Clubhouse at Medinah

The History of Medinah Country Club

Designer: Tom Bendelow
Re-design: Rees Jones, 2002
Year Built: 1925
Classification: Private
Greens: Bent Grass
Fairways: Bent Grass

Medinah Country Club was the brainchild of A.A. Mueller. In the early 1920's, he and his fellow Shriners were looking for a site to serve as their country retreat. They wanted land with character, rolling terrain and if at all possible, bountiful trees and an ample water supply. They found their ideal location in the western suburbs of Chicago for their 1,500 Shriner members.

The 640 acres that is now Medinah Country Club was purchased from Henry and James Lawrence and the Rosenwinkel families. The four founders who purchased the land were, Charles H. Canode, who would be the first Club president, Theodore R. Heman, Vice President, William S. Barbee, Secretary, and Frederick N. Peck, Treasurer.

The initial planning stages had Medinah being built on a grand scale. The amenities included two 18-hole courses for men, a nine-hole course for women, tennis courts, a stylish gatehouse, a baseball field, a gun club, a ski jump and toboggan slide. Bridal paths, a 250-year-old windmill imported from the Netherlands, a mammoth swimming pool, a service station, a grandiose 11,000-seat sports arena and amphitheater complex were also included. Finally, if that wasn't enough, a polo field was added. All of this was to revolve around the largest and most notable clubhouse in the world.

Today, while the polo field and toboggan run are long gone, Medinah still has three wonderful golf courses, four outdoor tennis courts, a skeet and trap facility and two swimming pools. Its trademark 106,000-square-foot, Byzantine-styled clubhouse dedicated in 1924 is still one of the most recognized sites in golf.

The championship Course No. 3, designed by Tom Bendelow, was carved out of an oak tree forest with rolling terrains. It opened in September, 1928. Course No. 3 is no stranger to major championships, or competitive golf; it has hosted three Western Opens (1939, 1962, 1966), three U.S. Opens, (1949, 1975, 1990) one U.S. Senior Open, (1988) and one PGA Championship, (1999). Medinah will again host the PGA Championship from Aug. 14-20, 2006. Then the eyes of the golf world will return to Medinah in 2012 when it plays host to the Ryder Cup matches.

After the 1999 PGA Championship, there was evidence the Course No. 3 needed to be refreshed. Renowned golf course architect Rees Jones was selected to do the modifications in 2002. From the championship tees, the course now plays at 7,508 yards with a rating of 78.1. One of the most significant changes to the golf course was the relocation of the 17th green back to Lake Kadajih's bank. Other changes included rebuilding six greens, re-grassing all the greens to a newer strand of bent grass, rebuilding 66 existing course bunkers, adding six new bunkers and installing a state-of-the-art irrigation system.

Other recent championship venues have drawn comparisons to Course No. 3 by the media and touring pros alike. They reference Course No. 3's challenge and its magnificent beauty. Medinah's grandeur of its clubhouse and oak trees provides the distinctiveness that is the Course No. 3 experience. Medinah is very proud of its charm and heritage and looks forward to hosting the world's best golfers in August 2006 and September 2012.

Greater Woodfield Convention and Visitors Bureau Dupage Convention and Visitors Bureau Illinois PGA Section

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