PUBLISHED IN CHICAGO DISTRICT GOLFER
So, what’s Medinah No. 3 going to look like a year from now?
According to Michael Cocking, director for the Ogilvie, Cocking Meade Golf design team, it’ll be a lot different than it has been for all the big events that have been played there over the years.
“Medinah has such an interesting history, and we’re fortunate to have some wonderful old aerials, photos and plans available,’’ said Cocking. “With many prominent architects having been involved over the past 100 years we found ourselves finding many elements we were keen to restore, other areas we wanted to retain and perhaps just tweak a little and then there were some which we felt required a more significant change.’’
The latter come at the end of the course, specifically the last six holes. The current Nos. 13 and 17 – both par-3s over water — will be gone and five or six holes ranging between 60 and 100 yards and a big putting green will take over some of the old course’s land along the club’s entrance road.
Here’s how Cocking envisions the last six holes looking once the renovation is completed.
No. 13 – It’ll still be a par-3, but the tee shot won’t be across the water of Lake Kadijah. The hole will play along the water’s edge and be converted to a shorter version of what it was. The lake edge will be reshaped so water will provide a backdrop to the green and also protect its right side.
No. 14 – Half of the current hole will go. The tee will move up to where the fairway had started and the current green will be replaced by one further back. The hole will no longer feature a carry over water from the tee.
No. 15 – The old version, designed by Rees Jones, will disappear and No. 15 will now be a somewhat altered version of the old No. 16. That was a famous hole historically after Sergio Garcia hit an approach to the green off a tree root – with his eyes close to boot – in the 1999 PGA Championship in an effort catch eventual champion Tiger Woods.
No. 16 – Cocking says this hole will represent “the most dramatic change to the course.’’ He calls the new version a “Cape style’’ par-4 that will start from what had been the tee for the old par-3 seventeenth. Lake Kadijah will create a diagonal hazard all the way to the green. “It’ll be spectacular,’’ said Cocking.
No. 17 – The proposed new hole replaces both the present Nos. 13 and 17 as a short hole played over Lake Kadijah. Cocking says the new one will “far exceed the drama’’ produced at those two old holes. He said the hole could play as long as 225 yards but suggested a length of 150 or 160 would be better.
No. 18 – The new version not only opens space for construction of the short course and big putting green, it also provides an opportunity to restore an element of the original design, created by Tom Bendelow in the 1920s. The fairway to the 18th green will run beside the No. 1 fairway again with the hole measuring about 500 yards. Cocking says it’ll still be a par-4 for tournament professionals but a par-5 for everyone else. That means that the course will remain a par-71 for the big tournaments but a par-72 otherwise.