Congressional Country Club has decided to cut ties with golf course architect Keith Foster. The club’s Board of Governors came to the decision this morning and will begin the process of finding a new architect.
The move came following Wednesday’s news that Foster had plead guilty to illegally transporting between $250,000 and $500,000 worth of items made from endangered species, migratory birds and other wildlife. Foster potentially faces up to five years in prison.
In an email to the membership, Club President Bev Lane remarked, “The permitting phase of the Blue Course restoration project will continue as planned. A list of golf course architects has been developed and initial discussions with them have already begun.”
There will be a great deal of pressure on Congressional to find a new architect, with the Blue Course slated to host nine PGA events in the next 18 years. The club’s first will be the 2022 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship and also includes the 2031 PGA Championship and 2036 Ryder Cup.
Keith Foster’s plan called for Congressional Country Club to restore the Blue Course to the original 1924 Devereux Emmett plan. The club and Foster had planned to break ground in the fall of 2019. Sources tell The Fried Egg that Foster’s restoration plan called for a $30 million overhaul of the Blue Course and the club’s practice and teaching facility. Over the years, changes to the Blue Course had been made by Donald Ross, Robert Trent Jones and most recently Rees Jones.
The Blue Course has a long history of championship golf, hosting three U.S. Opens (1964, 1997 & 2011) and the 1976 PGA Championship. With a Foster master plan already in place, it will be interesting to see whether the new architect will create his own or use the Foster guide.
Keith Foster has also been let go at Olympia Fields Country Club following the news of his guilty plea. The club and Foster were in the early stages of masterplanning at the historic club.
Olympia Fields released a statement to their membership “we have done our best to mitigate the Club’s damages resulting from his admitted offenses and are proceeding to formulate a plan to move forward with another architect.”
Before selecting Foster, Olympia Fields was considering Andy Staples, Tom Doak and Jim Urbina.
Rumors are that Foster has also been let go at Omaha Country Club and Brook Hollow Country Club. Keith Foster appeared on The Fried Egg Podcast in November 2016.