CoursesDecember 23, 2018

Congressional Country Club fires architect Keith Foster after he pleads guilty to federal crimes (Update)

Congressional Country Club
MCTAn American flag is unfurled near the clubhouse during the final round of the inaugural AT&T National at Congressional Country Club.

Three days after golf course architect Keith Foster pled guilty to federal charges of illegally transporting between $250,000 and $500,000 in items made from endangered species, his most high-profile golf client has fired him.

Congressional Country Club president Bev Lane sent a letter to the membership on Saturday announcing that the Board of Governors at the Bethesda, Md., club had terminated their contract with Foster and is in the process of looking for a replacement to move forward with renovation work on the Blue Course that had been expected to begin in Fall 2019.

In the letter, first reported by the Fried Egg and a copy of which has been obtained by Golf Digest, Lane stated that the club had no prior knowledge of Foster’s legal issues. In addition to his work as an architect, Foster owned a family antiques business in Virginia that specialized in selling foreign-sourced merchandise, a portion of which included wildlife products made from endangered species such as crocodiles, sea turtles and sawfish.

Foster had been hired by Congressional to help oversee a restoration of the Blue course to original 1924 Devereux Emmett plans ahead of a number of national events the club will host in conjunction with the PGA of America.

JIM WATSON

Eventual winner Rory McIlroy hits a tee shot on the Congressional's 10th hole during the 2011 U.S. Open, the last major held at the Bethesda, Md., club.

In a deal signed in September, the club agreed to be the site of eight PGA of America championships over a 15-year period. They include the Ryder Cup (2036), the PGA Championship (2031), the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship (2022, 2027) Senior PGA Championship (2025, 2033) PGA Professional Championship (2029) and the Junior PGA Championship (2024).

“The permitting phase of the Blue Course restoration project will continue as planned,” Lane said. “A list of golf course architects has been developed and initial discussions with them have already begun.”

Whether Foster’s plans for the restoration will remain in place is unclear.

Besides working with Congressional, Foster recently was chosen to renovate Olympia Fields. Some of Foster’s other recent renovations include Philadelphia Cricket Club's Wissahickon course, the East course at Baltimore Country Club, Moraine Country Club, Old White TPC course at The Greenbrier, Apawamis Club, Eastward Ho! and Orchard Lake.

UPDATE -- 1:45 p.m. ET: The Fried Egg is reporting that Olympia Fields has also cut ties with Foster. The Chicagoland course, which hired Foster in May, was just awarded the 2020 BMW Championship.

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