A small design firm in Melbourne, Australia, has won the contract to fully redesign Medinah Country Club’s famed No. 3 course outside Chicago – after making their entire pitch remotely via Zoom.
The company – OCM, which stands for Ogilvy, Cocking and Mead and boasts 2006 US Open champion Geoff Ogilvy as one its principals – was informed late last year that it had won the job, despite being in COVID lockdown and not actually visiting Medinah during the tender process.
Relying on Ogilvy’s knowledge of the course – he played the 2006 PGA Championship there months after winning his only major – and extraordinary forensic research from partners Ashley Mead and Mike Cocking, the team, by all accounts, made a strong initial impression. Among the OCM discoveries was rare aerial footage of the course from the 1930s as well as evidence that A.W. Tillinghast, the great American architect who was responsible for Winged Foot and Baltusrol (among many others), might have influenced some early decisions at Medinah.
But the clincher came when Medinah’s powers-that-be travelled to Shady Oaks Country Club in Texas – where OCM had recently conducted a redesign of both the Little Nine and the main layout – and sought feedback from Ben Hogan’s old club about the experience with the boutique Australian firm. Such was the positive commentary about OCM’s work, the head of the Medinah sub-committee rang Cocking shortly after to deliver the good news.
“It’s an enormous honour – I can’t think of an Australian firm that has won a project like this at such an established, high-end country club in the US,” Cocking told GGP.
He said the OCM team had to be resourceful to overcome the significant obstacle of being based in Australia, while both countries were in the grips of the coronavirus pandemic, and having to conduct all their interviews and presentations via Zoom.
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