Archive for October 2009



Maple Meadows Golf Club – West 18

Posted by cjsharp1 on October 23, 2009 in Courses 2 Comments

After the playing a round at Poplar Creek Country Club in 40 degree weather, I thought for sure I’d be done golfing for the year. Then suddenly, nearly two weeks later, Chicago was hit with some 60 degree weather. Taking advantage of this, I met up again with Trent Roberts at Maple Meadows Golf Club.

Maple Meadows is located in Wood Dale, Illinois, which is approximately 25 miles east of downtown Chicago. The course is owned by the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County, which also owns Green Meadows Golf Club (a 9-hole course) in Westmont and Oak Meadows Golf Club (an 18-hole course) in Addison. Of the three golf courses owned by DuPage Forest Preserve, Maple Meadows is the newest course, opening in 1998. The course actually consists of an 18-hole course called the West 18, and a 9-hole course called the East 9. Trent and I played on the West 18 course.

Although the course was the newest of the three, they still had some old, uncovered golf carts. While we were waiting to tee off, Trent talked to the course ranger about the carts, and the ranger explained that the reason they still have uncovered carts is because of the tunnels you have to go through in order to get the 1st holes of both the West 18 and East 9 courses. The tunnels are fairly small in width and height, and if the carts had the cover, someone could easily damage the cart while trying to go through the tunnels. The ranger did say that the course is going to be doing away with the tunnels over the winter break, and the carts would be replace with newer models with covers.

Maple Meadows is a par 70 course, measuring in at 6,438 yards from the back tees. The course consists of five par-3 and three par-5 holes. According to the course layout on the scorecard, water hazards touch nine of the hole. When we played, many of the water hazard had nearly no water and was overgrown by tall grass, almost to the point you couldn’t tell if it was actually meant to be a water hazard. For our round, only two of the holes had water touching it, and only one where you had to hit over water. Sand traps touch all of the holes, either on the fairway or near the green, and it looked like they were very well maintained, aside from the sand being a little packed down due to rain. According to the website, they describe the course as “a modern combination of links and prairie design”, which translates to rolling hills and small-to-medium sized trees.

I played a little better this round, compared to my last couple of rounds. My drives were still not where they used to be. I was making solid contact with the ball (at least it sounded and felt like it), but I wasn’t getting the distance I was seeing earlier in the year. I had two or three drives that actually looked like I knew what I was doing. For my iron shots, I topped at lot my shots, probably because I think I was standing up during my downswing. Near the end of the round, I also realized I was standing with my feet too close together, which caused me to sway left and right during my swing. After I noticed this, I started standing with my feet farther apart, and I did notice an improvement.

My chipping and approach shots were mediocre. A lot of shots with my pitching wedge shot sharply to the right, probably due to a weak grip or rotation of my wrist on my downswing. I really need to work on that. My putting was decent; I 1-putted 2 times and 2-putted 12 times. The greens were fairly challenging, due to hole placement and breaks in the greens, but the speed of the greens were inconsistent, because of rain the night before and a recent aerification of the greens.

I should also mention that the grass on the greens, the grass on the fringe of the greens, and the grass on the fairway leading up to the greens was very similar in height and hardness. Because of this, on some of the holes I decided to putt instead of chip (since my chipping was inconsistent) when the ball was within 5 feet of the edge of the green. It was from this spot where I made the best shot of the round. The ball sat about 5 feet from the edge of the green and about 30 feet from the hole, and there was a noticeable break toward the hole. I figured I would just putt it, let it roll down the break, and try to get it close to the hole for an easy tap in. Instead, it just went into the hole! It was also the only hole (a par-4) where I shot par!

I ended up shooting a 115 (45 over par), which I was pleased with because it’s my target average for the 2009 goal list. Trent didn’t have that good of a round (his excuse was he was playing with a different driver), but he still managed to shoot in the high 70’s. We finished our round in about 4-1/2 hours, and probably a little faster if some groups in front of us didn’t slow down. Trent and I weren’t the only ones who took advantage of a beautiful October day in Chicago.

Maple Meadows Golf Club – Scores & Stats
West 18 course length: 6,057 yards (white tee boxes)
West 18 course par: 70
West 18 course rating/slope: 68.3/118 (white tee boxes)
My score: 115 (45 over par)

Maple Meadows Golf Club
272 Addison Road
Wood Dale, IL 60191

Poplar Creek Country Club

Update: In 2010, Poplar Creek Country Club underwent a huge renovation, and is now known as the “Bridges of Poplar Creek Country Club“. The course now measures in at 6,500 yards from the back tees, and is still a par 70. Read more about the renovation over at Chicago Golf Report’s website.

The cold weather has hit the Chicagoland area. I know this first hand because I played in 40 degree weather for my round at Poplar Creek Country Club in Hoffman Estates, Illinois. Actually, if it wasn’t also cloudy and windy, I wouldn’t have minded it so much. When the sun peaked out and the wind stopped, it was actually bearable. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to play at Poplar Creek though. Fall rates for golf courses are starting to kick in, and this round cost me only about $30, with cart, compared to the normal $60+ non-resident rate. Anytime I can get a deal like that, I have to take advantage of it.

Poplar Creek Country Club is located approximately 30 miles northwest of downtown Chicago, and sits right next to the Poplar Creek Forest Preserve. The course is owned and operated by the Hoffman Estates Park District. Measuring in at 6,321 yards from the back tees, the course consists of four par-3 and two par-5 holes. Sand traps touch every hole either near the fairway or near the green. Water hazards touch 16 of the holes, 10 of which you have to hit over the water (including all of the par-3 holes). Aside from hitting over and around the water hazards on nearly every hole, the course layout was not too complicated. Only two of holes, both par-4’s, are slight doglegs, and the par-5 holes are under 520 yards from the back tees. Rolling hills and large trees on the sides of the fairways also kept things interesting.

For this round, I met up with Andy and a fellow Chicago golf blogger and ‘Twitterer’, Trent Roberts, from AverageGolfGuy.com and @AverageGolfGuy. Trent knows what he’s doing when it comes to golf; he’s far from a noob. Nearly all of his shots throughout the round were solid and straight, which only supports the fact that’s he a scratch golfer or better. As for Andy and I, we blame the cold weather for bringing out the worst in our game. On a nice summer day, Andy is actually a good golfer (compared to me), shooting bogey or double bogey at worst, and nearly always finishing in the 90’s.

Yes… The cold weather brought out the über-noob in me. I tried to offset it a little by warming up at Poplar Creek’s driving range an hour before our scheduled tee time. I think in that hour, I hit about five solid drives. I also worked on hitting with my 3 and 5 woods, but improved none. I did get some time to work on my chip shots, and I felt pretty confident in those.

When Trent and I checked in at the Pro Shop for our round, we were told that the cold weather forced a frost delay, which put our tee time behind schedule. There were still many groups waiting to play. To kill time, we all hit the driving range [again]. I still had trouble hitting my drives. Once again, I blame the cold weather.

We finally teed off nearly 45 minutes after our original scheduled time. Trent played from the back tees (because he’s just that good), while Andy and I played from the middle tees. As expected, my drive was pretty bad; hit low and ending up about 50 yards ahead of me. For the second shot, I attempted to use my 5 wood, but failed. That club didn’t leave the bag the rest of the round. I switched back to my trusty-ol’ 4 iron for those long fairway shots; I feel pretty confident with my 4 iron. For a couple of the holes, I tried driving with my 3 wood. Sometimes it worked better, and other times it didn’t help at all.

Andy and I were shooting about the same for the first couple of holes. By the time we got to the 8th hole, Andy had all but given up. The rest of his round was going to be just for practice. I tried to stick with my shots, but I found it difficult to keep pace with Trent’s good shots, Andy’s practice shots, and the group behind us (who looked pretty good).

When I finally got near the green, my chip shots were actually halfway decent. I think I’ve actually improved on my chip shots over the last couple of rounds. My putts were mediocre. I 2-putted 11 times and 3-putted the rest. The greens seemed fast on some holes and slow on others, so it was difficult to correctly determine the speed of my shots. While I’m talking about putting, I should also mention Andy’s putt on the 2nd hole. Nearly 50 feet from the hole on the fringe, Andy rolled in a shot that could only be considered “luck”.

Actually, I wish we could have videotaped many of our shots (they could have gotten a lot of traffic on YouTube). On the 2nd hole, a par-3, I teed off with my 5 iron, shooting over water that ended almost 120 yards in front of me. The ball flew high, dropped, hit the steel retention wall next to the water, bounced backwards, flying equally has high, and landed in the middle of the water. Trent and Andy broke out in laughter. I just stood there… shocked.

Then on the 5th hole, I teed off with my 3 wood. I duffed the ball, hitting it low along the ground. The ball hit the tee marker for the front tees, bounced off at a 90 degree angle, hit a wood retention wall next to the front tee boxes, and bounced back on the other side of the tee boxes. Once again, Trent and Andy broke out in laughter. I also started cracking up.

I ended up shooting a 122 (52 over par), a score that I’ve seem to be hovering around the last couple of rounds. When Andy gave up all hope for a decent round on the 8th hole, I was up 3 strokes on him. I don’t even know if Trent was keeping his score, but I’d imagine he got in the 70’s. We finished our round in about 5 or 6 hours… way too slow of a pace for that type of weather.

As we were playing the round, Trent and I talked about course reviews. He mentioned that he thinks Poplar Creek would not be a good course for a beginner, due to amount of water that surrounds the holes, and I completely agree with him. I remember when I first started playing, the shots over water hazards always intimidated me. I’m starting to get used to it more though, since I’m gaining more confidence in my iron shots. Making shots over water is something that every beginner is going to have to overcome anyway, so just stock up on some cheap recycled balls and swing away.

Poplar Creek Country Club – Scores & Stats
Course length: 5,905 yards (white tee boxes)
Course par: 70
Course rating/slope: 69.7/131 (white tee boxes)
My score: 122 (52 over par)

Poplar Creek Country Club
1400 Poplar Creek Drive
Hoffman Estates, IL 60169

Follow Me on Twitter!

Posted by cjsharp1 on October 11, 2009 in News 1 Comment

That’s right! Not only can you read my blog posts here, you can also get my updates via Twitter. Follow @ChicagoGolfNoob on Twitter, and you’ll get updates on my upcoming rounds, notifications of my blog posts, miscellaneous thoughts, and other random links. I’m also looking for other Chicago golfers on Twitter, so if you follow me, shoot me a message and let me know you live in the Chicagoland area.

Terminology: Wolf

Posted by cjsharp1 on October 4, 2009 in Terminology 4 Comments

As I mentioned previously in the round at the Meadows Golf Club of Blue Island, we played a side game called “Wolf”. Here’s the description, thanks to About.com’s Golf Section:

Wolf is a betting game or points game for a group of four players.Players rotate being the “Wolf.” The player designated as the “Wolf” gets to choose whether to play the hole 1 against 3 (himself against the other three players in the group) or 2 on 2.

And if the Wolf chooses to play 2 on 2, he must choose his partner immediately following that player’s drive. Example: Player A is the Wolf. Player B hits a bad drive. Player C hits a pretty good drive. If the Wolf wants C as a partner, he must claim his partner before Player D hits his tee ball.

The side with the lowest better ball score wins the hole. If it’s 2 on 2, then the winning side wins the bet. If it’s 1 on 3, the Wolf wins double or loses double.

There’s also Lone Wolf, in which the Wolf announces before anyone tees off – including himself – that he’s going it alone, 1 on 3. On a Lone Wolf hole, the Wolf wins triple or loses triple.

Also Known As: “Ship, Captain & Crew” or “Boss”

Of course, we didn’t involve money in this side game, since we all knew the money would have went to Mike (who also suggested playing the game). It was pretty fun to play, and kept things interesting throughout the round.

Meadows Golf Club of Blue Island

Posted by cjsharp1 on October 4, 2009 in Courses 1 Comment

As the end of the golf season and the beginning of cold weather is approaching, I’m trying to squeeze in a couple more rounds of golf in order to get somewhat close to meeting the 2009 goal list. A free Saturday in October gave me a perfect chance to meet up with a couple of friends at the Meadows Golf Club of Blue Island. Located in Blue Island, Illinois, approximately 20 miles south of downtown Chicago, the Meadows is an 18 hole regulation course that opened in 1994.

At first glance, the Meadows doesn’t look like a difficult course, but there are some parts that are a bit challenging. The course is not too flat, with small trees scattered between the holes, and it consists of five par-3 and four par-5 holes. Six of the holes touch a water hazard, and all holes except one contains sand traps near the greens. Two par-5 holes (the 10th and the 15th), are slight double doglegs, and the 11th hole, a 455 yard par-4 (from the back tees), is almost long enough to classify as a par-5 hole. The greens were fairly challenging also, with many of the holes placed next to slopes that pushed your ball away from the hole.

For this round, the course was pretty wet, due to the amount of rain the Chicagoland area recieved on Friday night. The course had quite a few little puddles of water, which made things interesting when you hit your ball around that area, and a couple of the sand traps could have been classified as water hazards.

I played the round with Mike, Matt, and Adam, all of which had a better round than me. I played really badly; my worst round to date. I consistently topped the ball, and had a lot of difficulty hitting the ball straight. My drives also did awkward things, which made the par-5 holes and the long par-4 holes even more difficult than they were originally. The greens were surprisingly fast considering the rain, and the slopes on the greens gave me a lot of trouble.

All of that aside, I did get lucky a few times. On the 2nd hole (a par-3), I teed off and landed on the green, but turned around a 3-putted for a bogey, and on the 6th hole (a par-4), I stringed a couple good shots together to get par. Thoughout the round, I got 1 par, 1 bogey, 7 double bogeys, and 9 “lets-just-forget-that-hole” scores. I 1-putted 1 time and 2-putted 9 times.

I ended up shooting a 127, thanks two to holes that I completely melted down on (if I didn’t play so badly on those holes, my score would have been around 115). Mike shot a 91, Adam shot a 102, and Matt shot a 111. During the round, we also played a side game called “Wolf”, which I’ll be explaining in an upcoming post. Mike won the side game with a score of 15, while Matt scored 9, Adam scored 7, and I scored 5.

I think I need to just get to the driving range a bit more often, and start working on hitting my 3 and 5 wood off the grass, which should make those par-5 holes a lot easier to handle.

Meadows Golf Club of Blue Island – Scores & Stats
Course length: 6,287 yards (white tee boxes)
Course par: 71
Course rating/slope: 68.1/114 (white tee boxes)
My score: 127 (56 over par)
Mike’s score: 91 (20 over par)
Adam’s score: 102 (31 over par)
Matt’s score: 111 (40 over par)

Meadows Golf Club of Blue Island
2802 W. 123rd St
Blue Island, IL 60406

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