Glencoe Club settles on facility location
Updated: November 12, 2012 10:39AM
After 19 months, the Golf Clubhouse Task Force has decided where to put a new Glencoe Golf Club facility and how big it should be.
Members also want the course’s maintenance building moved, and they have a new home for that, too.
Next come the details and how to pay for them.
New Glencoe residents may be surprised at the desire for any changes at all.
The existing clubhouse and pro shop are small, old and in need of repair, but don’t seem to discourage players who like the challenging, tree-lined course.
The 1921 course has become more popular, with millions of dollars in upgrades and fresh leadership: six years under General Manager Stella Nanos, and eight with former Golf Advisory Committee Chairman Arnold Levy.
The task force is charged with assigning the clubhouse job to an architect, and completing talks with the Botanic Garden and the forest preserve district. Then, the plans go to the Village Board.
All course profit goes to the county, through a decades-old contract. The village charges an annual bill to cover expenses, currently $40,000.
The task force is discussing several methods of financing construction, with most involving bond payments through golf and banquet profits.
The biggest problem with the facility is its tiny kitchen and 50-seat dining room. Tournaments and golf outings that require dinners and speeches are common, and commonly turned away from the village-operated course, co-owned with the Cook County Forest Preserve District.
The task force rejected suggestions for a banquet facility seating more than 300 people, settling on 150 seats, plus about 70 in an attached dining area intended for regular golfers.
This size accommodates a medium-size tournament of 144 players, but not most weddings, bar mitzvahs and other non-golf events.
“That’s not the business we want to be in,” task force Chairman Larry Levin said at an Oct. 3 meeting.
The total estimated cost is $7.5 million, though Levin, a village trustee, said it could drop below $6 million, once project details are worked out.
The biggest worry at the meeting wasn’t money, but location, and not of the clubhouse, but of the modest maintenance facility. Now east of the current clubhouse, it would depart for the wooded southwest corner of the property.
The angst is rooted in past controversies over attempts to pay for a new clubhouse by selling off some of the Glencoe-owned course land for redevelopment.
Land sales aren’t happening, but carving into a wooded area for a maintenance building “is something that some people in the neighborhood are going to oppose,” said task force member Jason Conviser, who lives along the opposite east side of the course. He said a road leading east from the maintenance area would be opposed.
If a planned agreement with the Chicago Botanic Garden is made, a short road will connect the maintenance shed with the garden’s own maintenance buildings, west of the drainage ditch that divides the properties.
Targeting a site
The site of the planned building is a dump for brush and wood chips.
“I don’t know if any trees would have to come down,” task force member Levy said. “You can leave your axe at home.”
An Oct. 4 perusal of the area found a brush dump several times the size of the 6,500 square-foot proposed footprint of the maintenance building, so well-screened by trees that it’s hard to see from the nearest fairway.
Nanos said that an employee told her the brush pile was hidden behind the trees when he first came to work at the course 31 years ago.
Moving the maintenance building would give room to slide the clubhouse a little further back, which would allow, in a later phase, lengthening some of the links that begin or end at that point without disturbing the whole course.
Alterations respond to a recent trend for significantly longer holes. The course is known more for the accuracy rather than the strength necessary to make par.
Months ago, several members favored moving the clubhouse site to Green Bay Road for more visibility.
Glencoe architect Scott Javore proposed his own version of the concept last week.
“It seems to make all the sense in the world, except for that problem of screwing up the golf course,” he said to peels of laughter from his six fellow panelists.
Other members opposed spending extra money to move the driving range and two links to make it happen.
Javore did, however, turn some toward making the long entrance more inviting.
“It feels like you’re going into the subdivision,” Javore said. “It feels like you’re going the wrong way.”~.