Medinah to Spend $3 Million-plus on Renovations

The members of Medinah Country Club in Illinois have approved a capital project that involves upgrades of their No. 3 course in preparation for hosting the 2012 Ryder Cup.

By a margin of more than 4-1, Medinah's membership voted June 13 to spend upwards of $3 million on a multi-faceted renovation that would see the club's famed No. 3 Course close August 15 and re-open next June.

"What this overwhelming vote means is that we now will be able to bring our crown jewel up to the world class level where we want it to be," said club president John Potts. "It will be ready for the 2012 Ryder Cup for the whole world to see. The membership is happy."

The projects include:

* Reconstruction of the 11 remaining original soil-based push-up greens on the club's No. 3 course, site of five major championships. These surfaces and the Putting Clock in front of the clubhouse will be replaced by sand-based, USGA-spec greens. The greens to be replaced are on holes 3-12 and 14. A select number of these greens also will be re-contoured. The seven other greens on No. 3 were rebuilt to USGA standards during a 2003 course renovation directed by noted golf course architect Rees Jones. Jones also will oversee this phase of improvements.

* Re-grassing all 18 greens and the Putting Clock with bentgrass.

* Re-grassing all 18 fairways and intermediate rough areas to eliminate poa annua and other types of undesirable grasses.

* A cart path and "hardscape" improvement program aimed at upgrading their aesthetics and functionality as well as upgrades to the halfway house and the areas surrounding the No. 6 green and No. 7 and 10 tees.

* Renovation and expansion of the golf course maintenance facility.

Club leaders determined this was the membership's last opportunity to undertake the projects prior to the 2012 Ryder Cup. Moreover, the club is in good financial shape, has a full membership and a waiting list.

The vote is just the latest in a series of improvements made since the arrival of general manager Dan Miles in 2007 and, shortly thereafter, golf course superintendent Curtis Tyrrell, who oversees all three layouts.

The club has built a new 12-acre state-of-the-art short game practice area adjacent to its newly configured and improved driving range. Last fall, Medinah replaced the tan-colored sand in all 74 bunkers on No. 3 with white Tour Signature sand.

Medinah Country Club is the Chicago area's most frequent major championship venue. Course No. 3 has hosted three U.S. Opens (1949, '75, and '90), two PGA Championships (1999, 2006), three Western Opens (1946, '62, and '66), and other prestigious events in the pre-PGA Tour era. Players who've won at Medinah include such historic figures as Harry "Lighthorse" Cooper, Gene Sarazen, Byron Nelson, Billy Casper, Gary Player, Hale Irwin, and Tiger Woods.

Founded in the 1920s by a group of Shriners, Medinah features three golf courses, all originally designed by Scotsman Tom Bendelow. The 120,000-square-foot clubhouse designed by Richard Schmid is an architectural blend of styles including Byzantine, Oriental, and Louis XIV.