Archive for July 2010



Glenwoodie Golf Club

Posted by cjsharp1 on July 28, 2010 in Courses 3 Comments

To finish off the weekend, I drove all the way down to Crete, Illinois, but only to be turned away at Lincoln Oaks Golf Course because of a large golf outing. So instead, I drove north about 15 minutes to Glenwoodie Golf Club in Glenwood, Illinois, where I found a nearly empty golf course. Located approximately 25 miles from Chicago, Glenwoodie is the only golf course that is owned and operated by the Village of Glenwood.

Maybe the golf course was empty because it was after 3pm on a Sunday. Maybe it was empty because it was still fairly hot and humid. Maybe it was empty because of the large amount of rain that was dumped on the city, which forced the golf course to forgo renting their golf carts for the day. I’d put the blame on all of those, because honestly, who wants to walk 18 soggy holes on a Sunday afternoon in 90 degree weather?

Glenwoodie had a couple things working against them. First, it rained so much over the weekend that many areas of Chicago flooded. This didn’t help the course, because water pooled up in many areas of the fairway. So to prevent the grass from being destroyed by the golf cart, they decided to allow walking only. To make matters worse, their cart paths are not 100% paved. The cart paths are only fully paved around some of the greens and tee boxes. Outside of these areas, the cart paths are either a mixture of gravel and asphalt, or just a path of dead, beaten-down grass. Secondly, the location of the golf course seemed to be in a less-frequented, industrial area. Directly south of the course is a railway yard, and more south than that is a ground transportation hub for FedEx.

Luckily though, it seems that Glenwoodie is working to make things better. During my round, I walked by a lot of heavy machinery and areas under construction on the golf course. It did look like they are building paved cart paths in some of the areas, while in other areas it appeared they are shaping land for sand traps.

I actually had rather high expectations for Glenwoodie, mainly because I’ve had a lot of people over the last year or so ask me if I’ve played it. What I found is that Glenwoodie is just another golf course that is suitable for all levels of golfers. I felt the course was distinctively broken into two sides: the fairly-easy front nine, and the challenging back nine.

The fairways on the front nine are pretty open, flat, and straight. Water hazards touch two of the holes, including the 3rd hole, a 184 yard par-3 that requires a good amount of  distance control and accuracy to prevent the ball landing in the water in front of the green and the sand trap behind the green. Sand traps come into play on all holes, either along the fairway or near the green (although, as mentioned earlier, many seem to be under construction).

The holes on the back nine are random. Five of the holes are open and straight, while the other four work their way along small valley and a creek. All four holes that incorporate the creek required you to cross the whole valley, either by shooting across the valley or by laying up in a small area in the valley. Water hazards touch five of the holes, and sand traps are utilized the same way as the front nine.

The whole course consists of four par-3 and four par-5 holes, adding up to a length of 6,715 yards from the “Championship Tees”. For all holes, the greens are pretty big, but also have some large, challenging breaks in them.

Considering the condition of the course and the weather, I played pretty well. My drives were solid, but not always straight. I did play some more with my 3 wood and 3 hybrid, and I realized I need to work on accuracy when playing with those clubs off the fairway. My irons were decent, but still not the best. And my putting was, once again, pretty random. I 1-putted four times and 3-putted three times.

I actually shot my best round: 104. I made par four times, including the 1st and 9th holes (start strong, finish strong), as well as the 11th and 12th holes (a par-4 and par-3, respectively, that both incorporated the valley and the creek). Outside of that, I shot bogey once, and double-bogey or worse on all others.

Glenwoodie Golf Club – Scores & Stats
Course length: 6,425 yards (regular tee boxes)
Course par: 72
Course rating/slope: 70.2/118 (regular tee boxes)
My score: 104 (32 over par)

Glenwoodie Golf Club
19301 State Street
Glenwood, IL 60425

Billy Caldwell Golf Course

Posted by cjsharp1 on July 27, 2010 in Courses 0 Comments

Another hot Friday afternoon takes me to Billy Caldwell Golf Course in Chicago, located approximately 10 miles northwest of downtown Chicago. The course is part of the Forest Preserve Golf courses, which operates ten golf courses throughout Chicagoland, two of which are nine hole courses. Billy Caldwell is one of the Forest Preserve’s nine hole courses (the other is Meadowlark Golf Course in Hinsdale, Illinois).

The course measures in at 3,108 yards from the back tees, with eight par-4 holes and one par-3 hole. Water hazards touch two holes, the 5th hole (a 317 yard par-4) and the 7th hole (a 376 yard par-4). The edge of the water hazard on the 5th hole starts at about 130 yards from the green, but is only about 30 yards long. Both the tee box and the green for the 5th hole sit on top of a small hill, so it’s tempting to try to drive the green. If you’re a long hitter, feel free to try to go for the green, otherwise, just lay up to avoid hitting the water hazard.

I felt the course was very similar to the other Forest Preserve course I’ve played (actually, the first course in Chicago I played): Chick Evans Golf Course. The fairways were pretty flat and open, and are surrounded by tall trees. Only the 5th and 6th (a 149 yard par-3) holes have some hills to them. The grass for the rough was not much taller than the grass for the fairways, and there were a couple patches of dead grass on some of the fairways. The greens are maintained pretty well, and didn’t feel to fast or slow.

I started the round by myself, but quickly partnered up with a twosome behind me, thanks to a slow twosome in front of me. It turned out the twosome behind me was the assistant manager for the course, Nick, and his friend Dennis. They were both very nice and laid-back, and Nick was pretty helpful in assisting me on where to hit my shots, since he knew the course like the back of his hand. Nick actually told me he’s working on becoming a PGA Professional. Good luck to him.

I had another mediocre round. My drives were random, my iron shots were random, and my putting was random, but, all-in-all, I think it was good round. I got a par on two holes, the 3rd hole (a 293 yard par-4) and the 9th hole (a 390 yard par-4).

Actually, the 9th hole was the best for me. My drive went about 250 yards, and my second shot landed about 10 feet from the hole. At this point, I felt confident I could knock another goal off my list by making a birdie on a par-4. Unfortunately, no one was there to watch; Nick and Dennis left after the 8th hole. Still, I tried my hardest to make the putt, but ended up missing it, coming up short by five inches! Gah!

I ended up shooting a 50, which was 15 over par (and still on track to breaking 100). I 1-putted one time and 3-putted two times. Not too bad for a hot day in Chicago (with the heat index up in the 100’s). And, because of the heat, I probably lost 10 pounds along the way. Hooray!

Billy Caldwell Golf Course – Scores & Stats
Course length: 2,941 yards (white tee boxes)
Course par: 35
Course rating/slope: 68.0/112 (white tee boxes)
My score: 50 (15 over par)

Billy Caldwell Golf Course
6150 N. Caldwell Ave.
Chicago, IL 60646

Broken Arrow Golf Club – South/East Course

Posted by cjsharp1 on July 19, 2010 in Courses 1 Comment

To knock another course off my list, I joined Beth’s cousins, Dirk and Drew, and Dirk’s “friend”, Ryann, at Broken Arrow Golf Club in Lockport, Illinois. As I mentioned for my first round at Broken Arrow, the course is located approximately 25 miles southeast of Chicago. The golf club consists of three 9-hole, par-36 courses: the South course, the East course, and the North course, as well as a 9-hole links-style short course, appropriately called the West course. According to Broken Arrow’s website, the East course is the most challenging, the North course is the most scenic, and the South course has the most “landmarks of this historic farm”. Of the three courses, the North course is the longest course, measuring in 3,558 yards from the back tees. The North course also has two flags on each hole: a red flag for a shorter game and a blue flag for a longer game. All three courses consist of two par-3 and two par-5 holes, and offer a good amount of rolling hills and small trees surrounding the fairways, along with the standard water hazards and sand traps. For this round, we played the South and the East courses.

Not much changed since the first round… Broken Arrow is still a difficult course. This was confirmed by Ryann, who is one of Illinois’ top junior golfers. The fairways are pretty narrow, and both courses have their fair share of water hazards. On both the South and East courses, water touches eight of the holes.

I did much better this round, compared to my previous round at Broken Arrow. I did still have a lot of trouble on the South course, but that was mainly because I was having issues with my driving. By the time I got around to the East course, my driving improved greatly. In fact, even though the East course was supposed to be the most challenging, I actually did better on that course, because nearly all my drives were straight and long. My iron shots were still pretty good, but my chipping and approach shots were random. My putting was also random; I 1-putted four times and 3-putted five times.

I ended up shooting a 111. I shot a 61 on the South course, which was 11 strokes better than last time, and a 50 on the East course. I didn’t keep track of Ryann or Dirk’s score, and Drew had difficulty from the beginning, so we didn’t really keep track of his. I’m pretty sure Ryann shot in the 70’s. Just guessing, but I’m probably right.

Broken Arrow Golf Club – Scores & Stats
South course length: 3,177 yards (white tee boxes)
South course par: 36
East course length: 3,144 yards (white tee boxes)
East course par: 36
South to East course rating/slope: 71.4/129 (white tee boxes)
My score: 111 (39 over par, 61 on South, 50 on East)

Broken Arrow Golf Club
16325 West Broken Arrow Drive
Lockport, IL 60441

White Pines Golf Club – West Course

Posted by cjsharp1 on July 18, 2010 in Courses 0 Comments

To make use of a really nice Friday afternoon, I played a round at White Pines Golf Club in Bensenville, Illinois. White Pines Golf Club, located approximately 25 miles northwest of Chicago, is part of the Bensenville Park District. The golf club offers two 18-hole courses: the West course, a 6,624 yard par-72 course, and the East course, a 6,371 yard par-70 course. The golf club also runs the White Pines Golf Dome from the end of October to the beginning of May.

For this round, I went alone and was placed in a threesome on the West course. The longer of the two courses, the West course features four par-3 and four par-5 holes. Water touches 11 holes, including the two par-3 holes on the front nine, both of which you have to hit over a small body of water. Sand traps near the greens or fairways come into play on all holes except on the 12th hole, a 371 yard par-4. The fairways are mostly straight and flat, and surrounded by large trees. Only hole that has a slight dogleg is the 15th hole, a 515 yard par-5. The longest hole is the 11th, a 613 yard par-5 (from the back tees). The course seemed maintained very well.

Luckily, I got placed with two really nice guys, John and Ben, who are colleagues in the construction industry. Getting placed with strangers can be hit-or-miss. Sometimes you’ll play a round with people who are really good, and it’ll seem like they are waiting on you the whole time (like my round at Jackson Park Golf Course), or maybe you’ll get placed with people that seem unsocial and only talk to the people they came with (like my round at Square Links Golf Course). John and Ben were nothing like this. They were average enough where I could play my own [pretty bad] game without slowing them down, and they were nice enough to carry casual conversations throughout the round. It definitely made the round more enjoyable.

I ended up playing fairly average also. My drives were pretty random, but mostly straight. I had trouble getting loft out of drives (and after the round, I think I figured out why). My iron shots are still getting better. I think I only topped the ball when I was trying to overpower my swing or when I felt rushed. My chipping was pretty good and accurate. My putting was random also, but worse on the front nine compared to the back nine. The greens felt inconsistent, but mostly slow. I 1-putted two times and 3-putted only five times.

I ended up shooting a 114, and I’m fine with that. I feel that if I can just keep getting scores in the 110’s, I’ll eventually get close to meeting one of my 2010 goals. John and Ben shot a 97 and a 104, but I don’t remember who shot what. Overall, it was a decent round on a nice course. I’m looking forward to playing the other course at White Pines.

White Pines Golf Club – West Course – Scores & Stats
West course length: 6,335 yards (white tee boxes)
West course par: 72
West course rating/slope: 69.7/118 (white tee boxes)
My score: 114 (42 over par)

White Pines Golf Club
500 West Jefferson
Bensenville, IL 60106

Ken-Loch Golf Links

Posted by cjsharp1 on July 12, 2010 in Courses 0 Comments

There’s something nice about being able to kill a couple hours on a beautiful weekend. For me, at least within the last year or so, I haven’t been able to do that. Luckily, I had the opportunity to do such a thing before heading to a party at a friend’s house. Since I didn’t have the time to play a full 18, I found a small 9-hole executive course that was close to where I was going later. That course was Ken-Loch Golf Links.

Ken-Loch Golf Links is located in Lombard, IL, which is approximately 25 miles west of Chicago. The family-owned course features six par-3 holes and three par-4 holes for a total of 1,840 yards from the only tee box they offer. Although their scorecard does specify ladies tees, they are not marked on the course. For someone new to the course, it can be a little confusing finding your way from one hole to the next. For example, to get from the 3rd hole to the 4th, you have to walk down a dirt path next to a stagnant pond. Most, but not all, of tee boxes are labeled, and when they are, they are not consistently labeled. Water only touches the 8th hole, a 155 yard par-3, where you have to hit over a small [non-stagnant] pond onto the green that is about 120 yards away. The sand traps are pretty much non-existent, but it did look like they did exist at one point in time. The rolling fairways are surrounded by large trees, many of which play an integral role in making a hole difficult. On the 4th hole, a 305 yard par-4, there is about a 50 yard gap between trees that you have to hit in-between when you tee off, and after that gap, the fairway opens up wide. On the 5th hole, a 295 yard par-4, a large tree sits next to the fairway, turning the hole into a slight dogleg. I also felt the greens were pretty inconsistent. On your approach shots, the greens would seem fast, but when putting, the greens seemed very slow. This gave me a lot of trouble, since I couldn’t accurately judge how hard to hit my shot/putt.

The course, in general, is not anything like a country club. The parking lot is gravel, with the lanes marked by ropes. The clubhouse has a couple tables and a small selection of snacks and golf gear. I don’t think there is particularly anything wrong with this, and I played rounds at a couple courses that had even less to offer (namely any of the Chicago Park District courses). Still, the course, outside of the non-existent sand traps and poorly-labeled tee boxes, is maintained fairly well. As bad as the course sounds, I actually liked it. I think the course is great for beginners, while still somewhat interesting for more experienced players.

On top of all of this, they offer free replays, and I ended up taking advantage of this. I finished my first round in about an hour and a half, and I still had some time to kill, so I decided to play it again. I could have gone through the round a little faster, but I got slowed down by some new players. On both rounds, I ended up playing the 9th hole with the person[s] in front of me (the 9th hole, a 300 yard par-4, seemed to slow everyone down). Even though the course rate was a little on the high side ($14, cash only), the free replay definitely made it worth the price.

As for how I played, I felt like the rounds went well. I had a fairly good grasp on which clubs to use because of my round at Silver Lake’s Rolling Hills course. I still made solid contact with the ball using my irons, and only topped the ball two or three times. My shots were more straight and accurate during the second round. My approach shots with my pitching wedge and approach wedge were also pretty good. The only part that seemed bad was my putting, but I blame the greens for that. I 2-putted most of the holes, only 3-putting four times during both rounds. I couldn’t get par during the first round, but managed to get two pars during the second round. For the first round, I made seven bogeys and two double bogeys, and shot a 41 (11 over par). For the second round, I made two pars, four bogeys, two double-bogeys, and one triple-bogey, and shot a 41 again (11 over par).

My best shot of the day was during the second round on the 8th hole, the 155 yard par-3 over water. I ended up hitting the ball straight toward the pin and landing it a couple feet short of the hole. The ball rolled a bit, rolling right next to the hole, and stopped about five feet on the other side. I was probably 3-4 inches to the left of a hole-in-one. But honestly, since there was no one around to see it, I’m happy I didn’t get a hole-in-one on that shot.

Ken-Loch Golf Links – Scores & Stats
Course length: 1,840 yards
Course par: 30
My first round score: 41 (11 over par)
My second round score: 41 (11 over par)

Ken-Loch Golf Links
1 South 601 Finley Rd.
Lombard, IL 60148

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