LEMONT, Ill. – At the 2007 BMW Championship, Tiger Woods dismantled the Dubsdread course at Cog Hill to the tune of 22-under-par. Though he only won by two shots, the golf course was rendered defenseless. It was like an NBA playoff game won by the Lakers, but played on 9-foot rims.
So, what did Cog Hill do? It hired a doctor.
In 2008 golf course architect Rees Jones (a.k.a. “The Open Doctor”) was asked to do what he’d done at Torrey Pines and Bethpage Black: U.S. Open-ize a golf course. And while Cog Hill may not have an Open in its near future (the next available U.S. Open date is 2017), Jones’ involvement suggests that the renovation was about more than simply toughening the BMW Championship. Course owner Frank Jemsek has made it clear he wants to bring the U.S. Open to Cog Hill. Whether the U.S. Golf Association goes for it remains to be seen but one thing is sure, Cog Hill is tougher than ever.
Here’s a look at the changes to the Dubsdread course, which players will be seeing for the first time at the BMW Championship:
SubAir System – Like Augusta National, Pebble Beach and TPC Sawgrass – three storied venues that get their fair share of rain – Dubsdread has been modernized by the SubAir System, which acts as an under-ground vacuum when the greens accumulate too much water.
Green complexes – Like all good PGA Tour venues, Dubsdread now has greens with a multitude of tiers and pin placement options. Two years ago recovery from a poorly placed approach wasn’t so tough. But now, if you miss it on the wrong level… Look out.
Rebuilt bunkers – Bunkers were deepened to enhance the visual appeal for the spectators and increase the difficulty for the players. All 98 of the bunkers were reworked in some way.
Rebuilt tee boxes – One of the true signs of a modern U.S. Open venue is flexibility, and the new Dubsdread is no exception. Multiple tee boxes were either added or rebuilt to allow for a wide range of setups. The par-5 11th hole, for example, has six individual tee boxes, which allows the hole to play as short at 436 yards and as long as 607 yards. It’s a prime example of a course’s ability to be playable for PGA Tour players and novice golfers alike.