro Vince Pellman said the new course “fits into the land” a lot better than it used to.

“The holes are straighter,” he said, “and look like they’ve been here a long time even though they’re new.”

Bidzius said the new course has brought increased golf memberships.

It has been a hit with longtime members as well.

Phil Dyson, one of the club’s best golfers — his handicap is 1 — said the course is harder than it used to be.

“It’s more challenging, and that’s fun to me,” he said. “The bunkering is awesome, and I like the greens better. It’s a drastic change, but now I get to utilize my whole bag [of clubs]. I get to use my irons.”

The new course has attracted statewide attention, too. The club will host the Texas Women’s State Open this summer and is planning a partnership with the University of Texas at Arlington’s golf team.

Bidzius said the course renovation wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the club members.

“The membership was forward-enough-thinking that the new course needed to become a relevant golf product in the market,” he said. “The course has characteristics the PGA of America is striving to promote: more fun, shorter and quicker golf.”

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