The Arlington Lakes course in the northern suburbs of Chicago will close in June to start a major renovation project under the supervision of locally-based architect Michael Benkusky.
Benkusky told GCA that the project would involve regrassing all 18 holes, of which nine were scheduled for a total reconstruction. The US$ 2.4 million project is expected to last a year, with a projected reopening date of 1 July 2016.
“Arlington Lakes is a 5,400yd executive course that plays to par 68,” said Benkusky. “I have proposed moving up some of the tees to create a shorter course and incorporate junior tees for beginners. When presenting this to the District I explained that many new golfers begin and take 5-6 shots to get to the green, 2-3 shots from there to get on the green, and another 2-3 putts to get in the hole. After two holes of this they become frustrated and quit for the day only to never come back. By creating shorter tees these golfers can now get to the green in 2-3 shots like most golfers and get more enjoyment.”
Benkusky’s plan calls for the course routing to be reversed. “The current back nine has holes 12, 15, and 18 return to the clubhouse. When I interviewed for the job I mentioned that they should reverse the routing, which will allow golfers to play the course in three, six, nine or 18 hole rounds,” he said. “The current course has 106 sand bunkers. Most of the greens are completely surrounded in sand – not practical for the clientele they are looking to attract. The new plan reduces this number to 38, which will keep the course enjoyable yet playable for all golfers.
“We are reversing the routing on holes 7-9, meaning holes will now play from green back to tee on these holes. This fixes some potential safety concerns with having holes that run parallel to each other run in the same direction and eliminates some bad circulation patterns around the clubhouse.”