Medinah CC to stretch a major record 7,561 yards

Medinah Country Club has undergone a number of changes, which will make it the longest course in major championship history. (Photo: Getty Images)
Medinah Country Club has undergone a number of changes, which will make it the longest course in major championship history. (Photo: Getty Images)

After a recent renovation by Rees Jones, the famed No. 3 Course will present a new challenge to the elite field in August. news services

MEDINAH, Ill. -- The famed No. 3 Course at Medinah Country Club will play to a length of 7,561 yards this summer, when it hosts the 88th PGA Championship, tournament officials have announced. That is a new record length for a major championship course.

Currently, the longest layout ever played in a major was at the Straits Course at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin for the 2004 PGA Championship. That course measured 7,536 yards. The third-longest was Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia, which played to a length of 7,445 yards for the 2006 Masters last week.

The 1999 PGA Championship at Medinah played at7,401 yards, making it the fifth-longest major course. The fourth-longest also was for a PGA Championship, at the 7,436-yard Columbine Country Club in Colorado.

"I think the players will notice a different golf course from 1999 when they come here," said prominent golf course architect Rees Jones, who performed a significant renovation at Medinah in 2002. "When players return here, they're going to really see a different golf course, a golf course that really has more definition."

Jones' restoration featured the removal of 300 trees, which allowed for more of the original Tom Bendelow design to be in play, and eliminated blind shots on the first and eighth holes. Additionally, the tee at No. 17 was moved back, the green positioned closer to a pond; and the 18th green was elevated to require a more precise approach shot.

"We have classic old-style sculptured bunkers, which are like A.W. Tillinghast or [Alister] Mackenzie bunkers," said Jones. "So it has much more character. The bunkers are deeper, the green contours and sizes of the seven greens that we did are complimentary to the greens that were originally here. I'm very pleased with the results."

Jones' efforts were intended to both return Medinah to classic, sculpted bunkers and also add contouring of seven greens to fit the original architect's intent, as well as to ensure that the No. 3 Course remains one of the premier championship venues in golf.

"We are very excited about returning to such a great golf course at Medinah," said PGA of America Managing Director of Tournaments Kerry Haigh. "For 80 years, the course has provided some of the most exciting major Championship experiences. With the changes that have been made, we feel that Medinah is ready to challenge the world's strongest field in golf, not only for this year's Championship, but also for the next 80 years of major Championship golf."

Among the significant changes that players will find on the No. 3 Course at the 88th PGA Championship:

--Hole No. 1: Lengthened by 46 yards; lowered the sharp ridge at the landing area; rebuilt the green, including greenside bunkers; and added a collection area to the left rear of the green.

--Hole No. 2: Tees have been enlarged and leveled; a new green is shifted to the left, bringing the lake even more into play; and a large bunker is installed behind the green.

--Hole No. 3: A redesigned tee complex, three bunkers built on the right side of the landing area; and a cross bunker and ridge have been removed.

--Hole No. 4: Lengthened by 16 yards, with greenside bunkers redesigned and shifted closer to the green.

--Hole No. 5: A single bunker at the first landing area has been replaced by a series of three bunkers, extending to a rebuilt cross bunker guarding the second landing area.

--Hole No. 6: Rebuilt the tee; lengthened the hole by 24 yards; rebuilt bunkers; and added a ramp to the approach alongside and beyond the right greenside bunker.

--Hole No. 7: Fairway and greenside bunkers have been redesigned and repositioned.

--Hole No. 8: Tee has been enlarged and elevated; the ridge in the fairway lowered; and greenside bunkers redesigned and reshaped.

--Hole No. 11: A new tee has been added, which makes the hole play 25 yards longer.

--Hole No. 13: A new green complex; a tee that may extend the hole by 25 yards; and three greenside bunkers have been modified.

--Hole No. 15: A reshaped and rebuilt green that also features a chipping area at the back right.

--Hole No. 16: A fairway bunker on the far side of the landing area has been removed; and the green is redesigned, with a less severe slope leading to the green.

--Hole No. 17: A new back tee coupled with a green complex that will be located adjacent to the lake. The terrain beyond the hole is being restored to its original slope, in order to create an amphitheater and a great viewing area.

--Hole No. 18: The left-side fairway bunker will be replaced with a grass pocket and a complex of bunkers added to the right side for the landing area. The fairway has been regarded; the green has been elevated above two large greenside bunkers; and a chipping area is added beyond and right of the green.

The PGA Championship will be the fifth major to be contested at Medinah, following the 1999 PGA Championship and three U.S. Open Championships (1949, 1975, 1990). Medinah also was the site of the 1988 U.S. Senior Open and three Western Opens.

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