Cantigny starts a renovation just as Dubsdread re-opens

Bunkers on Dubsdread’s fifth hole sparkle after a long renovation project at Cog Hill.

It may have been coincidental, but two of the Chicago area’s most prominent public golf facilities made announcements on the same day last week that will have a big impact on the area’s golf community.

At Cantigny, in Wheaton, it was the ground-breaking  for an extraordinary three-year redo. At Cog Hill, in Lemont, it was the resumption  of play at what has been the area’s most consistent tournament site.

Cantigny first.

Park Ridge-based course architect Todd Quitno  just began a three-year project to upgrade the 35-year old 27-hole facility that has been particularly notable for its commitment to growing the game through its Youth Links layout.  It won’t be touched in the renovation and – because Cantigny is blessed with 27 holes – its regulars will always have an 18-hole layout available.

Hillside, the shortest of Cantigny’s three nines, will undergo its renovation this year with Woodside and Lakeside combining on the 18-hole scorecard.  Woodside gets its upgrades in 2025 and Lakeside in 2026. Cantigny has hosted five Illinois State Amateurs, but the next scheduled one will be pushed back two years, to 2026.

Quito has taken on major projects at other Chicago area facilities, the Bridges of Poplar Creen, Schaumburg, Chevy Chase and Tam O’Shanter perhaps the most notable. Cantigny was designed by Roger Packard and Andy North with Wadsworth handling the construction process. Wadsworth will also be working with Quitno.

Architect Todd Quitno outlines his plans for a renovation during ground-breaking at Cantigny.

“(Quitno and colleagues) won’t do anything crazy,’’ said Cantigny general manager Terry Hanley.  “We will have a timeless golf course.’’

“Cantigny has been committed to delivering an exceptional golf experience while growing the game,’’ said Steve Skinner, chief executive officer of KemperSports, which manages the facility.  “The renovation reiterates that commitment to maintaining Cantigny as one of the best courses in the Chicago area and the country.’’

At Cog Hill’s 72-hole complex the famed Dubsdread course is back in play.  The Jemsek family closed it early last season and has opened it about two months late this year to allow for its first renovation since 2008.  That one was done by world renowned architect Rees Jones with  associate Greg Muirhead overseeing the project.  Muirhead directed this one.

Dubsdread opened in 1964 and was the site of the 1997 U.S. Amateur and two U.S. Public Links Championships.  The Western Open was played there from 1991 to 2006 and Dubs was also the site of four BMW Championships after the Western Golf Association opted to conduct a FedEx Cup Playoff event that was moved around the country.

A goal of the latest renovation was to make Dubsdread “more player friendly for the daily golfer.’’ That was done through the rebuilding of 89 bunkers, the shifting of fairway bunkers throughout the course and the addition of chipping areas on four holes.

HERE AND THERE:  The John Deere Classic, Illinois’ only annual PGA Tour event, has announced the entries of Patrick Cantlay and Jason Day – two PGA Tour mainstays who have rarely been in attendance at the JDC in the past.  This year’s version is July 4-7 at TPC Deere Run in Silvis.

Andy Svoboda, the new head pro at Butler National in Oak Brook, earned a place in the upcoming U.S. Open with a third-place finish in a final qualifier in Summit, N.J.  Two University of Illinois products also advanced to the Open proper at Pinehurst.  Jackson Buchanan, a member of the current Illini team, was co-medalist in Alpharetta, Ga., and alum Brian Campbell tied for second at Durham, N.C.

The Western Golf Association holds the first of its six championships next week.  The Women’s Western Junior, first played in 1920, begins its five-day run at Hinsdale Golf Club and the boys version – the Western Junior – is the following week at another Hinsdale club, Ruth Lake.

Illinois PGA seniors defeated the Chicago District team 3-2 in the 34th annual Thompson Cup matches last week at Chicago’s Ridge Country Club.  The 22nd CDGA Senior Amateur ends its four-day run tomorrow  at Kishwaukee in DeKalb.

The Illinois PGA resumes tournament play with its Assistants Championship on Monday at Mauh-Nah-Tee-See, in Rockford.