After three years of planning, design, permitting and approvals, the Forest Preserve District of Du Page County in Illinois is poised to begin construction on the full redevelopment of Oak Meadows Golf Preserve in Addison, Illinois, led by the design work of ASGCA Vice President Greg Martin and Martin Design.

This ambitious project will create a superb golf experience while simultaneously renovating the preserve qualities.

Oak Meadows is set to open in 2017 and intends to highlight the local environment with the restoration of Salt Creek, expansion of wetlands, upland habitat enhancements, greater storm-water management capacity and native planting restoration. “This project is about creating a valuable and engaging golf experience, while rehabilitating an extraordinary, but deteriorated landscape” Martin said. “Ultimately, the golfers will benefit, the Forest Preserve District will benefit and the community will benefit.”

“For decades Oak Meadows acted as a ‘for?profit’ golf enterprise that also provided valuable storm-water retention for area residents,” explains Ed Stevenson, Director of Golf Enterprises for The Forest Preserve District of Du Page County. “But the ability to run a successful golf business suffers greatly every time the property floods, which now happens more often.”

Martin Design and the Oak Meadows design team rejected the assumption that improving golf amenities required sacrificing other aspects of the property. Instead, the Oak Meadows’ plan encourages the property to expand and improve habitat and hold more floodwater while providing more sustainable, flood-resistant golf operations. Beyond simply co?existing, the operation of the golf course and the environmental functions of the forest preserve will have a symbiotic relationship.

The new design will offer a 7,100?yard par-72 course, and rather than resist Mother Nature, it will complement and support flood events. The plan keeps portions of the original routing, but features a compelling assortment of new holes. Ultimately, the qualities of the site will encourage golfers of all abilities to participate and enjoy the course and the environment.

“Oak Meadows needs to appeal and satisfy a variety of golfer interests,” Martin said. “The greater goal is to establish a unique ‘sense of place’ for Oak Meadows. By linking the golf course more intimately to a high-functioning environment,the golfers will be more engaged and the surrounding communities will benefit.

“Oak Meadows will accommodate the public as a golf course and a preserve,” he continued. “The purpose is to develop a golf course that will respect the landscape, allowing the game to be played while carefully revealing the environment, its history and charm and restoring its vital landscape function. Oak Meadows will honor this landscape as a golf course within a preserve.”

The renovation of Oak Meadows can be considered a “Preserve Improvement Project.” A full understanding of the opportunities, issues, complexities and potential benefits of a more comprehensive approach provides a significant advantage. All of these proposed improvements are designed to function in a complimentary fashion to improve the overall quality of Salt Creek as well as its receiving waters.

“There are many examples of golf existing within publicly owned preserve properties, so this project is not unique, but it is distinctive,” Martin said. “The range of improvements and the impact of this project is extraordinary. 

“When complete, the Oak Meadows Golf Preserve Improvement Project will effectively renovate the golf course to a level that is attractive, playable, operational, sustainable and environmentally responsive. It will be a great golf course. More importantly, Oak Meadows will accommodate and serve the public as a preserve as well as a golf course that will allow the game to be played while carefully revealing the environment, its history and charm and restoring its vital landscape function.”

“The potential of this project encouraged the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County to pursue a more ambitious agenda for improved river ecology and preserve improvement. We’re excited and hope our constituents will enjoy the significant benefits,” says Ed Stevenson.