MISTWOOD GOLF-A YEAR ROUND GOLF OPERATION. Inside or outside Mistwood gives the Chicago area some place to play all year round. Practice, Lessons, or Club Fitting are available all year round. McWethy’s Tavern and McWethy’s Sportsbar, are open all year round. So visit Mistwoodgolfdome.com or call the dome for the winter golf season at (630)-739-7600. The dome is on Rt. 53 in Bolingbrook, open daily to 10 PM

THE GOG BLOG by RORY SPEARS, Director of Content and Creation for Golfers on Golf. You can follow Rory on Twitter @GogBlogGuy or connect on LinkedIn/Facebook.

This is the next chapter of the Medinah Course #3 Renovation, a story first reported by Tim Cronin at Illinoisgolfer.net and Golfersongolf.com, and the social media channels for both outlets.

Recently the Medinah Country Club members voted to approve a major renovation to it’s famed and historic championship course #3. The Australian golf design firm of OCM was awarded the bid. O=2006 U.S. Open Champion Geoff Ogilvy, C=Michael Cocking and M=Ashley Mead.

OCM design architect Michael Cocking.

AFTER AN EXCHANGE of messages on Twitter, OCM design architect Michael Cocking offered Golfers on Golf an opportunity to submit questions regarding the renovation.

The renovation which is one of, it not the most significant renovation in the Chicago area in years, has left many wondering how this project is going to play out.

With the 2026 Presidents Cup now 4 years away, Cocking supplied Golfers on Golf with the vision the OCM team has for Medinah #3. GOG-thanks Michael Cocking for the time, the input, and a look into Team OCM’s crystal ball for the Medinah #3 project. RS

Welcome to OCM Golf (logo).

GOG-Take us through the back-nine changes, it appears that’s where the heavy lifting is being done. Is it true there will be three new holes.

COCKING: Medinah has such an interesting history and we’re fortunate to have some wonderful old aerials, photo’s and plans available. With many prominent architects having been involved over the past 100 years we found ourselves finding many elements we were keen to restore, other area’s we wanted to retain and just tweak a little and then there were some which we felt required a more significant change. Perhaps the most significant changes can be found in the last six holes as this involves somewhat of a re-routing, however within this change there are elements we are restoring such as the original playing corridor of the 18th hole.

COURSE #3 is fortunate to be built around such a wonderful natural feature in Lake Kadijah. Along with the beautiful old Oaks and undulating ground it helps create a unique look and feel to the golf course. But it struck us that the Lake doesn’t really come into play for the better golfer. Nor does it offer much interest as a strategic hazard, like so many of the great holes that play around water do. In fact the water really just affects the average golfer, with forced carries on 2, 13, 14, 17.

ON TOP of that there were a couple of elements to the design of the last six that we felt could be improved. Firstly the 13th and 17th are both very similar holes playing alongside each other, both over water and in the same direction. We also thought there was a chance to create a world class short par four and to be honest that was one of the areas where the idea of re-routing started.

Every time we looked at the 17th our eyes were drawn along the bank tot he right of the green and over towards the 14th tees which set the lake edge on a diagonal which reminded us a little of a Cape style short par 4. Then the more we looked at the last six, the more we felt there was a chance to create an even more memorable and dramatic finish to the golf course. Aside from the quality of the holes, one of the things we also liked was how much action would take place around the lake for the final few holes, and with the area shaped like a natural amphitheatre, it could make for a pretty stunning conclusion to a tournament.

COCKING THEN ADDED some thoughts on the final six holes of Course #3.

13-The first twelve holes more or less stay within their current alignments so the start of the big change comes with the 13th. Instead of playing across the water the new hole plays along the water’s edge as a par three. The lake edge will be reshaped so water provides the backdrop to the green and protects the right side. Typically this hole will play into a prevailing breeze.

14-The first half of the 14th sees a return to an earlier version of the hole when it played as a short par four from a tee just forward of the current start of the fairway. But rather than playing to the current green, we suggest the moves back and just in front of the beautiful stand of Oak trees currently left of the current 15th fairway. The proposed new 14th hole would no longer feature the water carry from the tee; however the new 18th hole replaces this concept and will play as a par 5 from all but the tournament tees. This ensures that the existing par is retained at 72 for the silver, white and green courses, and a par 71 for the tournament layout.

15. The proposed 15th is actually the existing 16th. But with the removal of the short par four (existing 15th) it allows us to position the tee on a much better line. It also allows us to stretch the hole to pretty much any length.

2006 U.S. Open Champion Geoff Ogilvy is the ” O” in OCM.

16. The most dramatic change to the course comes at the 16th hole. A ‘Cape’ style par 4, playing from the current 17th tee to the 14th tees with Lake Kadijah making a spectacular diagonal hazard all the way to the green.

17. The proposed 17th hole replaces the existing 13th and 17th holes as the par 3 that plays across Lake Kadijah on the back nine. This could be a spectacular “one-shotter”, far exceeding the drama of the current 13th or 17th holes due to the brilliant green site. The hole can play anywhere from 120 yards to 225 yards, but our preference is that it plays as a mid-length hole of around 150 or 160 yards.

18. The final hole presents an opportunity to restore some elements of the original design. Long-standing members may well remember that before the mid 1980’s when the 17th hole was built, the course finished by playing up the strip of ground adjacent to the first hole. With our suggested 17th green returning to the same hill as the 12th green site it aligns perfectly to restore the original tee shot, albeit from the other side of the water.

At around 500 yards, the hole will become a very stronger par four the tournament professionals, but for the member, it will play as a par 5 to replace the loss of the current 14th hole and ensure the course retains its par of 72. Like the 16th and 17th holes, a tee should be built on the far side of the lake so short hitters aren’t forced to carry the water.

GOG: ARE THERE ANY THOUGHTS on moving tees on the par 3 second hole. Plus are there any other parts of the front nine that could see major changes.

COCKING: I guess the 2nd really needs to be looked at in conjunction with the other par 3’s. One of our criticism’s of the short holes is that 3 of them felt very similar with 2, 13, and 17 all playing pretty much straight over the water. We looked at a few different options for the 2nd. But with the changes to the last six holes we felt retaining the basic concept made sense. However, like so many of the current holes playing across the water, they prove to be really difficult for the average golfer but not hard for the tournament professional. To make it a little more friendly for the average member we have suggested filling a little of the water short and right as well as building a shorter tee just behind the 1st green, which helps shorten the carry over water.

The change to the edge of the water also sets the bank on more of a diagonal, with the longest carry on the left and the shortest on the right. Diagonal water carries are almost always more interesting that when directly across the line of play as you have to judge both line and length which we think will make for a much more interesting looking approach.

The Medinah Country Club clubhouse.

At the tee end we have more or less retained the existing locations but have added a tournament tee further back along the edge of the water. We will likely build a few tees here so the markers can be moved around depending on pin position, wind competition and how the other par 3’s are set up on that particular day.

Other major changes on the front concern the 5th, 6th and 10th holes. Where we are looking to reintroduce the concept as of a boundary to allow significant screening (particularly on the 6th and 10th). So you can no longer see the fence, roads or powerlines. A new post and rail style fence will run down the left of these holes and help strategic interest in place of just bunkers.

GOG: TELL US MORE about the short course and new big putting green.

COCKING: With the relocation of the 18th hole, there is a terrific opportunity to use the space previously occupied by the fairway to create a short course. With around 5 or 6 acres to play with, there is enough space to build 5 or 6 holes of between 60 and 100 yards along with a very large undulating putting course.

This could be come a fantastic place for kids and families to get introduced to the game; provide a place to play a loop or tow close to the clubhouse; and, offer an additional practice facility to practice a range of shots up to 100 yards. No doubt it will become a popular area to settle bets relax with a few holes at the end of the day.

One of the wonderful features of the drive-in is the view across the course through to the clubhouse. We didn’t want to lose that feel and so this plan ensures there is still golf played along the entry in. Plus the view through the clubhouse stays pretty much the same as the new 18th green sits really close to its existing location-just played from a different direction.

GOG: THIS WAS AMAZING WORK by your your team to land the project, considering travel restrictions from Covid. Do you think getting this project is a boost for your firm in the USA going forward.

COCKING: The project-it certainly had it’s logistical challenges. But we were absolutely thrilled to have been appointed. Even more so now that we have the support of the membership and can plan in more detail to commence the work. Without a doubt this is a huge boost for our firm and we’re excited to get started next fall (November of 2022) to see our plans start to take shape on the ground.

Golfers on Golf will continue to follow the Medinah renovation project as it advances forward in the months ahead.

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About Rory Spears

Rory spent over 8 years growing up working at Rob Roy Golf Club in Prospect Hts.IL, then two years at Chevy Chase in Wheeling. He has covered golf in Chicago since 1986. Rory was one of the initial members of WSCR all-sports radio Chicago and covered golf there for 5 seasons, before moving on to work for ESPN/Sportsticker and ESPN Radio. In addition to hosting Golfers on Golf Radio on WCPT AM820 Chicago, he writes for both the Chicago District (CDGA) Magazine, and formerly Chicagoland Golf. Rory has played over 525 courses in 39 states, and rates golf courses. He does golf course management and communications consulting, within the golf industry.