Bandwagoning The Beautiful Courses: Medinah

Sometimes, the course makes the tournament. Look at The Player’s Championship – the seventeenth hole at TPC Sawgrass is arguably the most well-recognized hole in all of golf. It’s dramatic and scary and beautiful, all at once.

We recognize Augusta as the home of the Masters. We know there’s history at St. Andrews (though some of us are new to this sport and don’t REALLY know). We know that, in many cases, the course itself is the biggest obstacle between our favorite player and victory (as opposed to his competitors).

Photo courtesy of GolfTime Magazine
Photo courtesy of GolfTime Magazine

Medinah Country Club is most recently known for the 2012 Ryder Cup, and I’m about to drop some knowledge about this gorgeous course.


Disclaimer: I’ve never stepped foot on Medinah. But odds are, you haven’t either. It’s SUPER exclusive and expensive, adding to the allure.

I have a particular fascination with the course because I live ten minutes away from it. There are three other (public) golf courses within in a stone’s throw, and Medinah itself is blocked from public view by some ridiculous black fabric draped over a chain link fence. But that doesn’t stop golf fans from trying to catch a peek.

The club was founded in 1924 by the Medinah Shriners, but the financial hardships of the war and the Great Depression caused them to open membership opportunities to non-Shriners.

There are three courses at the club, but number three is the Championship course, used to host tournaments. The entire course is gorgeous, but the signature hole is number 13. It’s a par three that forces players to hit their tee shot over Lake Kadijahto to a tiny green. It’s one of four holes that require players to hit over the lake.

Thus far, the club has held three U.S. Opens (1949, 1975, 1990), two PGA Championships (1999, 2006) and the 2012 Ryder Cup. Notably, Tiger Woods won both of the PGA Championships hosted at Medinah, but was then beaten by Team Europe in his attempt to bring the Ryder Cup home to the USA.

I’ll never be able to afford membership and I’ll probably never get to see inside those fences (unless the course hosts another televised tourney), but I can dream.

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