September 18, 2022


news photo

The location being considered for a par-3 golf course in Sun City. Brigid Cooley photo

 

 

Sun City explores new par-3 golf course

Some residents concerned possible 9-hole course would replace natural space

By BRIGID COOLEY 

A new par-3 golf course may be on its way to Sun City. 

Information surrounding preliminary plans was shared by the Sun City Community Association on August 27 via a Special Golf Communicator email alert sent to subscribed community members. 

“Pulte, the developer, has informed Sun City Texas Community Association that they are willing to provide funds for a par three golf course within Sun City,” the email reads. “The preferred location is to be near an existing clubhouse and golf maintenance facility to utilize existing staff and equipment. CA staff are currently looking at locations within the community that will allow enough area for the additional course to be constructed.”

Sun City is a golf-course community for those aged 55 and older in the northwest corner of Georgetown. Originally developed as a Del Webb community, it is now owned and operated by Pulte. 

According to Jim Romine, executive director of the Sun City Community Association, discussions surrounding the course have been taking place since the beginning of the year.  

Once built, the 9-hole course will be the first of its size in the community, joining three existing 18-hole golf courses.

Since discussions began, the Community Association has been considering various criteria to determine the best location, Mr. Romine said. He said considerations include proximity to nearby homes, access to non-potable water, maintenance requirements and whether the land is adjacent to an existing golf course, which would mitigate the need for additional staffing or purchasing extra maintenance equipment. 

While an exact location has not been finalized, the association is eying roughly 9 acres of land located just southeast of Sun City Boulevard and Dove Hollow intersection and adjacent to White Wing Golf Course. 

The land is part of the White Wing Golf Course property, Mr. Romine told the Sun in a statement. If selected, approximately 5 acres would be turfed, while the other 4 acres would remain native, he said. 

Residents raise concerns 

For some Sun City residents — such as Martin Byhower — the addition of the golf course in the location being considered raises environmental concerns. 

Mr. Byhower moved to Sun City roughly seven years ago, enticed by the biodiversity found in the area. He guides nature and birding walks and is involved in local conservation groups and efforts. 

The addition of a par-3 golf course, and especially in the location near Dove Hollow that is being considered, concerns Mr. Byhower because he said he believes it will lead to many mature trees and native plants being cut down during the construction process. 

“If [the Community Association is] truly talking about the land at [the Sun City Boulevard and Dove Hollow] intersection, that is mature riparian tree-rich habitat with no room for golf unless they remove most or all of the trees,” Mr. Byhower told the Sun. “It is also at a crossing where cave swallows nest and [near] where Berry Creek crosses Sun City Boulevard, which is where one of the richest wildlife areas I know of in Central Texas exists.”

Mr. Byhower’s concerns are echoed by Catherine Morales, who lives along Hills of Texas Trail, roughly a mile south of the intersection being considered. 

“For any reason, cutting down mature trees to make room for a golf course makes absolutely no sense,” Ms. Morales said. 

Additionally, Ms. Morales said the Community Association did a poor job of informing nearby residents about plans being considered, noting the Special Golf Communicator was the first public notification she saw regarding the project. Not every resident is signed up to receive those email alerts, she said. 

Mr. Romine said the Community Association will keep trees in mind as they continue pursuing the specific location for the project, noting developers plan to “work within the existing trees” and plan to “maintain the existing feel of the property.” He also said there are funds available in the project proposal to replace trees.

These replacements are still viewed as a loss by Mr. Byhower, who said there is no real way to replace decades-old native trees. 

As the project progresses, Mr. Romine said the Community Associations aims to allow for resident input. 

“Once a suitable location has been determined, we will ask our committees for their support,” Mr. Romine said. “We will also host a town hall to share the plans and answer questions and will ultimately ask the Community Association Board for their approval.  All these meetings will be open and will allow for resident input.” 

The Community Association’s Board of Directors is made up of three representatives designated by Pulte and four representatives elected by residents, with Pulte representatives getting one whole vote during board decisions and resident elected members getting a half vote each. 

Mr. Romine suggests those interested in keeping up-to-date with project progress should watch for further communication from the Community Association and attend committee meetings to share their concerns.