Mistwood Golf Club to Reopen June 15

The reopening of Mistwood Golf Club in Romeoville, Ill., will take place June 15. Although some of Mistwood's 80 members have had an early chance to play some of the new holes, everyone will now play the revitalized course.

Mistwood's renovation includes the addition of stacked, sod-wall bunkers. A trademark hazard for courses in Scotland and Ireland, these bunkers are not something seen in traditional American golf. Golf course architect Ray Hearn incorporated 19 such traps into his renovation, which began last August when owner Jim McWethy closed the course.

"I couldn't be happier with how everything has come together on this project and believe we now have one of the top and most unique golf experiences in the Chicago area," said McWethy. "The work that Ray did incorporating the sod bunkers and the improvements he made to each hole are spectacular.

While he made numerous changes throughout the course, Hearn admits that the new bunkers will draw the most attention. "Nothing comes close to the glory of these stacked sod-wall bunkers,'' he said. "All golfers should experience a round of golf and the fun challenge that these bunkers provide. There is nothing like this at any other Chicago course."

Each of the new bunkers was built in layers of sod, the grass of one connecting with the turf of the next. The result is a look seen at British Open venues like St. Andrews, Troon, Muirfield, and Royal St. Georges.

The sod bunkers are not the only new attraction. McWethy has begun building a new learning center, which will open later this summer. The structure measures over 6,000 square feet and will have 13 heated hitting bays in which players will hit from under a roof to the outside and two more bays inside. There will also be an indoor putting green and snack bar.

Mistwood's renovation involved improving each of its 18 holes. The most noticeable change is the reworking of the par-5 third, where the green was relocated and a creek that used to be in front of the green is now behind it and expanded into a pond. It also features a stacked sod-wall bunker that enters play on second shots.

Also added were stone embankments and bridges on No. 3 and No. 9. The new stone work will provide some visuals for both golfers and restaurant guests.

Hearn substantially improved playability and lengthened the course. The old version measured 6,701 yards, while the new one is 7,028 from the tournament tees. The Slope increased from 140 to 144 and the rating from 73.0 to 74.7 when Chicago District Golf Associations officials made their visit to the new layout.

Though the course will be in full operation on Friday of U.S. Open week work at the learning center will be evident over the next few months. Also, construction will be ongoing in the parking lot, and a stoplight is being installed at the intersection of Renwick and Gaylord roads.

For more information about Mistwood Golf Club, visit www.mistwoodgolf.net or call 815/254-3333.