Jacobson Chosen To Renovate Kemper Lakes GC

Kemper Lakes Golf Club has selected internationally prominent golf course architect Rick Jacobson to renovate the prestigious18-hole northwest suburban Chicago layout, site of the 1989 PGA Championship and other significant pro and amateur tournaments.

The club charged Jacobson Golf Course Design, Inc. to develop a Master Plan aimed at preserving the stature and overall aesthetic appeal of the 32-year-old championship track, located in Kildeer, Ill. in Lake County 40 miles north of downtown Chicago.

"Kemper Lakes is pleased to announce that Rick Jacobson and his team will be working on behalf of our members to make long term improvements to a number of very important aspects of the golf course," said Kemper Lakes general manager Janet Dobson. "Our first priority for the course will be to renovate the bunkers, but obviously we want that done within the context of a Master Plan. In undertaking this renovation our goal is to achieve long-term management and operational efficiencies without sacrificing the strength and character of the existing design. We want to continue to provide a wonderful golf experience for our members while preserving a tour quality golf course. Based on his strong and extensive track record, we think Rick is just the person to lead that effort."

Jacobson, who began his career with Jack Nicklaus and who still collaborates on design projects with the Golden Bear, said he is especially proud to be working on such a prominent golf course in his own "backyard."

"We are extremely excited and tremendously proud to be working on a project aimed at revitalizing one of the best-known championship golf courses in the Chicago area," said Jacobson, who has been based in Libertyville since founding his company in 1991. "In its relatively brief history, Kemper Lakes has hosted a major championship, a number of PGA Tour events as well as prominent national amateur, state and regional events."

The bunker project will contain changes that will be obvious to every day golfers - such as the renovation and re-positioning of bunkers - but many of the contemplated improvements likely will not be noticed by golfers. The project will look to achieve improvements in subsurface course and bunker drainage to enhance playability as well as to improve consistency of sand in the bunkers.

Founded in 1979 as a high-profile, upscale public course, the 7,217-yard Kemper Lakes hosted the 1989 PGA Championship, where the late Payne Stewart won his first major championship. Golf legends and former U.S. Open champions Hale Irwin and Tom Kite later won the Senior PGA TOUR's Ameritech Senior Open at Kemper Lakes in 1998-99 and 2000, respectively. The course also hosted some of the game's top players of the 1990s - including the great Greg Norman - for the PGA of America's Grand Slam of Golf.

In 2003, the course was purchased by a local team led by developer Stephen Jouzapaitis and Crown Golf Properties and converted to a private club over a four-year period.

Kemper Lakes originally was designed by Chicago area golf course architects Dick Nugent and his partner, the late Ken Killian.

Now celebrating his 20th year in business, Jacobson has long been a prolific and highly respected renovator of golf courses, including such classics as North Shore CC in Glenview, Ill. - site of the 2011 Western Amateur championship - Bob O' Link GC in Highland Park, Ill.; Oak Park CC in River Grove, Ill.; Des Moines G&CC, in West Des Moines, Ia., in preparation for the 1999 U.S. Senior Open; Cantigny Golf in Wheaton, Ill., in preparation for the U.S. Public Links; and Sunset Ridge CC in Northfield, Ill., Golf Inc. Magazine Renovation of the Year for 2006.

Jacobson also has designed a number of highly-praised courses across the United States - the most recent Bowes Creek CC in Elgin, Ill. - and in recent years has become one of the more prolific American golf course architects working in China.

Whether original designs or course renovations, Jacobson's designs have been universally praised for their aesthetic quality, their ability to challenge elite players yet remain fun for players of varying skill levels, and for leaving ownership with economically viable products that golfers enjoy and want to play on a repeat basis.

Prior to starting his own firm, Jacobson worked for several years with Florida-based Jack Nicklaus Golf Services. Jacobson was involved in some of the Golden Bear's best-known courses, including PGA West-Private & Resort in LaQuinta, California; The Club at Nevillewood outside Pittsburgh; Wynstone near Chicago; English Turn in New Orleans, former home of the PGA TOUR's annual New Orleans event; Desert Mountain-Renegade Course in Scottsdale, Arizona, and others.

A native of Glenview, Illinois, Jacobson received his degree in Landscape Architecture from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has served on the board of governors for the American Society of Golf Course Architects and is a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects. For more information visit www.jacobsongolfcoursedesign.com.


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