Lohmann to Revamp Wheeling’s Chevy Chase

Lohmann Golf Designs (LGD) has been retained to refurbish Chevy Chase Golf Course in Wheeling, a suburb northwest of Chicago. Ground will be broken on the project in fall 2001.

The Wheeling Park District, which operates the facility, hired the Marengo, Illinois-based LGD to address chronic flooding and drainage issues on and around Chevy Chase, a Tom Bendelow-designed layout built in 1925. The course itself will also receive a substantial facelift.

”We (LGD and the Wheeling Park District) developed three different plans that included three different levels of change to the golf course,” said Bob Lohmann, founder and principal of LGD. “This allowed the park district the opportunity to assess its full range of options. The course renovation process shouldn’t be dictatorial, whereby a design firm TELLS a client what improvements a layout should undergo. It should be a consultative process.”

“In the case of Chevy Chase,” added LGD project architect Todd Quitno, “there was the ‘Big Kahuna’ plan which involved redoing all the greens, all the bunkers and rerouting some golf holes to alleviate safety concerns. The other two schematics were smaller in scope, downsizing the amount of greens and bunkers; but they address the same issues, especially drainage.”

Quitno explained that the Park District eventually chose a middle ground, incorporating aspects of the ‘Big Kahuna’ with its non-negotiable needs for improved drainage. As it exists today, Chevy Chase is pretty flat and lacks “the bells and whistles” Chicago-area golfers have come to expect from their public golf courses, said Quitno. This is another reason why LGD’s more involved option recommended extensive green and bunker work.

”But the unavoidable issue here is the flooding problem,” Quitno continued. “There’s a creek which runs through the golf course. It’s a tributary to the Des Plaines River and it floods all the time. We plan to control the flooding on the course by developing some retention ponds which will also alleviate flood problems in surrounding neighborhoods.

”This creek also runs across several golf holes; it’s extremely penal. So by replacing this continuous line of creek with some ponds, we can make certain holes less penal and develop more retention capability.”

While work in Wheeling will begin in the fall, all of 2002 has been set aside to complete the project.

Lohmann Golf Designs and its sister construction division, Golf Creations, have lent their expertise to Midwest. Indeed, Bob Lohmann – a past president of the American Society of Golf Course Architects (ASGCA) – recently moderated a Chicago session of Remodeling University, a roving ASGCA-sponsored seminar aimed at assisting golf facilities considering` renovation options.

LGD is responsible for more than 30 original golf course designs, including The Merit Club in Gurnee, Illinois, site of the 2000 U.S. Women’s Open, and an 18-hole estate golf club now under construction in Marshall, Illinois. LGD’s first East Coast design – Mattaponi Springs Golf Club at Penola Station in Ruther Glen, Virginia – will open next year.