There’s nothing better than a plan coming together – and quickly, for that matter. Arlington Lakes Golf Club, a municipal course that sits on 90 acres in the Chicago suburb of Arlington Heights, Ill., had not been renovated since its opening in 1979.
That changed in October 2014, when principal course architect Mike Benkusky was chosen to move forward with an innovative master plan for the 5,432-yard, par-68 course that was once the site of a U.S. Navy Nike missile base. The Arlington Heights Park District’s board of commissioners gave Benkusky the go-ahead in January 2015, and on June 7 of that same year, the project commenced.
“Everything happened so quickly,” said Tim Govern, golf operations manager. “We all sat there at that meeting, looking at each other saying, ‘Did that just happen?’”
Benkusky, whose work includes renovations of courses originally designed by Donald Ross and Perry Maxwell, among others, reversed the nines at Arlington Lakes while reshaping and regrassing the greens. He also installed new teeing grounds to add course-setup flexibility.
While reversing the nines, Benkusky configured three-hole routings on Arlington Lakes’ front nine that all lead back to the clubhouse. This setup allows golfers to play the course as a three-, six- or nine-hole loop, giving players more time flexibility.
“There were no particularly huge challenges; it was kind of already there,” Benkusky said of the reversal and renovation. “It was just never thought of. I wanted to do something new to attract junior players and families. It was something that was architecturally due.”
The complexion of the course also changed. More than 70 diseased or overgrown trees were removed and 63 new trees were planted. The renovation also decreased the number of bunkers from 106 to 37, helping to save on maintenance costs.