A project to convert the course at Oak Meadows Golf Course in Addison, Illinois, to 18 holes and simultaneously lower the risk of flooding is nearing completion.
Architect Greg Martin has worked with Art Schaupeter and Forrest Richardson on the project, which sees the creation of a new 7,100-yard course on the site of the 18-hole Oak Meadows course and the adjacent nine-hole East Course at Maple Meadows Golf Club.
While keeping portions of the original routing, Martin has also added a range of new holes as part of the project.
GCA caught up with the architect to discuss how the project has progressed.
“Everything has been seeded on the golf course, but some of the naturalised areas have yet to be seeded and planted,” Martin explained. “Those areas will be completed next year and will require monitoring for another five years after acceptance. Right now the course is ready for a good spring growing season.”
By turning the course into an 18-hole layout, the site is now better placed to manage more storm water – something naturally of huge benefit to a club that has faced issues in this area historically.
When beginning the project, Martin commented that he was aiming to ‘develop a golf course that will respect the landscape’. “This property has a variety of typical characteristics for north-eastern Illinois – creeks, woodlands, wetlands, floodplain, prairie, meadow – all surrounded by very dense suburbanisation,” he explained. “The most visible element is the volatile Salt Creek, which runs for more than a mile through the property, from and to surrounding suburban communities. Historically, the western portion of the property was void of trees, due to the windswept prairie fires that stopped at Salt Creek. This natural firebreak allowed the eastern portion of the property to establish a pristine oak and hickory woodland.”
Martin said: “Over time, the west portion was overplanted with non-native trees and the turf along Salt Creek was over-managed, leading to channelisation and severe erosion. Additionally, there was a natural flood overflow route that crossed many holes that need to be respected during heavy rain events.”
Martin explained that he and the project team attempted to recognise these unique factors and route the golf course ‘so that nature could function more beneficially and sustainably, while exposing these rich resources in a thoughtful and meaningful way’.
“Essentially, we wanted to build a landscape that would be in keeping with the Forest Preserve District goals – with better stormwater management, expanded wetlands, better water quality, expanded habitat and an improved Index for Biotic Integrity,” he said. “And then thoughtfully place a golf course within that landscape.”
Martin added that the flood resistance efforts have progressed excellently. “The rain events we have witnessed so far have indicated a positive result for both the golf course and the naturalised areas,” he said.
All golf construction is now complete, and the course is expected to open in mid-2017.