DES MOINES, Iowa — In 1966, Wakonda Golf Club on Des Moines’ south side was voted Golf Digest’s top 200 most difficult courses in the country. Decades later, the club is moving back to its original design with a major renovation project planned.
Wakonda Club is a William Langford-designed course celebrating its 100th year in 2022. Starting next season, the course will close down after the Principal Charity Classic for a major overhaul.
“We’re not going to change any of the holes as far as the layout or direction or the par of the holes,” Aaron Kruger, director of golf at Wakonda Club said. “We’re just going to bring back those features that have been lost over time.”
Tyler Rae has been hired as the architect to bring Wakonda Club back to its former glory and make it more playable for golfers. New tee boxes, sand bunkers, and some grading will help aid golfers of all skill levels, Kruger said. Every hole has adjustments planned. One week after the PCC next year, Wakonda Club will shut down and work will begin starting with a completely new irrigation system to replace the current 25-year-old system.
“We’ve got plans to keep the range open as long as possible for our membership and be as active as we can there. Hopefully, we’ll take (members) on some trips throughout the area and work with other clubs and golf courses to get them out,” Krueger said.
They’ll also be taking down some of the old iconic trees, but plan to replace some to enhance the master plan. Wakonda Club is not disclosing how much the project costs but members will be paying an additional assessment for several years to help pay for the project. Some members have posted online calling the plan the “Fairway of Dreams.”
Kruger said the majority of members know this is for the future of the club and the time to do it is now with needing to replace the irrigation system. They also plan to improve the tennis facility as well.
Ken McCullum with Principal Financial Group and chair of the PCC tournament board said they are excited to see the improvements. The current agreement with Wakonda Club to host the PCC ends after the 2023 tournament.