The recent KMPG Women’s PGA Championship at Kemper Lakes Golf Club in Kildeer, Illinois, displayed the renovation work by Rick Jacobson, ASGCA (Jacobson Golf Course Design). The Chicago Tribune recently profiled Jacobson, his 35-year career in golf course architecture, and his work at Kemper Lakes.
The article includes:
After working with legendary golfer Jack Nicklaus on design projects early in his career, Jacobson has been based in Libertyville (Illinois) since 1991, when he founded his company. In his 27th year running his company, Jacobson said he was incredibly proud of his Kemper Lakes project, which involved renovating the bunkers over a three-year period as well as evaluating how the course might need to be tweaked to host elite championship events.
Jacobson’s team overhauled Kemper Lakes’ bunkers to make them more visually appealing and more consistent throughout the course. He said the size of the bunkers was cut back by about 38 percent. The renovation project also consisted of new tees and a comprehensive tree management that included planting new trees.
“I’m most proud of the bunker project, just from the visual character and overall impact,” he said. “We wanted to maintain the character of the golf course and keep it a top-tier course. The course started to show some impact over time. The improved bunkers make a big difference, as we also added some variety to the way the golf course is set up.
“It was a win-win situation. The look of the bunkers is totally different now.”
“All the players love this golf course,” said So Yeon Ryu, who finished second after the playoff. “After I played 72 holes, I even like it more than I thought.”
“It’s a great golf course,” Michelle Wie added. “Those finishing holes are amazing.”
Brooke Henderson, who tied for sixth place, noted that the unique bunkers created many challenges.
“Knowing where the best angles into the greens are to avoid bunkers, to avoid overhanging trees, you’ve got to hit certain shots and you’ve got to know where to hit it,” Henderson said. “It’s a very challenging course.”
The complete Chicago Tribune article can be found here.