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Chicagoland golfers are anxiously awaiting one of America’s best public golf courses unveiling this month, as Cog Hill’s award-winning Dubsdread prepares to reopen. The golf course, which was closed for the entire 2008 season for a $5 million dollar renovation is scheduled to open May 15.
“We believe the golfers will be very happy with the changes we have made to Dubsdread,” said Frank Jemsek, CEO of Cog Hill Golf & Country Club. “The routing remains the same but every hole has undergone renovation from tee to green to restore the original design integrity and overall character inherent in the work of the original architects. Dubsdread remains a pleasant challenge for the average golfer, but will offer more strategic shot-making options and risk-reward challenges for the tour professional.”
Rees Jones was selected for the comprehensive renovation project, the first since it opened in 1964. The extensive work on the
par-72, 7,600 yard, Dick Wilson and Joe
Lee design, included reconstructing all 18
greens and tee complexes, reshaping of
the fairways, adding a pond on No. 7,
significant tree management and the
repositioning and sculpting of 98 bunkers.
One of the biggest investments of the
project is actually undetectable to the
naked eye. A state-of-the-art aeration and
moisture removal system called SubAir
was installed underneath all 18 greens.
This underground system promotes
healthier and stronger playing surfaces
through moisture management,
subsurface aeration and root zone
temperature control. It has some famous
clients as Augusta National Golf Club and
Pebble Beach Golf Links use the same SubAir system that is now at Dubsdread. “SubAir is like a vacuum system that hooks to subsurface drainage under greens so when we get heavy rains, we can accelerate the drainage process by sucking water out,” said Ken Lapp, superintendent of Cog Hill Golf & Country Club. “We can also change that system to cool greens during hot dry spells by blowing air into the root zones. This system will allow Dubsdread to have consistent, faster, tournament condition greens throughout the season.”
Along with the greens, every bunker has been completely reshaped and reconstructed to improve visual definition, enhance sight lines and create a more classic design style. Several of the original bunkers were relocated to stay in line with the modern game, restoring the original strategic design intent. Greenside bunkers were repositioned and tucked closer to the greens to more effectively protect designated cupping areas within each putting surface. Although most bunkers were also deepened, their unique grass “fingers” and “noses” continue to provide golfers with walkouts.
The tee complex of each hole were also completely reshaped and reconstructed. Each hole has multiple, square tee pads, strategically placed at varied yardages and angles of play to improve alignment and overall playability.
“This is a great piece of golf property and Dick Wilson did a wonderful job with the original design,” said Rees Jones. “Many of the greens have been made a lot smaller because the green complexes are more important today than in past. The ball goes so far now. Back when Dick Wilson designed this course and like my father, Robert Trent Jones, they always built big greens because on long holes you would hit woods into them, now you hit midirons. So the green complexes have to be smaller. We still will have the Dick Wilson tongues and little small areas of greens. But the golfer will have to make choices, go for the fat of the green or go for the Dick Wilson tongue. That will depend on where you hit your tee shot, and the penalty will be greater if you go for the small part of the green and miss it. There will be all kinds of choices so this will be a course of continuing interest."
Dubsdread hosted the PGA Tour’s Western Open from 1991-2006 and the BMW Championship in 2007. After a one-year hiatus, due to the renovation project, 70 of the world’s best golfers will return Sept 7–13, for the 2009 BMW Championship. The tournament is the third in the four-event FedExCup series. “We are very excited to have the tour back at Dubsdread and are looking forward to seeing how the players like the course,” Jemsek said.
Dubsdread will officially open to the public on May 15. Green fees for the 2009 season are $150, which include golf, cart and range balls. For information visit