Tam O’Shanter Golf Course in Niles, IL, is a historic and scenic golf course owned by the Niles Park District. The Chicago River runs through the course; consequently, much of the course lies below the 100-year and 10-year floodplains. When the river floods, many of the course’s tee boxes and greens become underwater, creating a challenge for groundskeepers to keep it in good operating condition year-round.
Bono Consulting was hired by the Park District in the Spring of 2017 along with Lohmann Quitno Golf Course Architects to develop plans to renovate the golf course. One goal of the renovations was to raise the tee boxes and greens out of the 10-year floodplains, so the course would not have to deal with these areas flooding as frequently. Bono Consulting performed a topographic survey and engineering plans for all regions renovated below the floodplains, including the river channel. As Civil Engineers, our role in the course design was to take the course architect’s plans and develop them into grading plans that would meet:
- Floodplain compensatory storage requirements.
- Meet wetland and riparian buffer requirements.
- Maintain river channel flow in the floodway.
- Improve drainage on the golf course, all while achieving the re-design goals of the Park District.
The project required permits from the Village of Niles, MWRD, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Illinois EPA, and the US Army Corps of Engineers. Bono Consulting managed all permitting efforts on the project and coordinated with outside consultants who provided wetland reports and river flow modeling required by various agencies.
The Park District was on a strict schedule to get the work started during Fall 2017 so that the renovated course would be open for the Summer 2018 season. Wadsworth Golf Construction completed the renovations in May 2018, and the newly renovated course could open on schedule. The upgrades have eased maintenance efforts on the course and allowed Tam to stay open more often throughout the season. This has improved the Park District’s revenue and quality of play on the golf course.