The earth literally shakes as the new owner of Shaker Hills Country Club blows up the 18th hole (Photo: Shaker Hills CC)

Harvard, Mass. — The track formerly known as Shaker Hills Golf Club will welcome golfers back to its fairways and greens later this month as Shaker Hills Country Club. While the name change may be minor, new owner Tim Curtis has already begun extensive alterations to the 21-year-old Brian Silva-designed facility he purchased at foreclosure auction in April.

“We’re still waiting on final details but we expect to reopen on September 28,” general manager Tim Valas told us on Thursday.

The club will have to wait until next year to attain its food and liquor licenses and unveil its new clubhouse. But the course, which continues to undergo some dramatic renovations, is ready for play.

“We’ll be open for as long as Mother Nature lets us,” said Valas, who invited golfers to check out the architectural designs for the clubhouse makeover.

In addition to plans for adding a roof deck over a covered patio and updating the bar and dining areas, Curtis has already revamped the course’s irrigation system, repaved the cart paths, added new sand and drainage to most of the bunkers, and literally blew up the 18th hole.

“We changed the par-4 18th into a par-5 that finishes at the clubhouse,” Valas said.

To provide proper sight lines and afford golfers a view of the green and clubhouse from the fairway, workers removed 12 feet of ledge and metric tons of earth by the truckload. With the grass still taking root on the new fairway, the old 18th green will be in use for the remainder of the season. By 2013, the original 18th will become a practice 19th hole.

Another change Shaker Hills regulars will notice is a redesigned eighth hole with an increased landing area, thanks to a pond that workers filled in with soil. Curtis relocated the driving range some 80 yards up from its original spot and lowered and expanded the tee boxes near the clubhouse as well.

With nearby courses like Red Tail Golf Club and Butter Brook GC in full swing for several years, Curtis faces significant competition for golfers’ limited recreational dollars. Valas believes attractive semi-private membership rates and discounted daily-fee greens prices ($60 per round for the rest of 2012 after the club reopens) will beckon new and returning players to Shaker.

“As people come out and play and word of the improvements we’ve made get around,” Valas said, “we’ll fare well against any of our fellow golf courses.”

Check this space for opening-day details as they become available.


Emily Kay is a regular contributor to New England Golf Monthly. You may follow Kay on Twitter @golfexaminer