Will Butler National Golf Club in Oak Brook finally allow female members in an effort to lure a more golf championship? The club has considered opening its doors to women previously, but has never ratified the idea with its membership.
According to recent report in the Chicago Tribune, the Butler National Golf Club is conducting a study that will analyze how many women would be invited for membership and the facilities it would need to build. The club is also talking USGA and PGA of America officials regarding whether the club can be a future site for events such as the US Open, PGA Championship and Ryder Cup.
Butler National hosted the Western Open from 1974 to 1990. The course was built in 1972 by renowned golf course architect George Fazio on what was previously York Country Club.
Only about 24 of the 4,500 private golf clubs in the United States don’t allow women to become members. The Chicago area is home to four of them: Butler National Golf Club, Bob O’Link Golf Club in Highland Park, Old Elm Club in Highland Park and Black Sheep Golf Club in Sugar Grove.
According to industry experts, a major tournament like the US Open could be worth up to $5 million to Butler National Golf Club. However, the next eight US Opens have already been awarded. That means the next available US Open is not until 2020.
The last Chicago golf course to host the US Open was Olympia Fields Country Club in 2003. Medinah Country Club hosted the 2006 PGA Championship and will host the 2012 Ryder Cup this September. The enduring question for Chicago golf fans might be, if not Butler National, what other Chicago Golf Course will host our next major PGA championship?
Olympia Fields received lukewarm reviews after 2003. Medinah hosted two recent PGA Championships – 1999 and 2006. However, with this year’s Ryder Cup, Medinah is most likely not a prime candidate for awhile.
Kemper Lakes in Long Grove hosted the 1989 PGA Championship, but it hasn’t been mentioned often in recent major discussions. Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove is a spectacular track, but seems to be tied to the LPGA and its upcoming Olympic-style event. Harborside International has hosted a Senior PGA event and could be a potential candidate as well as future 2013 BMW Championship host course Conway Farms. What other Chicago golf courses do you think could host a major championship?