The Tom Bendelow-designed course is being restored to its original look and strategy while being fitted with seven tee boxes to accommodate a wider range of golfers and support its “Golf Fore Life” development program.
Medinah (Ill.) Country Club will unveil its Course No. 2 early this summer, following a year-long restoration program. Host of four U.S. Open Championships, two PGA Championships and the Ryder Cup Matches during its 93-year history, Medinah CC has embraced its rich history with the redesign of Course No. 2, while also addressing the future of the game by tailoring seven tees on each hole to accommodate any skill level in the club’s golfing community and to support its “Golf Fore Life” development program.
Under the supervision of the club’s Director of Golf Course Operations, Curtis Tyrrell, CGCS, MG, most of the renovation has focused on green complexes and bunkers, relying on aerial photographs from 1938 to replicate their original sizes, shapes, and locations.
Working with golf course architect Rees Jones and his associate Steve Weisser, the primary focus for the leaders of the Course No. 2 project was to restore it, as applicable to the modern game, to the original Tom Bendelow design that debuted in 1925.
While there is no major routing change or notable manipulation of topography, the total area of fairways and approaches on Course No. 2 has increased by more than 50 percent, from 21 to 34 acres. Some of the widened corridors are now connecting on adjacent holes—a unique feature for the modern game, but not uncommon during golf architecture’s “Golden Age” nearly 100 years ago.
With the 80-year-old photographs as their ultimate guide, the restoration team removed some bunkers and bunker complexes, while others have been reintroduced. Green complexes are all being restored to feature Bendelow’s original contouring, again accentuating generally longer, deeper, taller and more pronounced putting surfaces.
Medinah Country Club’s restored Course No. 2 is to be officially christened in June, as the latest step in ongoing improvement of the club’s infrastructure. Medinah’s other two championship venues—Course No. 1 and Course No. 3, also originally designed by Bendelow—were previously modernized and updated significantly over the past decade, as the club has allocated a major investment to the modernization of its greens, tees, fairways, and bunkers, as well as enhancing draining and storage capabilities and the overall growing environment.
As part of those projects, greens on all three courses have been rebuilt to USGA specifications and equipped for sub-surface vacuuming and gas-exchange capability. Additionally, tees were rebuilt on a sand mix that allows for internal drainage, fairways were rototilled, graded, and reseeded, and bunkers were installed with subsurface draining, erosion liners. All bunker features now use the same sand, and greens, tees, and fairways were replanted with the same creeping bentgrass, while rough areas were planted with Kentucky bluegrass.