The 18-hole Wilmette Golf Course is a public facility opened in 1922. Designed by Joseph A. Roseman, the course measures 6,400 yards from the longest tees and has a slope rating of 130 and a 70.9 USGA rating.
With approximately 30 acres of the 106-acre course located within the regulatory floodway and floodplain, the 95-year-old Wilmette Golf Club has historically suffered from frequent flood damage. As part of the recommendations outlined in the 2011 Master Improvement Plan, the Wilmette Golf Club pursued extensive renovations to help alleviate drainage issues and improve the playability of the par 70 course.
The Skokie River and North Branch of the Chicago River flow along the northern and western boundaries of the site. IDNR-Office of Water Resources and the Village of Wilmette requirements for these floodway and floodplain areas were a primary consideration when designing the stormwater improvements. Additional regard for the course ponds, identified as Waters of the US and regulated by the US Army Corps of Engineers, as well as the neighboring property, owned by the Forest Preserve District of Cook County, was vital.
In order to effectively manage the frequency and extent of flooding, improvements were designed to maximize stormwater storage capacity while minimizing impacts to playable areas and neighboring properties, as well as complying with regulatory standards. The existing ponds were expanded and connected with vegetated bioswales. Excavated material from the detention expansion and bioswales was repurposed to raise the elevation of fairways and playable areas, providing further flood protection. Native plants were beneficially integrated into the course design to enhance bioswale and wetland areas, improve stormwater quality, and provide ease of maintenance.
GHA’s services, including surveying, engineering, stormwater management, wetland delineation, permitting and NPDES compliance monitoring, allowed for seamless application of sustainable stormwater infrastructure which adheres to regulatory requirements, meets client standards, and garnered public support. As noted in a July 2014 Chicago Tribune article, residents find the course to be “spectacular”; Wilmette Park District’s Executive Director is delighted by the “winding bioswales framed by native plantings”.