APRIL 23, 2012
Cog Hill owner Frank Jemsek heard
He understood comments issued by PGA
Tour pros the past two years after they
cavorted on Cog’s Dubsdread course. He
didn’t like it, but he’s too nice a guy to say so.
The cause was the climate. The weath-
er in July and August 2010 was not condu-
cive to keeping bentgrass alive, much less
“I wish they were saying good things
about the golf course, but it’s hard to fight
the facts,” Jemsek said at the time.
But the criticism of Dubsdread from Phil
Mickelson and Steve Stricker, among oth-
ers, based on the architectural renovation
of the Dick Wilson design by Rees Jones?
That, he didn’t and doesn’t understand.
“We didn’t rebuild the golf course for
one year,” Jemsek said, noting the pre-
cision with which pros were targeting
approach shots into the sectioned greens.
“We rebuilt it for the next 20 years.”
Jemsek sank $5.2 million into the
renovation, which was occasioned in part
because the mixture of greens on the
course – some push-up greens designed
by Wilson and Joe Lee in 1964, some sub-
sequently rebuilt to USGA specifications
– yielded different results when pros hit
approach shots into them.
A wish to modernize bunker position-
ing and offer a better test for the pros and
the Dubsdread clientele – and position
the course for a U.S. Open, a generational
Jemsek quest – prompted Frank to pick up
the phone and call Jones.
He’ll be calling him again. Jemsek says
Jones, and assistant Greg Muirhead, will
be part of any renovation of Dubsdread.
“We will not do any of the (contemplat-
ed) changes without Rees being involved,”
Even though the BMW Championship,
played most years as the Western Open
in the 20 occasions Cog Hill hosted it, will
be played at Conway Farms Golf Club in
Lake Forest when it returns to the
Chicago area in 2013.
“We want the course to have the same
continuity,” Jemsek said.
Before Jones or Muirhead take a look
at a tweaking, Jemsek knows a couple of
things will change at the outset. He wants
to take out a bunker on the right side of
the first fairway, leaving one as a target
that only the longest pros can reach.
Jemsek also wants to soften the hill-
side on the left side of the 12th green, a
severe dropoff at the moment that causes
plenty of trouble for the customers who
pay $155 to play. The multiple tee complex
that connects the fifth and ninth holes
already has been adjusted to make the
par-4 fifth a 507-yard par- 5 again, while
the par- 5 ninth, a true three-shotter, has
been shortened from 613 yards to 586.
“I think it’ll be plenty tough,” Jemsek
said of the fifth restored to its original par
of five. And the ninth, with the green even
more elevated than Wilson had it, never
will be a pushover.
“It’s actually a little easier to knock
it on, but Jones still kept the trap that
Wilson and Joe Lee had there, to make the
lay-up a little more thought provoking,”
Jemsek said. “Rees tried to make it so
more people would hit it over the trap, and
I think he accomplished that.”
Time was eroding the shot value of the
layout before Jones restored it. Now,
Jemsek doesn’t want to see it lessened
for his everyday customers, just because
players who were playing for a $7 million
purse thought it too difficult.
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