(ROMEOVILLE, IL) -- Mistwood Golf Club, one of the premier public golf facilities in Chicago, is undergoing a major renovation project, which will include substantial changes to the Ray Hearn designed golf course, the addition of a new learning center, and plans for a future clubhouse. The renovations are already underway and the course will re-open in May 2012.
Mistwood's owner, local Chicago businessman Jim McWethy, made the decision to completely revamp the facility, which was not an easy one during these trying economic times. McWethy opted to renovate what was already a well-respected course, add the new learning center and begin plans to build a new clubhouse in order to create a destination golf experience for golfers in Chicago and the Midwest.
"A big part of this renovation is due to my love of the game," McWethy admitted. "By expanding, we are running counter to the rest of the golf world.''
McWethy closed the course on August 22, to allow Michigan based architect Ray Hearn to begin the renovation, and he has had no regrets as work continues. His plans call for the 5,000 square-foot learning center to be under construction late this fall and to be ready when the course re-opens next May.
The remodeling of Mistwood is being done in three phases. The first phase is the golf course construction, which includes lengthening the course to over 7,000 yards and making improvements to every hole.
The second phase will be the construction of the learning center. The original clubhouse and cart barn will be torn down as soon as the learning center is completed. It will feature spacious indoor and outdoor hitting stations, a practice putting green, state of the art computer analysis and golf simulators. Initially though, it will double as Mistwood's clubhouse when play resumes until the new clubhouse opens.
The third phase is the construction of the 32,000-square-foot clubhouse, which they hope to start sometime in 2012.
"At first we thought we would do everything at once, but then realized it would make more sense to do it in phases to avoid any construction problems along the way,'' said McWethy. "Deciding when to start the clubhouse is difficult. We would like to break ground by fall 2012, but we have to get the course changes and learning center out of the way first."
The Mistwood Golf Club that Hearn originally designed, which opened in 1998, earned the respect from players of all levels, but he still believed the renovation was needed.
"As time goes on, the technology monster, with golf clubs and golf balls going further, every course should be analyzed and tweaked every 10 years or so, and Mistwood was no exception,'' Hearn said.
Hearn, based in Holland, Mich., has a portfolio that includes courses in Michigan, New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Idaho, Oklahoma and Kentucky. His design career has also expanded internationally in Russia, France, Croatia, Vietnam, Egypt, South Korea, Mexico, India and the Bahamas.
Besides Mistwood, another acclaimed Illinois golf course Hearn designed was Flossmoor Country Club. His renovation at historic Flossmoor Country Club was cited as the 2009 Renovation-of-the-Year by Golf Magazine.