The Village Links of Glen Ellyn enjoys a long and illustrious past.
And the future looks pretty good, too!
Many, many rounds of satisfying golf have been played here at The Village Links of Glen Ellyn.. By professionals and duffers alike.
Likewise, many a diner has left here feeling satisfied with a gastronomically-delightful experience.
From professional tournaments to company get-togethers, The Village Links has been a respite for Chicagoland golfers for years – and we hope to continue these traditions long into the future.
The Village Links opened as an 18-hole course in 1967.
In the early 1960’s, the Village of Glen Ellyn set out to build a combination public golf course and storm water detention system on 170 acres in the southern part of town.
In those days, the typical public golf course measured several hundred yards shorter than advertised, had unwatered fairways, and had few sand and water hazards. There were no roughs, as all turf was mowed at the same height. With encouragement from Glen Ellyn’s Village Administrator Bill Galligan and former Trustee George Winchell, who was the driving force behind the effort to develop a golf course in Glen Ellyn, golf course architect David Gill of St. Charles, IL designed an 18-hole course that was ahead of its time. The greens were big and fast (for the 1960’s), thanks to a suggestion by Glen Oak Country Club’s golf course Superintendent, Ray Gerber, who suggested that Toronto C-15 bentgrass be used on the greens. There were three sets of bentgrass tees. The bluegrass fairways were irrigated. There were 57 sand bunkers and 10 water hazards.
The 6835 yard, par 72 layout opened July 16, 1967. Within a few years the course was exceeding all expectations. A third nine holes, dubbed the Link-Up Nine, was designed by David Gill and opened for play on July 15, 1975. The Link-Up nine operated as a stand alone 9-hole course in 1975 and 1976, with an entrance on Lambert Road. In 1977 the Link-Up Nine was combined with the original back nine to form a new Village Links 18-hole course, a par 71 6933 yard layout. The original front nine became the 9-hole course.
Ted Sokolis became the Village Links' first Golf Course Superintendent in 1965 while the course was being built. Ted established high maintenance standards that continue to be a hallmark of the Village Links. Ted became the Links' first General Manager in 1972 and held that job until he left to manage Pine Meadow GC in Mundelein, IL in 1984.
Ed Posh was the Village Links' first Head Golf Professional, coming on board in 1967. Ed created an extensive lesson and tournament program that is still unique in public golf. Ed became the face of the Village Links, making visits to the Links enjoyable for thousands of golfers until his retirement at the end of the 1995 season. Ed is still a fixture at the Village Links as Golf Professional Emeritus. Appreciative golfers started the Ed Posh Scholarship Fund in 1996, helping dozens of students in Ed’s name.
In 1972 the Village Links hosted the first of what would become an impressive list of area golf events.
That first event was NIMAGA’s Illinois State Match Play Championship, an event that would be held at the Links eight times in the following ten years. The Metro Amateur, a short-lived event that started in 1976, had some of the strongest fields ever to compete at the Links. Future PGA tour players Gary Halberg, Gary Pinns, and David Orgin all competed in multiple events at the Links, including the Metro AM. In 1980, the Village Links hosted the Western Open Qualifying for the first time. The Western Qualifying became a fixture at the Links, held here every year through 2006, except for 1986 when the Links hosted the Illinois Open and 2003 when the 18-hole course was closed for renovation. The twenty-fifth and final Western Open Qualifying was held at the Links in 2006, the last year of the Western Open before the event became the BMW Championship, which does not have an open qualifying. The Village Links has also hosted many qualifyings for other top tournaments including the U.S. Open, U.S. Amateur, Illinois Amateur, Western Amateur, and Chicago Open.
When the Village Links opened for play in 1967, it was a barren property with hardly any trees. The Link-Up Nine added a few mature trees, notably the chute on #6 tee. Trees were added every year and eventually changed the look and feel of the course. In the early 1990’s, a growing interest in conservation and the environment prompted the Links to join Audubon International’s Cooperative Wildlife Sanctuary Program for Golf Courses. The Village Links became the first public course in the world and the seventh golf course overall to become fully certified as a Wildlife Sanctuary. Involvement in this program helped the Links to diversify its landscaping and management plans, adding greatly to the beauty of the course. In the 1990’s, the Village Links and Golf Course Superintendent Tim Kelly and his staff were recognized with a number of national and regional awards for environmental excellence.
In 1979, the Village Links developed a program called KEEP PACE, that encouraged golfers to keep up with the group ahead of them.
Village Links golfers embraced the new program and made the Links the fastest playing course in the United States. KEEP PACE became the most successful pace of play program ever devised and is used in some form at thousands of golf courses nationwide.
In 2003, the 18-hole course was renovated. Garrett Gill, son of the original architect, designed the changes, which included the reconstruction of the greens. The renovation also included a minor renumbering of the holes, resulting in a 7208 yard par 72 layout.
In 2006, three long-time employees retired to take advantage of an incentive program offered by the Village of Glen Ellyn. Pat Sokolis had worked as Secretary since 1971. In addition to her clerical work, for 35 years she designed everything from the Village Links logo, to scorecards, restaurant menus, signs and newsletters. Equipment & Building Maintenance Supervisor Pat Kelly joined the Links in 1972. Pat was responsible for maintaining every piece of equipment and every building on the golf course. Golf Course Superintendent Tim Kelly, who joined the Links in May of 1968, retired as the third Golf Course Superintendent in our history. Tim oversaw all maintenance of the entire property, including buildings and equipment.
2006 was also the final year of the Western Open Qualifying. In 2007, the Western Open became the BMW Championship, and no longer involved an open qualifying. The Village Links continues to regularly host major qualifyings, having hosted more than 35 USGA and PGA Tour Qualifyings.