Home News With Bonnie Dundee back in the green, the golf club’s 100th anniversary...

With Bonnie Dundee back in the green, the golf club’s 100th anniversary being celebrated like a hole-in-one – Chicago Tribune

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Bonnie Dundee Golf Club reaching its milestone 100th year has special meaning for Frank Raczon, who has years of memories from spending his school breaks working at the Carpentersville course and assisting then-owner Anuta Harms on her daily opeartions check.

And he still plays there three or four times a week when he can, traveling from his home/office in Sleepy Hollow to a place that made its debut in the year Edgar Hoover became the FBI director, Walt Disney created his first cartoon and the Chicago Bears played their first game at the newly opened Soldier Field.

The club’s anniversary is no less a big deal a century later, and will be celebrated with a party at the course’s 270 N. John F. Kennedy Drive clubhouse from 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday, June 22. Open to the public, it will feature food, entertainment, contests and giveaways, according to Dundee Township Park District, its current owner.

For Raczon, now an editor and writer for Construction Equipment, Bonnie Dundee was the place where he worked as a starter and ranger from 1981 to 1986 as he finished high school and made his way through the College at St. Francis in Joliet.

“My parents saw the job posted in our church bulletin at St. Monica’s (Catholic Church in Carpentersville) and told me to apply,” he recalled.

Anuta Harms happened to be a St. Monica’s parishioner, and one of Raczon’s daily tasks was helping her walk down a cart path so she could take a look at the course, he said.

This photo shows the Bonnie Dundee Golf Course in Carpentersville as it looked in 1941. (Dundee Township Park District)
This photo shows the Bonnie Dundee Golf Club in Carpentersville as it looked in 1941. (Dundee Township Park District)

“I was always on the lookout. I was afraid she might get hit by an errant golf ball,” he said.

Harms bought the course in 1950 with golf pro Jock Anderson. After Anderson died 10 years later, Harms — who lived in an apartment above the clubhouse — was the course’s sole owner until 1988, when she died at age 91.

“She was very generous to her employees. She loved golf, and she loved the course,” Raczon said.

And she loved helping where she could too, Raczon said. During her ownership, clergy of all faiths were given a special rate to play and local groups like the Lions Club, United Way, and the police and fire departments would be allowed to use the clubhouse for special events.

Of course, the course has changed quite a bit over the years.

Frank Raczon, a Sleepy Hollow resident who worked at Bonnie Dundee Golf Course in Carpentersville in the 1980s when he was in high school and college, stands near the pond at the course's 6th hole. (Mike Danahey/The Courier-News)
Frank Raczon, a Sleepy Hollow resident who worked at Bonnie Dundee Golf Club in Carpentersville in the 1980s when he was in high school and college, stands near the pond at the course’s 6th hole. (Mike Danahey/The Courier-News)

Bonnie Dundee was in rougher shape than the nice looking course it is today, Raczon said. Back then, players had to park on the west side of Route 25 and cross four lanes of traffic to get to the course.

“There was no fairway irrigation system. So on a warm summer day, if you hit the ball just right, it would bounce a long, long way. And there was no water hole then either,” Raczon said.

Changes came after the Dundee Township Park District bought the course for $4.99 million, the result of voters approving a referendum in November 1991.

“An open space group within Dundee Township was very concerned that the golf course was going to be converted into some type of development,” district Executive Director Dave Peterson said. “The district’s Randall Oaks Golf Course was taking on a lot of golfers. The board felt that adding a golf course for our residents was a good idea.”

An automated irrigation system was installed in 1995, Peterson said. New tee boxes, cart paths, parking lot and other upgrades were made over the years.

Bonnie Dundee Golf Course in Carpentersville needs a new clubhouse, something the Dundee Township Park District is trying to find the funds to build, officials said. (Mike Danahey/The Courier-News)
Bonnie Dundee Golf Club in Carpentersville needs a new clubhouse, something the Dundee Township Park District is trying to find the funds to build, officials said. (Mike Danahey/The Courier-News)

Mike Sprouse, director of golf operations, said the larger improvements included an allowing the village of East Dundee to build a municipal well to serve village residents, adding four new sand bunkers, establishing a land management program to address the years of neglect and keeping the clubhouse functional until a new one can be built.

“The financing of this project still needs to be addressed as we do not have the money to build a new clubhouse,” Peterson said.

Prior to COVID-19, things weren’t great financially. Mounting deficits had them weighing drastic measures, he said. Among them, reducing the 18-hold course down to nine hole or closing the whole operation, using the space for walking trails and other recreational amenities.

Perhaps one of the the only good things to come from the pandemic was the newfound interest in golf, which revived interest in the sport, Peterson said.

“(Since) COVID hit,  golf operations have done a dramatic change in performance for the better ever since,” he said.

Mike Danahey is a freelance reporter for The Courier-News.

Bonnie Dundee Golf Course in Carpentersville as it appeared in May 2024. (Mike Danahey/The Courier-News)
Dundee Township Park District will celebrate the Bonnie Dundee Golf Club’s 100 anniversary with a public party to be held June 22. (Mike Danahey/The Courier-News)

 



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