Changes are coming to a Kitchener golf course that borders Highway 401, aimed at preventing a hazard for both golfers and motorists.

The first and eighth holes at Doon Valley Golf Course run parallel to Highway 401, and golfers have hit balls onto the highway in the past.

Chris Black is one of them.

“That round was a little rough, we’ll say that,” says Black, adding that while he was worried, his wayward golf ball did not cause a problem.

“Everyone’s okay. There was no horns or brakes so we’re good.”

“The odd time a ball has travelled into the 401, it doesn’t happen often annually, but it has occurred,” says Bob Cheyne, the manager for sport development and golf with the City of Kitchener and Kitchener Golf.

That section of Highway 401 is currently being widened, bringing it even closer to the course. It led to the decision to make changes to holes one and eight.

In both cases, the centre line of the fairway will be moved and the green relocated further away from the highway.

The pars and distances of the holes will not change.

“What we’re trying to do is maintain the playability of the greens, so they’ll be the same push-up style of greens that the rest of the classic nine has, trying to use the same turf mix, so hopefully as it grows in and the holes develop, they will have the same playability and feel for the golfers so they won’t see really much change at all,” says Cheyne.

New trees will also be added, to boost the barrier between the course and the highway.

Holes one and eight are currently closed to play, with construction set to start in the next couple of weeks.

“Construction should last about four weeks and the goal is that we’ll have enough time to grow in over the course of the fall and that we’ll be open ready to go by the spring next year,” says Cheyne.

In the meantime, seven holes remain operational on the classic course, with green fees reduced by 25%.

The cost of the construction project is just under half a million dollars. Kitchener City Council approved the project in June, citing the need to get the work done this season.