A Makeover for Olympia Fields

Chicagoland's Olympia Fields Country Club has hired renowned course architect Keith Foster to execute a master plan for both of their North and South courses.

 The par 4 3rd on the North Course at Olympia Fields

The par 4 3rd on the North Course at Olympia Fields

Keith Foster is quickly becoming one of the most respected names in golf course architecture. He is currently working on renovating Congressional CC and has recently completed a number of stellar restorations. His recent work includes Philadelphia Cricket Club, Old White at The Greenbrier, Moraine CC, Baltimore CC, Eastward Ho! CC, Orchard Lake, and Apawamis Club. 

 The 7th at Moraine CC a recent Keith Foster restoration

The 7th at Moraine CC a recent Keith Foster restoration

Olympia Fields is a club with rich championship history. The North Course has hosted two U.S. Opens (1928 & 2003), two PGA Championships (1925 & 1961), the 2015 U.S. Amateur, the 1997 U.S. Senior Open, five Western Opens and the 2017 Women's PGA Championship. It also consistently ranks in the top 100 courses in America. Originally designed in 1919 by Willie Park Jr., the North Course at Olympia Fields has been lengthened multiple times while keeping the original strategic elements intact. The back tees are arguably the most difficult in the Chicagoland area and have provided plenty of championship moments. 

The South Course is the sister course to the North and the more playable of the two. Originally laid out by Tom Bendelow, the South Course saw an uninspiring renovation from Steve Smyers in 2006. The South Course sits on dramatic land and has the makings of what could be a great compliment to the brawny North Course.

Perhaps the most exciting part of this announcement is that Chicagoland golf will be back in the national spotlight. Chicago has become forgotten in the major championship conversation and with a Foster refresh, the North Course would distance itself from the local competition. 

Foster's restoration has spanned across a number of architects from Tillinghast to little known Alec Nipper Campbell. It will be fun to see what he can uncover from the under-appreciated Willie Park Jr, design. If his work at Olympia Fields rivals his recent track record, Chicago should find itself in the National Championship spotlight in the near future.

 

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