Golf: Mistwood redesign features St. Andrews-style stacked-sod traps
By Tommy Stokke For Sun-Times Media June 27, 2012 8:26PM
The 12th hole at Mistwood features three of the 19 sod wall bunkers added to the course in a recent $6 million renovation. | Supplied photo.
Updated: July 29, 2012 5:04PM
Now, golfers get to decide if the bigwigs at Mistwood Golf Club are as crazy as they seemed nearly a year ago.
Mistwood, located in Romeoville, reopened recently after a 10-month hiatus that saw the course undergo $6 million in renovations involving a redesign of the course, a new learning center, a larger parking lot and refurbished clubhouse.
“In this economy I think everybody thought we were a little crazy,” Director of Golf Dan Phillips said. “I don’t think another course was doing what we were doing. Most other courses were downsizing, and here we are spending millions of dollars to redo our golf course. I think a lot of people were confused, but our owner (Jim McWethy) had a vision.”
The construction was focused around architect Ray Hearn’s idea of 19 sod wall bunkers, straight out of the Old Course at St. Andrews. Made more imposing by layered sod walls altering attempts to exit the hazards, the bunkers provide a special experience of golf not found in America.
“They’re just so different. They’re gorgeous to look at,” Phillips said. “We’ve put in the industry’s best sand, so they’re a lot easier to get out of. It’s a chance to play golf in Scotland without having to buy the plane ticket.”
The bunkers aren’t the only part of the scenery that customers can enjoy. Water on Nos. 5 and 12, along with stone bridges on Nos. 3 and 9, enhance the views for both active golfers and those looking on from the restaurants.
The learning center, which is under construction, will feature 13 heated outdoor and two indoor hitting bays, a putting green and a concession area. Golf simulators are also being considered for the site.
“We’ve always believed that teaching is a huge part of a golf course,” Phillips said. “This gives people a chance to learn about and enjoy the game year-round in a facility that you can’t find anywhere else.”
In the midst of the redesign, the course was lengthened by over 400 yards from the back tees. The course will host this year’s Illinois Women’s Open and a 2013 stop on the American Junior Golf Association schedule.
Meanwhile, Phillips said, golfers who have been out so far are telling him “the 10-month wait was worth the wait.”
Joliet Catholic’s Brandon Newsome won the IJGA Sectional No. 6 tournament at Sanctuary Golf Course shooting a 74. ... Oscar Salaiz, of Joliet, had a hole-in-one on the 126-yard seventh hole at Inwood using an 8-iron, witnessed by Bradford Bounds and Kevin Dailey. ... Rollie Mudron, of Joliet, aced the 130-yard seventh hole using an 8-iron at Inwood with Robert Bailey looking on. ... Lee Capista, of Shorewood, aced the 145-yard seventh hole using a 7-iron while playing with Junior Ruiz, Marty Mudron and Mike Bandy.