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