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