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Len Ziehm On Golf

Re-opened Glenview Park, Mount Prospect courses are better than ever

Here’s a good indication that golf in Chicago has withstood some tough economic times.

Two well-established park district courses that had undergone costly renovations re-opened on consecutive days last week. Glenview Park’s course renovation was a $5.3 million project and another $1.2 million was spent to upgrade the clubhouse. Construction on Mount Prospect’s course renovation was reported at $7.1 million.

Glenview Park’s course dates back to 1920, and the Glenview Park District has operated it since 1955. Mount Prospect’s layout also started as a private facility in 1926 and Mount Prospect Park District has operated the course since 1961.

The Arlington Heights Park District is also renovating its Arlington Lakes course – a $2.4 million project that is projected to be completed in July, 2016. That course was closed in June. So was Oak Meadows, owned by the DuPage County Forest Preserve District. This will likely turn out more costly than any of the others, as Aurora architect Greg Martin must deal with flooding issues in addition to renovating the course. He expects only four of the current holes to remain and 1,500 trees to come down before the project is completed in the spring of 2017.

As for Glenview Park and Mount Prospect, both were in need of upgrades. Libertyville architect Rick Jacobson supervised the Glenview project and St. Charles architect David Esler directed the work at Mount Prospect. Both courses were land-locked, so lengthening of either wasn’t possible.

Mount Prospect will look more different to returning golfers. Esler’s work included a re-design of the back nine — which now has five new holes — to create a much-expanded learning center. The old range had but six hitting stations. The new, double-ended range has 25 and there’s also a 15,000 square foot short-game area an 18-hole putting course that is spread over 17,000 square feet.

Glenview Park improved its clubhouse while the course renovation was in progress. Jacobson, who grew up within a mile of the course, created more movement in the fairways to improve storm-water management for both the course and the surrounding area. He also reconstructed the greens, tees and bunkers.

Both courses are instituting the cart-path-only policy for players wishing to ride during their rounds in an effort to facilitate the grow-in periods needed to complete the renovations. Both courses, however, are ideal for walkers.

Cut day at Western Am

The 156-man starting field for the 113th Western Amateur championship at Rich Harvest Farms, in Sugar Grove, will be cut drastically on Wednesday.

Only the low 44 and ties will continue in the grueling championship that concludes on Saturday. University of Texas junior Beau Hossler is the defending champion but he has a long road ahead if he’s to become the first repeat winner since Justin Leonard in 1992-93.

The Western Am requires 72 holes of match play followed by four matches before a champion is crowned. Stroke play ends with a 36-hole session on Thursday. The top 16 advance to the match play portion of the event, with two rounds of matches scheduled for Friday and the semifinals and final on Saturday. Admission and parking are free.

Here and there

The PGA Tour has given the John Deere Classic potentially difficult dates for 2016. The JDC will be played Aug. 8-14, opposite the Olympic Games in Brazil. Golf will be contested in the Olympics for the first time since 1904. The JDC has been played in July, the week before the British Open, in recent years.

Tim Streng, representing the Wildcat Golf Academy, was a five-shot winner in the Illinois PGA Assistants Championship on Monday at Royal Fox in St. Charles. He posted a 4-under-par 138 total over 36 holes to edge Andy Mickelson, of Mistwood in Romeoville, for the title.

Dave Ryan, of Taylorville, successfully defended his title in last week’s Chicago District Golf Assn. Senior Amateur at Merit Club in Libertyville. Ryan defended Lake Forest’s Craig Sopko 3 and 2 in the championship match.

The Illinois PGA Senior Championship is next Monday and Tuesday (AUG 10-11) at Whisper Creek, in Huntley.