What would you renovate most at the Kenwood Country Club?

By: March 2, 2021

Around 2018, the 36-hole Kenwood Country Club (since 1930; Cincinnati, Ohio) decided to renovate the golden-age layout of Kendale Course.

Fry/Straka Global Golf Course Design won the assignment. The renovation started in August 2019. Originally they planned to reopen the course in late spring of 2020.

Members enjoyed some limited play in the fall of 2020, but June 2021 has been slated for an official reopening.

Kenwood Country Club golf course renovation

Fortunately, we don’t have to wait long yet because the Kendale Course will reopen in June.

Fry/Straka was briefed to restore the club’s original Bill Diddel design with consideration for today’s golfing and maintenance technology. It means:

  • Greens will be restored to original size and contours but will be softened to also capture original pin positions rendered unusable by today’s green speeds.
  • Restoration of bunkers and widening of fairways to recapture original widths.
  • Considerable tree management will be undertaken with an emphasis on improved drainage throughout the property.

Wadsworth Golf Construction and All Green Irrigation have been selected to build the Fry/Straka – Mike Kuhn (irrigation) improvements.

Straka expanded all 18 putting surfaces to their original dimensions, after first using LIDAR technology to map the original contours, down to 1/10th of an inch.

Then, using Diddel’s original greens drawings, he proportionally adapted those steeper contours to work with modern green speeds.

Kenwood Country Club clubhouse in the background

Yet the most critical agronomic/aesthetic improvement at Kenwood Country Club likely stems from Straka’s removal of more than 1,000 sweetgums, oak and spruce trees.

This ever-proliferating forest had, over the course of 85 years, obstructed or otherwise compromised lines of play in ways Diddel never anticipated. 

Kentwood Country Club – did you know?

Did you know Donald Ross was responsible for identifying the 341-acre property on which the club sits today? But Ross wasn’t hired to design the course.

The Kendale Course hosted the U.S. Amateur just three years post-opening, followed by the 1954 Western Open and the 1963 U.S. Women’s Open.

Diddel designed more than 250 courses across the Midwest, including

  • the celebrated Woodland CC in Carmel, Indiana;
  • The Northwood Club in Dallas, Texas, host of the 1952 U.S. Open; and
  • The Summit Course, the original 18 at the Shanty Creek Resort in northern Michigan.

He was a founding member of the American Society of Golf Course Architects (ASGCA), in 1947 — and a member of the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame.

Last year Kenwood Country Club hired Dylan Petrick as the new CEO. He replaced Kraig Kanitz, who retired as CEO after 18 years at the club.