MISTWOOD DIRECTOR OF GOLF ANDY MICKELSON welcomes all golfers to enjoy the Mistwood Golf Dome, there are still a few more weeks before the Mistwood Golf Club in Romeoville reopens for the summer. The dome is on Rt. 53 in Bolingbrook, you can reserve a hitting bay at or by calling (630)-739-7600.

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

Welcome to the Champions Course at Palm Aire Country Club.

PALM AIRE COUNTRY CLUB is located in Sarasota Florida, it is a 36-hole private club.

But it does have both year round and seasonal memberships available. So please contact the club if interested.

If your an Illinois resident looking to move to the west coast of Florida, part time or full time. Palm Aire is a club you should consider looking into, especially if you enjoy golf.

Because recently the club renovated it’s first golf course designed by Dick Wilson, the architect who designed Cog Hill #4 (Dubsdread) and several other well know famous golf courses. Including this years U.S. Senior Women’s Open course NCR-South.

Selected by the clubs board of directors to do the reimagining of the golf course was Lake in the Hills (IL) based architect Mike Benkusky (who recently renovated the Arlington Lakes Golf Club). Illinois Golf Hall of Fame 2019 inductee Len Ziehm golf writer for the Daily Herald, and part of the Golfers on Golf-Foursome, is a new member of the club. RS

Len Ziehm (L) and Rory Spears (R) both members of the Ziehm & Spears Podcast series visit the grill at Palm Aire Country Club in Sarasota Florida.

IT WAS 1957 when the Desoto Lakes Golf & Lodge opened for business, along with it’s new golf course the Champions Course.

But only three years later, the PGA Tour and it’s group of champions came to play the 1960 Desoto Open. Because that year the famed Sam Snead took home the trophy and the first place check.

But Desoto Lakes wasn’t just for the men. Because one year in 1961 the LPGA arrived, and it was Louise Suggs turn to take home a trophy and the winners check.

The welcome wall to the Palm Aire Lakes Course by Joe Lee.

By 1981 the club had a new name, Palm Aire Country Club and a new golf course-The Lakes Course that opened in 1982.

Designer Joe Lee a Wilson associate was picked to create the second 18 holes.

But Lee must have loved how the par-3, 17th hole turned out, because Lee played the course on opening day and made a hole-in-one on 17.

The relocated bunkers make a challenging approach in the Champions Course opening hole.

By 2020 the Champions Course was starting to show it’s age, so the clubs sub-committee approached the board of directors and proposed that it was time for a renovation.

So the board moved the proposal to the general membership. Who voted an over 70% approval, for a renovation of the course.

Liebold Construction and Irrigation who had done previous work with Palm Aire. Recommended Benkusky to the club as the renovation architect. The club interviewed Benkusky and a few other architects. Before deciding Benkusky was the right person to move forward with.

The 404 yard par-4 dogleg right sixth hole.

The main focus of the reimagining of the golf course. Was to restore and move the bunkers into place, to keep up with todays technology.

Tee boxes were redone and greens were restored to their original sizes. The course gained over 100 yards in length to 7,126 yards on the back tees.

Champions now has eight sets of tees, with the front tees measuring out at 4,466 yards.

The 397 yard par-4, 16th hole, requires a tee shot out to the right, to avoid water down the left side of the fairway.

“The club is looking forward to hosting a USGA Junior Girls qualifier this summer, “says Jay Seymour, Palm Aire’s head golf professional. ” In 2023 the club will host the North Florida’s PGA Section-Southwest Chapters Section Championship.”

A college golf invitational will be played at the club in the future.

Possible improvements on the Lakes Course are under review. As Palm Aire works through a list of proposed improvements to the facility.


CLICK HERE to hear the interview with Mike Benkusky on the reimagining of the Palm Aire’s Champions golf course.

But for more information on Palm Aire Country Club in Sarasota Florida, please visit the clubs website at

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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.