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Columns

St. Charles Park District 'saves the green' at Pottawatomie Golf Course

A recent shoreline stabilization project at the Pottawatomie Golf Course has preserved and saved the picturesque island green that draws so many to the historic 9-hole course.

Work began in February 2020 to build a 218-foot timber wall to stabilize the east side of the island green that had been eroding into the river for a number of years.

Caused in large part by floods and boat traffic, the severity of the erosion had reduced the footprint of the island.

“We knew we needed to save the green,” said Laura Rudow, superintendent of parks and planning, deputy director.

Golf Course Manager Ron Skubisz applauds the board for approving the project.

“The island green is the signature hole of the golf course in beauty and difficulty,” he said.

From the west side of the island, whether taking in the view from a riverboat or kayak, it is an unforgettable sight as the green juts out into the water, connected by a flower-lined stone bridge. For golfers, the hole surrounded by the river, adds a dimension of difficultly to their game. During construction hole #3 was temporarily moved to a different location, but is slated to be open for play in July.

This shoreline stabilization had been in development since 2015 and was earmarked as a priority capital project in the St. Charles Park District’s Comprehensive 5-year Master Plan, adopted in 2018.

The scope of the project includes building the timber wall, regrading, installing sand bunkers, and landscaping.

“As the owners of this land, the St. Charles Park District has a responsibility to maintain the history and integrity of the golf course,” Rudow said of prioritizing the shoreline stabilization.

Designed by renowned golf course architect Robert Trent Jones, Pottawatomie Golf Course opened in 1939. The island green, hole #3, was his first island green design.

Funding for the course at the time was made possible by a Works Progress Administration grant to get the unemployed back to work after the Great Depression.  The grant provided funding for other amenities as well, including the ball field, swimming pool and amphitheater.

“The course is a St. Charles landmark. It’s where generations of family members grew up playing golf and now bring back their son or daughter or grandson or granddaughter to play together,” Skubisz said.

Not only does it represent a piece of history in St. Charles, it has been recognized nationally and internationally. It ranked 15th best 9-hole course in America by Golf World magazine in 2010. And since 1997, it has maintained its status as an Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary.

For more information about Pottawatomie Golf Course, visit: https://www.pottawatomiegc.com/.

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