THE PREFECT PUTTING AID used by over 100 PGA Tour professionals, including the reigning Open Champion, visit Perfectputtingaid.com or see Chadjohansen.com. The U.S. Open makes a rare Midwest appearance in 2017, get tickets at USGA.org/tickets. _____________________________________________________________________
If your wondering about what to look forward to in 2017 on the local golf scene, well look no further than what’s happening in Addison, with the renovation of the course formerly known as Oak Meadows.
That’s right Oak Meadows is done, and when the property reopens there will be a new name, that name has still not been selected by the DuPage County Forest Preserve District.
Earlier this week BIG 3 partner Len Ziehm and I toured the renovation project with the Director of Golf Operations Ed Stevenson. Stevenson has spent countless hours since the fire in 2009 burned down the clubs clubhouse, and got him and the county thinking about how to totally restore the property.
On July 7th of last year the bulldozers started turning over the sod, and work was started on the area of Salt Creek, that has flooded the golf course and the surrounding properties on many occasions.
The 288 acre parcel of land will have a new direction come 2017, and I don’t just mean the golf holes and the way the water is flowing in Salt Creek.
The golf course will be new, an the walking or biking track around the property will be as well. The clubhouse will not be ready when the course opens somewhere between Memorial Day and the 4th of July, the exact date won’t be announced until it’s determined in the spring how harsh Mother Nature was to the newly planted grass over the cold winter months.
But according to Stevenson progress is being made on the clubhouse, DuPage did put out a request for applicants or in this case architects or their firms to apply for the job.
While the golf course had over 20 architects apply for that job, the clubhouse project had 19 applicants apply. That field has been narrowed down to a short list, and county is now moving forward in discussions with those finalists.
The hope is that the clubhouse will be open for use by 2019. The project much to the surprise of some, is that this restoration project is not all about golf. But it will show how golf can serve the needs of the community. Architect Greg Martin who is heading up the golf part of the project has said from Day 1, this is a project with a lot of moving parts. Martin was sure correct about that. When it’s all said and done, the project will run close to 16 million dollars. But only just over a third of that figure is for golf. The clubhouse will be rebuilt on the site of the old clubhouse, it will have a deck where golfers will be able to view the course or watch other golfers still out playing.
While a few of the holes will look like the old holes, there will be some new holes. Stevenson says in some ways, there are 18 new holes and he is correct.
But several of those holes will give the golfer the feeling of playing the old Oak Meadows or Elmhurst Country Club if you go back that far.
If you are looking forward to playing some of the holes that had a bunch of trees you will find them. If you are looking for a little more elbow room off the tee, you will find that as well. Yes some of those pesky trees are gone, and while Stevenson did not have an exact number that have been removed, environmentalists are thrilled with the kind of trees that have been removed, along with damaged trees and ash trees that have been infected with the Emerald Ash Borer disease.
All the work, has not just been on the golf course and the creek. The practice area’s have been enhanced, with a larger tee line, short game area’s and putting green. There will be a private lesson and practice area now on the back of the range, just to the right of the first green.
One hole that golfers did enjoy when it wasn’t under water, was the first island green in the country. The par 3, 16th hole. That hole had to be eliminated as part of the new routing, which has taken the 27 hole facility and turned it into just 18 holes, with the Maple Meadows East nine now incorporated into the new routing.
Stevenson says the new course will incorporate the properties history into the current design, Ben Hogan’s win in the 1941 Chicago Open will not be forgotten, and neither will the former 16th “island” green.
All of us as golfers can hardly wait for the finished product. As someone that has played most of the Chicago area’s public courses. I can say this new design will rank the course “formerly known as Oak Meadows” in the top few public courses in the area.
Stay clicked in for new developments as they happen on this new golf course and of course it’s new name. RS