Medinah CC in Chicago has opened its new-look Course One after a 21 month renovation project led by architect Tom Doak and his Renaissance Golf Design team. Doak spoke to members and lit a celebratory cannon at the ceremony, which marked the end of a project that began immediately after the 2012 Ryder Cup, which was held on Medinah’s No. 3 course.
“Tom Doakʼs innovative renovation of Course One and this ceremonial reopening signals the beginning of a new era in the history of Medinah,” said club president Matt Lydon. “Medinahʼs stature as the host of the worldʼs most prestigious championships is now elevated by the addition of a new and different style Course One. Together, along with our No. 2 course, Medinah offers its members a variety of golf experiences unparalleled in the Chicago area.”
Initiated as a way to address persistent flooding issues, Doakʼs Course One renovation plan required him to triple the size of a pond on the fifteenth hole, remove 770 trees to open up of the middle of the course, and change the sequence of several holes.
“Ultimately, itʼs not just a change in the sequence of the holes, but the fact that we had to start going diagonally between some of the old hole corridors and knock down trees in the middle, thatʼs the biggest change on the golf course,” Doak said. “Now, when you get out in the middle of the course, itʼs very open as opposed to very narrow and north and south and tree lined.
“With the renovation of Course One, members are going to have three distinctly different golf courses members and their guests can play,” said greens chairman Bruce DʼAngelo, who oversaw the project. “They will be able to choose from a traditional tree-lined parkland-style Rees Jones-renovated championship course in No. 3; Tom Bendelowʼs No. 2 course, which has never been renovated since it came on line in the late 1920s, and the new Course One.”
Medinah golf course superintendent Curtis Tyrrell said the renovation solved the course’s infrastructure issues, and provided a new course that looks and feels different from the club's other courses and from the one it replaced. Though 12 of the 18 holes still are located in the original routing footprint, the character of all 18 holes is new. “Twelve holes may stayed in the same footprint, but theyʼre brand new,” he said.
A new generation of creeping bent has been planted on tees, greens and fairways. Meanwhile, the rough areas are a mixture of bluegrass (in sunny areas) and fescue (in the shade). “The different type of grasses in the rough areas will give Course One a more mottled look and a very natural feel,” Tyrrell said.