The city-owned 18-hole course, which opened in 1990 at 99 Twin Ridge Parkway, Round Rock, came under new management in 2017 when the city hired KemperSports Inc. The golf course management company made changes throughout the year but the biggest change for Forest Creek under KemperSports—a $5.1 million renovation—kicked off in December 2017. The project was funded by city savings and once complete will allow the golf course operations to be financially self-sufficient, according to city of Round Rock CFO Susan Morgan.
“It’s almost like opening a brand new course,” General Manager Jeff Dayton said. “It’s the same basic layout but we tweaked it here and there. We’ve added some bunkers, taken away some bunkers, and made it more playable.”
The course’s greens were reconstructed and now feature Tif-eagle Bermuda grass, a heat-resistant grass that rolls well and is one of the best grasses for greens, Dayton said. Crews also planted a native buffalo grass to act as a border around the course. Dayton said that when fully mature the long, wispy grass will provide a nice contrast to the greens.
“It may take [the grass] a year or so to really mature but the bones—the most important features of the course–will be way nicer than they ever were,” Dayton said.
Crews also thinned out the trees surrounding the course, allowing for improved playability.
“Over the years the course had become overgrown and the wooded areas were really dense. If you missed the fairway and got into the woods, you had a hard time finding your ball and definitely couldn’t play your ball if you did find it,” Dayton said. “We thinned out the trees and brush and raised the canopies, so now when you miss the fairway you have a chance of finding and playing your ball.”
The renovation included the installation of a new irrigation system and water features. The course’s nine bridges also got an overhaul with the reconstruction of seven bridges and repairs on the remaining two.
“One of the most exciting parts of the renovation is the driving range,” Dayton said.
The driving range now features renovated teeing grounds, 50-foot netting surrounding the range, new target areas and LED lights, which Dayton said will allow the range to stay open past dark.
“It has given us the flexibility to turn this facility into something a little bit different than most golf courses,” Dayton said. “It’s going to be a social hub for the community.”
The lights are designed to minimize glare, which combined with the treeline, will lessen the effects at night for area residents.
“It will be really exciting to see this course a year from now, but I’m just glad to get to this point because it’s been a long 8 1/2 to nine months,” Dayton said. “We’re all excited, everybody is.”