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Destination: Hillcrest: Project architect says course revamp should draw golfers

This will be the new tee box location for the No. 17 hole, an elevation raise of 40 feet from the current tee box location. Chris Olson / The Sun1 / 2
Submitted photo Travis Quisberg, right, reviews the plans for improvement to hole No. 4 with John Ruff, the pro shop manager, left, Doug Hogan, and Kevin Norby. 2 / 2

With the Jamestown Parks and Recreation Commission spending close to $500,000 to renovate the 18-hole Hillcrest Municipal Golf Course, Kevin Norby, the golf course architect hired by the commission to design and supervise the project, said the course will be good enough for Hillcrest to become a destination for golfers from around the state.

Doug Hogan, Jamestown Parks and Recreation Department director, said he is very pleased with the work that has taken place, and he can’t wait to see what it will look like next spring.

“The golfers I’ve talked to, they are excited,” he said. “They see all the work going on, and they can’t wait to play on it (the course).”

Norby said depending on the weather next spring, Jamestown could see more golfers coming from Fargo and Bismarck due to possible spring flooding.

“This is a great opportunity for people to come here and play a course that doesn’t flood,” he said.

Golfers have been able to continue to play while work on the improvements is ongoing.

Norby, owner of Herfort Norby Golf Course Architects Inc. of Chaska, Minn., said the improvements made to Hillcrest are part of a long-range master plan. Work on the first phase, which was redesigning all the bunkers, commonly known as sand traps, on the course, happened last fall. The general contractor for the construction work is Duininck Inc., Prinsburg, Minn.

“The bunkers were very difficult to maintain,” Norby said. “Many were not positioned in the right place and were really affecting the beginning and intermediate golfers.”

On the No. 8 hole, Norby showed where the existing bunker laid to the north side of the green and how large it was.

“We eliminated that bunker, and built three smaller ones on the south side of the green. Those bunkers are much easier to maintain,” he said.

The second phase of the master plan is rebuilding all the tee boxes, including relocating some, to make sure the boxes are even and big enough to support growing quality turf.

“We’re making sure the (tee) boxes are pointing golfers in the right direction,” he said. “The way the tees were positioned before, it (the course) was too hard for too many people.”

Elevation changes

The most dramatic changes will be to holes No. 17 and 18, according to Norby. The tee boxes for both holes lay at the bottom of two adjacent hills on the golf course. The tee boxes for both holes will be relocated to the top of those hills.

The No. 17 hole will have a series of six tee boxes, with the experienced golfers using the tee box at the top of the hill. The tee boxes will then go down the hill like a terrace. The No. 18 hole will have a similar tee box setup.

“The view from atop these hills is amazing,” Norby said. “You can see the interstate (Interstate 94) and into Jamestown; this view will bring people to the course.”

On the No. 17 hole, the elevation difference between where the tee box currently sits and where the tee box at the top of the hill will be is 40 feet. The change in elevation for the No. 18 hole is about 30 feet.

Rebuilding holes 9-11

Another challenge Norby faced in the master plan was eliminating storm-water runoff that sits in the fairways on holes No. 9, 10 and 11. Those holes are being completely rebuilt. The holes will be redesigned and rebuilt so the water that currently pools in the fairways on all three holes will run to the left side of the fairway on No. 11.

“It will improve the turf quality on those fairways,” he said.

Work on those holes will require shutting them down toward the end of September to complete construction.

Another challenge Norby and Travis Quisberg, project supervisor for Duininck, face in the project is the shortage of sod.

“It is so hard to find sod around Jamestown,” Norby said. “We’ve had to go to Fargo or Minneapolis (Minn.) to find sod, and I think the guy in Fargo is out.”

Norby said they have been reusing sod from the course where they can on different holes.

“We wouldn’t normally do that, but the sod on the course is drought resistant. We can’t find sod like that,” he said.

Work is expected to be completed in October.

Sun reporter Chris Olson can be reached at 701-952-8454 or by email at

Chris Olson

Hometown: Traverse City, MI College: Northwestern Michigan College and Michigan State University

(701) 952-8454