Forest Preserve District Closes Settler's Hill Golf Course For 2021 Season, Will Convert Deer Valley Golf Course to Natural Area

Forest Preserve District Closes Settler’s Hill Golf Course For 2021 Season, Will Convert Deer Valley Golf Course to Natural Area

The Forest Preserve District of Kane County announced that it is closing Settler’s Hill Golf Course in Geneva for the 2021 season to make major improvements and will close Deer Valley Golf Course in Big Rock for use as a natural area.

According to the Forest Preserve District website, the district is in the process of adding $6.8 million worth of improvements, including:

  • Renovation of the 18-hole course
  • State of the art, on-demand irrigation system
  • New driving range/practice area
  • New four-hole short-course learning center

Settler’s Hill Golf Course will reopen to the public for the summer 2022 season.

According to the “Golfers on Golf Radio Chicago” blog, golf architect Greg Martin — who has done renovation work at Phillips Park in Aurora, Fox Run Golf Club in Elk Grove, Wilmette Golf Club in Wilmette and Arrowhead Golf Club in Wheaton, to name a few — was selected to oversee the master plan for the courses improvements.

Meanwhile, the Forest Preserve District plans to transition the Deer Valley Golf Course site back into a restored natural area, as an addition to Big Rock Forest Preserve in Big Rock.

The district’s Planning & Utilization Committee approved the restoration plan on March 25 and officials made the announcement on April 12 that the golf course will close.

Natural Resource Management Director Ben Haberthur said closing the golf course will have various natural resources benefits.

“Big Rock Creek is one of the most-pristine creeks in Kane County,” he said. “By removing the potential for chemical and nutrient runoff from the golf operation, we are helping to protect this important waterway and improve habitat for wildlife.”

Spike mussel (CREDIT: IDNR)

Haberthur said mussels are present in Big Rock Creek, including the state-threatened Spike Mussel.

“Mussels act as water filters; they constantly work to filter-out bacteria, algae and pollutants, and thereby improve water quality,” Haberthur said, “The Mottled sculpin, a state-threatened fish, is also present in Big Rock Creek. Additionally, bald eagles nest at the site and have been seen fishing in Big Rock Creek.”

Forest Preserve District of Kane County Executive Director Monica Meyers said flood protection will be incorporated during the restoration of the area.

“Currently, there are a series of culverts that move water at the site,” she said. “We’re going to leave this culvert system in place, but use best-management practices to create improved drainage that will accept and filter water through the site, prior to reaching Big Rock Creek. This will improve water quality as well as reduce flooding in the area.”

Transition of the 17.5-acre property to a more-natural setting will incorporate the following natural area restoration projects:

  • A prairie restoration will encompass 12.5 acres.
  • Four acres will be restored to an oak woodland.
  • A one-acre wetland restoration will include the current pond and a treatment train to improve area flood control and water quality
  • A three-quarter-mile trail will be installed amidst the newly restored area. The new trail will connect to the 10-mile trail system already in place at Big Rock Forest Preserve.

Meyers said the decision to close the par three, nine-hole golf course included many factors.

“The golf course is at least 21 years old. It existed prior to the district’s purchase of the property in 2000,” she said. “When the district made the investment in the property, the purpose was always to expand the adjacent Big Rock Forest Preserve and to protect the Oak woodland and Big Rock Creek.

“The Forest Preserve District has continued to evaluate the condition and natural resources there. We planned to operate the golf course until such time that we could restore the property. Additionally, the course was at the point where it required a number of costly capital improvements,” she said.

For golfers looking for an alternate facility, the district owns two other golf courses — Hughes Creek Golf Club in Elburn and Settler’s Hill Golf Course in Geneva. Settler’s Hill is closed for a full remodel, this year, but is expected to reopen in summer 2022. Meyers said both courses would better meet golfers’ needs.

For more information on the Forest Preserve District of Kane County, visit  www.kaneforest.com or call 630-232-5980.

SOURCE: Forest Preserve District of Kane County news release and website