Coming off lessons that completely changed my game, I knew I had some practicing to do to get comfortable with my swing. Most of the practice I needed was with my irons, so I decided to play a couple of short 9-hole courses. The first course I played was Palos Hill Golf Club. The course is located in Palos Hills, Illinois, which is approximately 17 miles southwest of Chicago, and is run by the City of Palos Hills. Prior to the course opening in 1990, the land it sits on used to be a 45-acre landfill.

Palos Hills Golf Club is a 9-hole course consisting of three par-3 and two par-5 holes, with a total length of 2,838 yards from the back tees and a total par of 35. The fairways are pretty flat and straight, and are surrounded by large trees and high grass. Water touches five holes, but on three of the holes, the water is a very small pond that should not cause much harm. On the other two holes, you have to tee off over a medium-sized creek. Sand hazards touch every hole, mostly near the greens. The sand traps are placed very well; they gave me a lot of trouble. I think I hit must of hit the sand trap on five or six holes. The greens are pretty large with easy breaks.

The par-5 holes are pretty short, measuring in at 462 yards from the back tee on the 2nd hole, and 518 yards from the back tee on the 5th hole. Long hitters should have no problem making a birdie on those holes. The par-3 holes range from 147 yards to 167 yards from the back tees. The most menacing hole (but not the most difficult hole), in my opinion, is the 9th hole, a 367 yard par-4. On this hole, you tee off over the creek at an angle, and there’s a small area to hit though. The fairway goes slightly uphill, and you can’t see the pin. Hit too far left, and you’ll be in a tree then some high grass. Hit too far right, and you’ll lose your ball in the creek or trees. After your first shot, there’s a slight dogleg to the green that is surrounded by sand traps on all sides.

When I played, the course had just rearranged the hole numbers, so it was a little difficult to figure out where to go after each hole. The hole markers are not necessary in the best place on the tee boxes, and the pathway from one hole’s green to the next hole’s tee box may only be noted by the path of trampled grass. I’m sure this is something they will fix over time. There were some patches of grass on the fairways that were dried-out and sun-burnt, mainly due to the weather Chicago has been experiencing over the last month or so. I did read somewhere that, due to municipal watering ordinances, the course can not water the grass on the holes. So if you play the course in a dry part of the summer, expect the fairways to be dry also.

As for my game, I feel like I played OK. My drives were much, much straighter than my previous rounds. I wasn’t completely comfortable with my irons, and my shots were still a little inaccurate. I’m not completely convinced the new grip and stance works well for my chipping, so I’ll probably go back to my old habits for those shots. And I’m slowly getting used to my new putter. I definitely have to put less power into my putts. Aside from that, my putting was also OK. I 1-putted two times and 3-putted two times. Not too bad; much better than my last couple of rounds.

I shot a 51, which was 16 over par. I made par on only the 8th hole, a 165 yards par-3. I made bogey on one hole, double-bogey on six holes, and triple-bogey on one hole. So, not too bad of a round, and still on track with how I’ve been playing in the past. It was nice to see my drives go much straighter, and I think it’s only a matter of time until I start getting comfortable with my iron shots.

Palos Hills Golf Club – Scores & Stats
Course length: 2,610 (white tee boxes)
Course par: 35
Course rating/slope: 66.2/113 (white tee boxes)
My score: 51 (16 over par)

Palos Hills Golf Club
7301 West 105th Street
Palos Hills, IL 60465