January 4, 2017

Medinah Country Club (No. 3)

Medinah, Ill. / 7,657 yards, Par 72 / Points: 62.5458
Medinah CC No. 3 course hole 2
Stephen Szurlej

48. Medinah Country Club (No. 3)

Tom Bendelow (1928)/Tom Bendelow (R. 1932)/Ken Killian & Dick Nugent (R. 1970)/Roger Packard (R. 1986)/Roger Rulewich (1997)/Rees Jones (R. 2002, 2009)

Medinah No. 3 is Exhibit A for the notion that great golf courses aren't created, but evolve. A major tournament site since 1949, it has undergone a succession of remodelings and has improved with every session. Its par-3 17th is the most prominent example. It was shifted to a new location in 1986, to precede a whole new 18th hole. (The original 17th is now the 13th.) Ten years later, the 17th green was moved away from a lakefront to a spot atop a hill, but after Tiger Woods' first (of two) PGA Championship victories on the course, the green was moved back down to water's edge, where it remains today. For the 2012 Ryder Cup, consulting architect Rees Jones created a totally new par-4 15th, with a pond along both fairway and green to pose risks and rewards. Like a fine wine, Medinah has gotten better with age.

100 Greatest History: Ranked since 1966. Highest ranking: No. 10, 1989-90. Previous ranking: No. 39

Panelist comments:
“This is one big, bold and very demanding golf course. Insanely hard from the tips. The par 3s (three of the four) are good but repetitive in their look and shot demands. Testing par 4s and fairly interesting par 5s. Just one of those great tests of golf, albeit not necessarily inspiring.”

“Tremendous tradition and beautiful ambiance in and around the clubhouse. One of the coolest hangs for any golfer. This is a memorable, championship course with such history.”

“The removal of hundreds of large, old oak trees gives the course a more open look than the tree-lined Medinah we're used to. Some trees were smartly removed but others have stripped a bit of the club's signature look in some aspects.”

“The back nine is first class. The 12th hole, in particular, is one of the most memorable holes you'll play. It might be the best bunkerless par 4 in golf. Fantastic use of mounding with magnificent green surrounds.”

“The grand, magnificent clubhouse is unlike any other in the United States.”

Stephen Szurlej

Hole No. 2

Stephen Szurlej

Hole No. 4

Stephen Szurlej

Hole No. 10