Chicago’s Merit Club hires Quitno and Crace for renovation plan

  • Merit Club hires Quitno and Crace for renovation plan
    Nathan Crace

    Merit Club hosted the US Women’s Open in 2000

Toby Ingleton
By Toby Ingleton

Merit Club in the northern suburbs of Chicago has appointed Todd Quitno and Nathan Crace to prepare a renovation masterplan for its course, which opened in 1992 and hosted the US Women’s Open in 2000.

“It’s a great layout,” said Quitno, highlighting the “especially great job with the routing” done by original architect Bob Lohmann, who Quitno worked with until establishing his own practice in 2022. “Like so many other courses that are now 20-30 years old, we’re seeing clients wanting to investigate options to renovate bunkers, add tees and evaluate green surfaces.”

Crace added: “Merit Club has great bones and a wonderful routing on a tremendous piece of land. We want to maximise the potential that already exists. What Todd and I have discussed with the club is more akin to a facelift than full reconstructive surgery.”

The architects’ master planning work will focus on how bunkers, tees and greens can be improved for today’s golfers. They will also develop a tree management strategy, investigate irrigation needs and upgrades, look at possible options to expand green surrounds, and realign some hole angles that have changed because of distance advances.

“We look forward to Todd and Nathan getting started,” says director of golf Don Pieper, who has been at Merit Club since the club first opened. “We met with them twice and were impressed with their professionalism and understanding of what we’re looking to do. They have some great ideas and an eye for detail that really impressed me.”

No timeline has been set for construction work. “We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves,” explains Quitno. “To the club’s credit, they’ve asked us to take the necessary time and do our due diligence in ensuring that the best interests of the club and its members remain the top priority.