Tuesday, July 31, 2012

We were tickled to learn the other day that our work at The Bridges of Poplar Creek Country Club had earned 2012 Renovation of the Year honors from GolfInc. magazine. See the story here. Hats off to our clients at Hoffman Estates Park District and our colleagues at The Bruce Company of Wisconsin, who surely share equally in the gratification department.

Lohmann Golf Designs has been working with our clients in Hoffman Estates, mainly in a bunker-renovation capacity, since 1995 (so long ago, the course was then known simply as Poplar Creek GC). The course isn’t that old, opened in 1976. But it was built in a floodplain and just got soggier the more the adjacent neighborhood and commercial development expanded. When you build on and/or pave all that surrounding real estate, the water has to go somewhere. Unfortunately, much of this runoff found its way onto the golf course.

The linked story above does a good job outlining how we solved the flooding issues by expanding water-retention capability — while simultaneously improving the course (especially its risk-reward elements, thanks to all that new pond acreage). Truth is, we at LGD have experienced considerable, first-hand success both eliminating flood issues by expanding water-retention in ecologically proactive fashion — at Deerpath Golf Course in Lake Forest, IL, in 2003, for example — and better the golf experience, a the same time. In fact, the last time one of our projects earned Renovation of the Year honors, in 2005, it was The Traditions at Chevy Chase in Wheeling, Ill., where our work was again occasioned by chronic flooding issues.

It’s hard to fathom during a dry, hot summer like this one, but water-storage issues aren’t just a practical invitation to renovate. It’s more evidence that golf courses are ideally suited to perform critical municipal, communitaria functions like mitigating neighborhood flooding issues. I’d trade all our Renovation of the Year awards if conservation commissions across the country better recognized that.