Archive for September 2010



Indian Boundary Golf Course

Posted by cjsharp1 on September 29, 2010 in Courses 1 Comment

Finishing off the weekend, I played a round at Indian Boundary Golf Course, near the west side of Chicago, approximately 15 miles from downtown Chicago. Indian Boundary is part of the Forest Preserve Golf courses, which operates ten golf courses throughout Chicagoland (including Chick Evans and Billy Caldwell, two other courses I have played so far). Like all other Forest Preserve Golf courses, Indian Boundary is a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary.

The course features four par-3 and four par-5 holes for a course par of 72 at a length of 6,068 yards from the back tees. The fairways are very wide open, pretty flat, and are surrounded by large trees. You will not find any houses backing up to the fairways. All of the holes are pretty straight, with the exception of four holes that have a slight dogleg. Water only touches four holes, and you must carry water on only the 8th hole, a 130 yard par-3. Water does touch two of the holes pretty closely though: the 7th hole, a 344 yard par-4 dogleg, and the 16th hole, a 468 yard par-5 dogleg. The only unfortunate thing about this course is the water hazard near the 16th is almost gone; as in, the water level is very, very low. Sand traps are found mostly next to the greens, but some areas near the fairways look like they were shaped to be sand traps at one time. The greens are a decent size with some challenging breaks. Compared to the other two Forest Preserve Golf courses I’ve played, Indian Boundary seems to be very well maintained. There appeared to be a notable difference between the grass for the rough and the grass for the fairways, which is different than the other two courses I’ve played. Indian Boundary is the same price as Chick Evans, about the same distance from downtown Chicago, and is a much nicer course to play on.

For this round, I played with three other members of the Chicago Co-Ed Golf Meetup Group, Sharad, Patrick and Evaline. Our group was actually one of five groups in a regular outing by the meetup group; 20 golfers total (including Susie, from the Villa Olivia round). The group consisted of many different levels of players; from “hackers” (Evaline said she was a “hacker”, but I think she was just holding back) to golfers with handicaps in the single-digits. I would say that Sharad and Patrick were in the middle, and played a little better than my level.

I felt like I played a good round. Maybe it was because I was actually playing well, or because the course was wide open and forgiving to beginners. My drives were mostly straight, and when they were straight, they were pretty long. I felt really comfortable with my drives, and I took my time setting up and remembering my focus points before each drive. I didn’t feel rushed and I didn’t feel like I overpowered my drives, which probably helped me a lot. My iron shots were good and accurate. I think I topped the ball only a couple of times. My tee shots with my irons on the par-3 holes were much improved over the last couple of rounds. My putting wasn’t the best on the front nine, but a little better on the back nine. I missed a lot of putts by a very small margin. I 1-putted just once and 3-putted six times.

This round had all the makings of a sub-100 round. I made par on just one hole, but made bogey on nine holes and double bogey on five holes. The only thing that killed me was the 16th hole, the 468 yard par-5 dogleg. I ended up shooting a 10 on that hole (5 over par), thanks to a small gathering of trees on the right side of the fairway (which I hit a couple of times), and the nearly-drained water hazard. If it wasn’t for that hole, or maybe a couple of 3-putts, I would have broken 100. I shot a 102 for the round (30 over par); 49 on the front nine and 53 on the back nine.

I think Indian Boundary is a great course for beginners and intermediate players, but may be a little too short and easy for experienced golfers. The course’s greens fees are competitive with other courses in the area, and is one of the cheapest courses out of all of the Forest Preserve Golf courses. If you ever get a chance to play this course, do it.

Indian Boundary Golf Course – Scores & Stats
Course length: 5,499 (white tee boxes)
Course par: 72
Course rating/slope: 65.8/110 (white tee boxes)
My score: 102 (30 over par)

Indian Boundary Golf Course
8600 W Forest Preserve Avenue
Chicago, IL 60634

Old Orchard Country Club

Posted by cjsharp1 on September 28, 2010 in Courses 0 Comments

Starting a weekend of golf, I played an afternoon round at Old Orchard Country Club. Old Orchard is located in Mount Prospect, Illinois, which is approximately 25 northwest of Chicago. The course was established in 1932 by a local family, then was purchased in 1999 by the Prospect Heights Park District.

Old Orchard features five par-3 and three par-5 holes for a course par of 70 at a length of 6,187 yards from the back tees. The fairways are pretty narrow with rolling hills and are evenly surrounded by large trees. Five of the holes have a slight dogleg. Water hazards touch 11 of the holes, six of which you must carry over, including the 4th hole, a 413 yard par-4 with a dogleg, where your tee shot must carry over a large pond. Sand traps are found on nearly every hole, both on the fairways and around the greens. The greens are a fairly good size with some challenging breaks. The course wraps around a really small subdivision, and it can sometimes be confusing to find your way from one green to the next tee box.

I played this course thanks to another deal found on Groupon.com, which offered the standard $77.50 rate (with cart) for $37. The course was packed, possibly with many other players using their coupons, mainly because the coupon expired at the end of September. That’s one reason why I was stuck with an almost-twilight tee time, even though I booked my tee time early in the week. Late tee times (after 3:00pm) for 18-hole rounds this time of the year are risky, because you’ll could get stuck behind a couple slow groups, which pushes the end of your round into after sunset. For this round, I was placed with two other players with coupons, Keith and Brent. Keith and Brent, both friends, hadn’t played a lot of golf this year. They were still both pretty good, which made the round go a little faster than normal. We ended up passing a foursome in front of us early in our round, which helped us complete the course in right under four hours, just before sunset.

I feel like I played an OK round. Previously in the week, I went to the driving range and worked on trying to figure out how to straighten my drives. I came away that day with a couple points to focus on during my setup and my drive. On the front nine, my drives were pretty good; nice and straight. On the back nice, as the sun started to set and the temperature started to drop, my drives got worse, and I started slicing right. I could have possibly been rushing myself and forgetting my focus points too. My iron shots were mostly inaccurate, and I think that was because I wasn’t always following through with my shot. My putting was pretty bad on the front nine, but better on the back nine. I 1-putted three times (all on the back nine) and 3-putted five times.

I shot a 117 for the round (47 over par); 61 on the front nine, 56 on the back nine. I only made two bogeys, both on par-3 holes. All other holes were double bogey or worse. I didn’t get to see how Keith or Brent played, but it seemed they were playing about the same level as me.

Before I end, I want to say that I don’t think this course is worth the full price you would normally have to pay ($77.50 with cart). Yes, the course looked in great condition, seemed properly maintained, and is pretty challenging, but for many of the holes, if not all, the yardage markers were very hard to find (if they even existed). Also, I heard a lot of people had trouble with their golf carts. My golf cart took a long time to accelerate, and Keith and Brent’s cart didn’t properly brake. Their cart also had a small GPS on it, while mine didn’t. With a regular rate like that, you can go to some other really nice and popular courses in the area.

According to Old Orchard’s website, they “offer a country club experience to the general public; and personal service and course conditions that rival private clubs”. They also state that when the Prospect Heights Park District purchased the course they “made a commitment to continue offering country club service and conditions to the general public”. If this is the case then I would hope they would maintain their carts a little better, and provide GPS on all carts. Or at the least, make the yardage markers easy to find. Moral of the story: don’t pay full price for this course. Wait until you find a coupon for a discounted rate (which they sometimes offer on their website).

Old Orchard Country Club – Scores & Stats
Course length: 5,795 yards (white tee boxes)
Course par: 70
Course rating/slope: 68.8/130 (white tee boxes)
My score: 117 (47 over par)

Old Orchard Country Club
700 West Rand Road
Mount Prospect, IL 60056

Villa Olivia Country Club

Posted by cjsharp1 on September 25, 2010 in Courses 0 Comments

As the golf season is coming to a close, I’m trying to squeeze in a couple more rounds. So over the weekend, I played a round at Villa Olivia Country Club in Barlett, Illinois, which is approximately 30 miles northwest of Chicago. The course opened in 1926 on the estate named after the original owner’s daughter. In 1968, the new owners opened a small ski facility for the winter months.

The course features four par-3 and five par-5 holes for a total par of 73 at a length of 6,510 yards from the back tees. The fairways on the front nine are mostly flat, while the fairways on the back nine traverse the ski hill (in other words, sometimes pretty hilly and pretty steep). All of the holes are fairly straight and open, and are surrounded by large trees. The course weaves its way through the local subdivision, which backs up very closely to the course in some areas. A drive that pushes/slices to the right on the 17th hole, a 402 yard par-4, will surely go out of bounds and hit a house. Water touches seven of the holes and sand traps are sparsely scattered throughout the fairways and near greens. The greens are random in size and mostly contain some interesting breaks.

I played this round with Susie, a member of the Chicago Co-Ed Golf Meetup Group. I joined this group to meet more golfers in the Chicagoland area, which will hopefully make this project more enjoyable (not saying I don’t enjoy this…). Susie has been playing about as long as me, and has taken a love to the sport. She’s been playing a lot of golf recently, and has gotten pretty good in a short period of time. Her shots are very straight and accurate, but lack some power and distance, which is something she’ll learn over time.

As for my shots, I’m still all over the place. My drives were mostly right, like always, but I think that was because I wasn’t focusing on the swing I learned during my lessons. The good thing though is that all of my drives had some distance. I did have some trouble teeing off with my irons on the par-3 holes, and I think that was because I was overpowering my shot. My irons were decent, but lacked loft. I think I know how to fix that. My putting was mostly decent, but I did have a couple 3-putts because of the breaks. I’m also still trying to get used to my new putter. I 1-putted five times and 3-putted five times.

For the round, I shot a 116. which broke down into one par, two bogeys, and a bunch of double bogeys or worse. Susie shot a 117, which included a birdie on the 2nd hole, a 345 yard par-4, then a 12 on the 3rd hole, a 420 yard par-4. To say the least, Susie had some odd luck during her round.

I think I really need to start focusing on figuring out how to get rid of the slice on my drives. I sometimes felt uncomfortable playing this round, since a lot of the fairways have houses on the right side. The last thing I wanted to do is hit a house and/or break a window. Plus, it’ll help get my score down, so I can hopefully break 100.

Villa Olivia Country Club – Scores & Stats
Course length: 6,205 (white tee boxes)
Course par: 73
Course rating/slope: 70.1/122 (white tee boxes)
My score: 116 (43 over par)

Villa Olivia Country Club
1401 W Lake Street
Bartlett, IL 60103

Tri Way Labor Day 2-Person Scramble

Posted by cjsharp1 on September 11, 2010 in Events 0 Comments

I finished the long Labor Day weekend with one more golf scramble: the Tri Way Labor Day 2-Person Scramble. I initially didn’t know about this scramble, until I saw it listed in the Blueberry Festival program the day before Plymouth Rock’s 2-Person Scramble. I figured this scramble would be a good way to complete another goal for the season.

The scramble was held at Tri Way Golf Club, which is just 4 miles north of Plymouth Rock Golf Course, located in Plymouth, Indiana. The course has been family designed, owned and operated since 1966. The course offers both 4-person and 2-person golf scrambles throughout the season, including a 4-person scramble the day before Labor Day and this 2-person scramble on Labor Day.

The course features four par-3 and three par-5 holes for a total par of 71 at a length of 6,250 yards from the back tees. The par-3 holes are fairly long, ranging from 165 yards to 235 yards from the back tees. The fairway are mostly straight and flat on the front nine and narrow and hilly on the back nine, and all fairways are surrounded by medium- to large-sized trees. Two of the holes are doglegs: the 8th hole, a 490 yard par-5 (which is almost a double dogleg), and the 16th hole, a 510 yard par-5. Water hazards touch seven of the holes, four of which you must carry your shot over. Sand traps are sparsely found near the greens on just eight holes. Greens are a decent size with some challenging breaks.

For this scramble, I recruited Dirk (from my first round at Plymouth Rock and my second round at Broken Arrow). Dirk is still learning how to play, but he occasionally has some nice drives and approach shots, so I figured this would be a fun, laid-back scramble to finish the holiday weekend.

We started the scramble on the 8th hole, the 490-yar par-5 that seemed like a double dogleg, with two regulars to the golf course, Bill and Dave (a.k.a. Doc). They actually told us the coordinator of the scramble intentionally paired us with them because they thought we were out-of-towners who didn’t know the course. Nice guess.

I felt like the round went pretty well. Dirk was hitting some nice drives, equally contributing to the shots we would play, and my drives were much better than the scramble the day before, although I did have a couple drives that sliced right into another fairway, scaring the group behind us. Our approach shots were random, with both of us contributing to good shots and bad shots, and pretty much the same for our putting. I wasn’t really expecting much out of this round, except to just have fun playing another scramble, and I did have a good time. I think I started to get a little more comfortable with my drives (and I might have figured out some things I was doing wrong), and Dirk got to learn a little more about the game. Even better, Bill and Dave were nice guys who didn’t mind playing the round with a couple noobs.

We ended up shooting a 96 (25 over par), which broke down into four pars, five bogeys, seven double bogeys, and two triple bogeys. Out of 16 teams in the scramble, we got last place! In fact, we got last place by 14 strokes! For some reason, I found this pretty amusing, and was very proud of our last place status. The first place team shot a 65, and Bill and Dave shot in the low 70’s. The only thing I didn’t like about this scramble was it was a flightless tournament, and last place didn’t get a consolation prize. But, hey, what can you expect?

2010 Blueberry 2-Person Scramble

Posted by cjsharp1 on September 8, 2010 in Events 0 Comments

My first scramble of the 2010 season occured over Labor Day weekend at Plymouth Rock Golf Course, located in Plymouth, Indiana, for their Blueberry 2-Person Scramble. The scramble is part of the Marshall County Blueberry Festival. This is the same scramble that Adam and I played in last year (where we placed 24th out of 26 with our score of 91).

The Blueberry Festival tournament at Plymouth Rock is four different tournaments within a two day span. On the first day, they hold a 2-person best ball tournament in the morning, followed by an individual tournament in the afternoon. On the second day, they hold a 2-person scramble tournament in the morning, followed by another individual tournament (where you can play both days, or just one day). The tournament pays out prizes to the top teams in each flight, along with prizes for longest drive, closest to the pin, and longest putt on various holes.

Once again, I recruited Adam as my teammate, hoping to improve on our score from last year. This year, we went into the scramble with the mantra “bogey or better”, which would put our score at 90 or better. I felt this score was very obtainable, since we both have improved over the last year (and we both have new sets of clubs).

We started this year on the 14th hole, a 177 yard par-3, with a father/son team, Eric and Russ. Eric and Russ actually won the 2-person scramble last year, thanks to two eagles they made during their round. Luckily this time, we didn’t have a crowd watching us tee off. It took me a while to get warmed up with my tee shots. I kept on topping the ball, or hitting it with a very low trajectory. My drives didn’t start getting better until after 9 or 10 holes. Luckily, Adam was having good luck with his tee shots, so we mostly used his shots. For approach shots and chips, both Adam and I had good shots and bad shots, so it was really random who’s shots we used. As for putting, I feel like I had the most trouble. Most of my putts were just slightly off to the left or right; I couldn’t seem to sink any putt.

I should mention that Eric had some amazing tee shots. Not all of his drives were the best, but when he made a nice drive, it was long… really long. In fact, Eric won longest drive on the 18th hole, a 315 yard par-4, with a drive that landed on the edge of the green… a 300+ yard drive. Russ had some great drives too. He was very consistent with his shots, and made up for Eric’s occasional bad drives.

Like last year, we had the most trouble on the 17th hole, a 593 yard par-5. Our tee shot sliced right into the woods, and our approach shots were just not accurate. We ended up shooting a triple bogey on that hole again. The rest of the round was very similar to bogey golf. We shot seven pars, six bogeys, four double bogeys, and one triple bogey, putting our round score at 89 (17 over par).

Our score of 89 put us in 22nd place out of 26 teams; the same number of teams as last year. We were 2nd in our flight, but won nothing for it. The first place team shot a 67. The last place team shot a 105. Eric and Russ took 4th place with a score of 69, I think.

Once again, we were happy we didn’t get last place, we were happy we got placed with a great team, but we were even more happy we met our “bogey or better” goal. Next year, we are going to strive to make “bogey or better” on every hole, including that difficult 17th hole, in order to get a score better than 89.

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