Medinah will restore – not renovate – this Bendelow course

Len Ziehm on GolfBy Len Ziehm

For reasons that have long escaped me, Tom Bendelow is still not in the World Golf Hall of Fame. He was the course architect that, perhaps more than any other, got golf started in the United States.

That’s especially evident in the Chicago area. Bendelow’s name has been on about 800 courses that were built from, roughly, 1895 to 1930. Most that have survived have been radically altered, among them Medinah’s famous No. 3 course that has hosted three U.S. Opens, two PGA Championships and the 2012 Ryder Cup matches.

Superintendent Curtis Tyrrell is tackling another big project at Medinah.

Superintendent Curtis Tyrrell is tackling another big project at Medinah.

Bendelow was the original designer of all three courses on the Medinah property in the 1920s. The No. 1 layout was renovated last year by Michigan architect Tom Doak. More extensive work has been done on No. 3 over the years to prepare that layout for its big tournaments, and Rees Jones was the latest architect to do the work there. Continue reading

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Public golfers can experience a Donald Ross creation at Ravisloe

Len Ziehm on GolfBy Len Ziehm

I guess you can learn something every day. I thought I knew a bit about Donald Ross, the famed golf designer, but I didn’t realize he had designed only one public course in Illinois. That course is Ravisloe in Homewood, which went public when Claude Gendreau purchased the club in 2009.

Cheryl Justak, publisher of Golf Now! Chicago, and I had played Ravisloe during its 107 years as a private club (my lone round there was about 20 years ago). We were duly impressed by our long-planned return visit this week. The course was in great shape, the rough was so thick it was frequently difficult to find your ball and the greens and bunkers were both challenging and fun. The clubhouse was nice, too. All in all, a good experience. Continue reading

Is This Really Illinois? Eagle Ridge Soars in Scenic Galena

By Jim Zuccarelli

Eagle Ridge 4th Hole - South Course

Eagle Ridge 4th Hole – South Course

The drive west on Route 20 offers occasional glimpses of the increasingly majestic views as the topography gradually changes from farmland flat to the rolling hills of the Galena Territory in the northwest corner of Illinois. Upon arriving at the vast Eagle Ridge resort property, the thick woods, rock outcroppings and steep elevation changes made me wonder if I had somehow took a wrong turn and left Illinois, as what I found is unlike 99.9% of the state I’ve called home my entire life. Continue reading

Here and there: French Lick dominates in hosting senior majors

Len Ziehm on GolfBy Len Ziehm

Dave Harner, director of golf at the French Lick Resort in southern Indiana, looked for a big event to spotlight the stunning Pete Dye Course when it opened for play in 2009.

He ended up establishing the premier event for the LPGA’s Legends Tour – the only 54-hole event on the circuit for women professionals 45 and over. The first Legends Championship was played in 2013 on the Dye-designed layout built on one of the highest points in the Hoosier state.

That event quickly became something special, as the Legends Hall of Fame opened the same week as the tournament in the historically-rich West Baden Springs Hotel nearby. And that wasn’t all.

Continue reading

Here and there: PGA happy with Harbor Shores’ changes

Len Ziehm on GolfBy Len Ziehm

Golf courses generally get toughened up before they are used for a major professional tournament. That wasn’t the case at Harbor Shores, the Jack Nicklaus design in Benton Harbor, Mich., however.

Harbor Shores has already hosted the Senior PGA Championship twice and has already been awarded that plum for 2016 and 2018. It’ll play differently for the future events.

Bob McFeeter, managing director for the course, unveiled changes to six greens (Nos. 1. 2 and 6 on the front nine and Nos. 12, 14 and 16 on the back). Two fairways, at the sixth and 14th holes, also underwent some tweaking and beach sand at the No. 7 hole was replaced with regular bunker sand. Continue reading