News Releases
- 2004 -

Barry Cronin
Cronin Communications, Inc.


LIBERTYVILLE, Illinois (September 14, 2004) – Golf Magazine recently named the Rick Jacobson-designed Spirit Hollow Golf Course one of the nation’s top 50 courses costing less than $50 to play.

“Just a few three woods [west of] the Mississippi River, Spirit Hollow winds through stacks of 100-year-old trees and 40- to 80-foot elevation drops,” the magazine noted in its September 2004 edition. “These features are integrated into visually intimidating holes that actually play with compassion.”

The greens fee at Spirit Hollow is $45.

Located in Burlington, Iowa, Spirit Hollow was a hit with golfers as soon as it opened. In 2001-its first full year of operation-the course hosted a U.S. Open qualifier. In 2002, it served as the site of the 100th Iowa State Amateur. In 2003, it hosted a U.S. Amateur qualifier. The Iowa Golf Association named Spirit Hollow the 18-hole New Course of the Year in 2001.

“Spirit Hollow was a great site to work with because of its mature trees, natural vegetation, and significant elevation changes,” Jacobson said. “Our goal was to take classical and traditional design elements and apply them to a dramatic site in the Mississippi River Valley.”

“The owner of Spirit Hollow, Randy Winegard, also has a great appreciation for high quality golf,” Jacobson said. “He was very open minded and supportive when it came to evaluating design alternatives and committing to the solution that enhanced the overall quality of the finished product.”

Spirit Hollow is a par 72 course ranging in length from 5,053 to 7,012 yards, depending on which set of five tees a player chooses. In addition to its dramatic elevations changes, the varied terrain includes ravines, old oak, hickory and sycamore trees as well as rolling prairie, which once served as farmland.

In addition to its spectacular 18 holes, Spirit Hollow also features a world-class practice facility, which has 40,000-square feet of teeing area, five target greens, a chipping green, sand bunker/green practice area and a large putting green.

Spirit Hollow’s rustic yet elegant clubhouse measures 7,000-square feet and features amenities normally associated with high-end resort or country club courses. Exposed beams on the ceilings, a generous main dining room, and a large fireplace provide a warm and relaxed environment for players and their guests.



LIBERTYVILLE, Illinois (June 17, 2004) – Nationally prominent Chicago-area golf course architect Rick Jacobson is continuing to make his mark on the Eastern United States.

Jacobson is set for a July 4 opening of his new Makefield Highlands Golf Club, an upscale 18-hole public layout located in Bucks County in suburban Philadelphia.

Although Jacobson has been active in the Middle Atlantic region for more than a decade, Makefield Highlands is his first course in Pennsylvania. It was commissioned by Lower Makefield Township with the aim of satisfying the appetite of an area starved for high-quality yet affordable public-access golf.

“Makefield Highlands is a real source of pride for both the township and for our firm,” Jacobson said. “The township was involved in the process every step of the way and gave us the flexibility and freedom we needed to be creative with the strategic and aesthetic elements of the design.”

Just a two-minute drive off Interstate 95 on the Pennsylvania side of the Delaware River, Makefield Highlands is laid out on the partially wooded, gently rolling terrain of a former farm. Its fairways and greens follow the flowing topography inherent to the Bucks County region. The 166-acre site features a small stream, which comes into play on several holes, and underlying rock formations that help provide the design with its creative continuity and unique character.

Landforms separate the holes so that each hole is an experience unto itself. Native grasses on the periphery of each hole frame the holes while bunker placement helps players determine strategy. Bunkers feature high-flashing sand in the style of Alister Mackenzie, original designer of Augusta National.

The course, which features five sets of tees, measures a maximum of 7,058 yards from the tips and as little as 5,007 from the forward tees. Tee boxes are located strategically to challenge the better golfer and to make the game enjoyable for beginners, casual players and high handicappers. The wind is expected to be a major factor as the course from tee to green is relatively open.

The course features a gargantuan par 5 – Hole No. 7 - that measures a whopping 640 yards from the back tees. “It’s the longest hole we’ve ever built,” Jacobson said unapologetically. “With the way technology has impacted today’s game, designing a hole with that kind of yardage is about the only to make it a definite three-shotter.”

But the course also has two short risk/reward par fours measuring 303 and 325 from the back tees. They are aimed at enticing players to “go-for-it” while exacting a price from those who try but fail to make it.

The original stone farmhouse and silo, which were part of the original farm, were preserved in order to help maintain the historic identity of the property. The silo stands beside a new 5,000-square-foot clubhouse overlooking the 18th hole that has been built with a stone facing characteristic of the area’s rural farmhouse vernacular. The farmhouse is adjacent to the 18th hole.

The greens fees are $69 Friday-Sunday and $59 Monday-Thursday, including cart. Kemper Sports of Northbrook, Ill. is managing the facility.



“Pure” Classic Golf Experience Takes
Center Stage in New Residential Community Near
Illinois-Wisconsin Border

LIBERTYVILLE, Illinois (May 27, 2004) – Prominent golf course architect Rick Jacobson has broken ground on the new Golf Club at Strawberry Creek, an original 18-hole design that will be the focal point of a new residential community in southern Wisconsin’s Kenosha County.

Located on Wisconsin Route 50 west of Interstate 94, Strawberry Creek will unfold across the gently rolling terrain of a former strawberry farm just north of the Illinois state line. The project is being developed by Strawberry Creek of Kenosha LLC, which is headed by Lincolnshire real estate developers Barry Shiffman, Ed Edelberg and Jay Hilgenberg, former All-Pro center of the Super Bowl champion Chicago Bears.

“Strawberry Creek will be different from traditional golf community developments in that its sweeping expanses of open space will preserve the integrity of the golf experience while the housing component will exist on the perimeter of the course,” Jacobson said.

Inspired by the classic golf course architecture of the early 1900s, the par 72 course will range in length from 5,100 to 7,118 yards and will feature many classic design elements. It is expected to open in the summer of 2005.

Jacobson said he plans to create a course that stands out for the diversity of its golf holes, its playability for golfers of all levels, it strategic challenge, and its aesthetic appeal.

“We are going to have two drive-able par 4 holes – one on the front nine and one on the back - so that golfers can ‘grip-it-and-rip it’ if they feel the urge,” Jacobson said. “The short par 4 brings fun and challenge into the game and can certainly liven up the competition.” The par 4 6th hole measures 293 yards while the 17th is 312 yards.

In addition, Jacobson has designed par 3 holes that vary in length from 147 to 230 yards, so that golfers can test their short-iron finesse games as well as their long-iron power games.

“Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus and Bobby Jones distinguished themselves from other golfers by virtue of their ability to hit a long iron shot into the green,” Jacobson said. “The long par 3 hole at Strawberry Creek will challenge better players to measure the power and accuracy of their games in the same way.”

Among the classic design elements Jacobson plans to integrate into the course are sod-faced bunkers in the style of Donald Ross; fairway chipping areas adjacent to greens, which will present recovery shots reminiscent of Pinehurst, and the use of native grasses to frame holes and emulate the vernacular prairie landscape of southern Wisconsin.

Streams, lakes and natural wildlife habitat will provide a dramatic backdrop for an exciting finish on four of the last five holes. A creek running through the property comes into play on five holes.

The family-oriented semi-private club will feature an expansive clubhouse with a full-service pro shop, locker rooms and ample banquet facilities, as well as a pool, tennis and fitness facilities.

The real estate aspect of the 385-acre project will feature luxury custom homes, 324 single family residences, including 62 custom home sites; 336 town homes and condominiums, and 260 apartment units.

For information on home sites and memberships contact Karen Nasshan at 262-857-8400.



LIBERTYVILLE, Illinois (Jan. 23, 2004) – The Northbrook Park District took a long look at Rick Jacobson’s impressive record of renovating classic courses originally designed by revered golf course architects. The district then decided to hire Jacobson to renovate its Donald Ross-inspired Sportsman’s Country Club in the northern Chicago suburb.

The first phase of construction will begin in the fall of 2005, meaning the entire facility will remain open in 2004.

“We are going to try to recapture the original ‘Donald Ross’ look and feel of Sportsman’s while addressing some of the facility’s deferred maintenance issues,” Jacobson said. “We will be looking to improve the aesthetics, playability and strategy of the golf course while addressing important infrastructure issues, such as drainage and golfer circulation.”

A 27-hole facility located at 3535 Dundee Road in Northbrook, Sportsman’s original 18-hole course will be renovated nine holes at a time. Construction on the second nine is scheduled to begin in the fall of 2006. During construction, the facility’s third nine – which is not being renovated - will be integrated with the other nine so that 18 holes will be open at all times. In 2003, the 18-hole course had 45,000 rounds played and the nine-hole course 35,000 rounds, Miller said.

Jacobson has renovated courses designed by Ross, Pete Dye, Tom Bendelow, and the team of H.S. Colt and C.H. Alison. He will undertake a massive bunker renovation project on Sportsman’s original 18-hole layout, which was designed in 1930 by Ross associate Edward B. Dearie, Jr.

Dearie worked for Ross as a golf course construction crew chief in Pennsylvania and Illinois, and Ross’s influences can be seen in Dearie’s own course designs, including Sportsman’s. A noted greenskeeper at a number of prestigious Chicago-area country clubs, Dearie also was a charter member of the Golf Course Superintendent’s Association of America.

Mark Miller, director of golf operations for the Northbrook Park District, said the staff decided on Jacobson after reviewing his renovation of Northmoor Country Club, an original Donald Ross course in nearby Highland Park.

“You can see some of the classic Ross-style bunkering at Sportsman’s and we decided that was the look we wanted,” Miller said. “We looked at the work Rick has done at Northmoor and it is really spectacular. That is the kind of look we want to have at Sportsman’s. The thing that swayed us was his work at Northmoor.”

In addition to reshaping Sportsman’s bunkers in more of a Donald Ross style, Jacobson said he plans to relocate various bunkers that have become obsolete as a result of high-tech clubs and long-flying golf balls.

“Some of the bunkers will be realigned and repositioned to accommodate today’s golfers,” Jacobson said. “Our goal will be to balance the functionality of the golf course with the strategic value hole-by-hole.”



LIBERTYVILLE, Illinois (Dec. 2, 2003) – Nationally renowned golf course architect Rick Jacobson has been retained by Sunset Ridge CC in Northfield, Illinois to create and implement a master renovation plan at the prominent Chicago area country club.

Jacobson is scheduled to begin the Sunset Ridge project in the summer of 2004 and to complete all 18 holes by next fall. Under the plan the 6,800-yard, par 71 course would reopen in the spring of 2005. Work will include the renovation of all bunkers, addition of new bunkers, the strategic repositioning of several existing fairway bunkers, new tee complexes, drainage work, cart path rerouting, pond dredging, lake bank treatment, and the recapture of strategic pin placement areas on the greens along with selective tree removal.

“Sunset Ridge is a beautiful old parkland style course built in 1924 in the finest traditions of golf on Chicago’s North Shore,” Jacobson said. “Our plan is to maintain the integrity of the original design while updating the infrastructure of the golf course and enhancing the strategic challenge of the course for members and guests.

“We plan to reposition several fairway bunkers in order to account for the greater distances off the tee that many of today’s lower handicap players are getting as a result of new club technologies and improved fitness regimens and instruction,” he continued. “We want to make sure the course is fun, aesthetically appealing, and challenging for all levels of players, including the best.”

Sunset Ridge was designed by Indiana native William Diddel, who designed or renovated dozens of courses in 16 states and Canada. His Illinois originals included Edgewood Valley CC in LaGrange (1926) and Rolling Green CC in Arlington Heights (1930).



© 2002 Jacobson Golf Course Design, Inc.