Daniel Burnham, noted architect and urban designer with strong ties to the city of Chicago, famously stated “Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood.” And his plans for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago were indeed not little, as Burnham oversaw some 20,000 workers and a construction budget of over $20 million.
Fast forward 130 years to Wheaton, IL, and the same theory can be applied to the master enhancement plan and multi-year golf course renovation proposal at Cantigny Golf.
As if the award winning 27-hole championship golf course, a separate Youth Links complex (the 9-hole golf course for junior players), and a stunning indoor / outdoor practice area weren’t already enough to stir men’s blood, Cantigny Golf has just announced enhancement plans to reinvigorate the course, highlight the beautiful natural setting, and elevate the golf experience for all levels of players for decades to come. Additionally, adding an expanded putting green that will double as a practice area for players of all ages and levels and a new halfway house for expanded event capabilities are part of the enhancement plans.
Building upon a 34-year legacy of championship golf surrounded by natural beauty, enhancement renovation is set to begin in June 2024 on the Hillside nine, followed by the Woodside and Lakeside nines in succeeding years, with all renovations projected to finish by summer 2027. For the duration of the process, Cantigny Golf will maintain 18 holes open for play. In addition, Youth Links, the 9-hole golf course for junior players, will remain open throughout construction.
Originally designed by Roger Packard, Cantigny Golf opened in 1989 and was named ‘Best Public Golf Course in America’ by Golf Digest. While the facility was updated in 2003, the upcoming renovations mark the first significant upgrade to the property and its infrastructure since opening and will consist of rebuilding and re-grassing all greens complexes and tee boxes, redesigning and renovating bunkers and certain fairways to improve playability, and replacing irrigation systems for increased sustainability and water conservation.
Nationally recognized golf course architect Todd Quitno of Quitno Golf Designs is leading the renovation. With more than two decades of experience, Quitno has been involved in more than 150 renovation projects ranging from small upgrades on a single hole to full 27-hole overhauls. KemperSports, which has managed Cantigny Golf since 2014, will oversee the redevelopment project.
The time-table is as follows:
- June 2024: Phase One construction begins on Hillside nine, halfway house, and putting lawn
- June 2025: Hillside nine reopens; Phase Two construction on Woodside nine begins
- June 2026: Woodside nine reopens; Phase Three construction on Lakeside nine begins
- June 2027: Lakeside nine reopens
Timothy P. Knight, president and CEO of the Robert R. McCormick Foundation stated “Working with Todd Quitno and KemperSports, we are confident that this renovation will preserve the hallmark features of each 9-hole layout while enhancing them to better serve our golf community and grow the game for years to come.”
The golf course renovation will be funded through a grant from the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.