Archive for October 2010



Fountain Hills Golf Club

Posted by cjsharp1 on October 19, 2010 in Courses 0 Comments

Another weekend round of autumn golf takes me to Fountain Hills Golf Club in Alsip, Illinois, located approximately 20 miles south of Chicago. Fountain Hills is the only golf course owned and operated by the Alsip Park District. Compared to other courses in the Chicagoland area, this is a relatively new course that opened in 1995.

The 9-hole course features two par-3 and two par-5 holes, with a total par of 36 at a length of 3,233 yards from the back tees. The rolling fairways are surrounded by various-sized trees and hills. The fairways are mostly straight, with this exception of the 6th hole, a 517 yard par-4, that doglegs close to the green. Water hazards, all of which are small ponds, touch six holes. Mostly notably, there is water on both sides of the 9th hole, a 340 yard par-4, where shots must be placed accurately, from the tee shot to the approach shot. A minimal amount of sand traps are found on almost all the holes, mostly near the greens. The greens are large and generally flat. Any challenges on the greens come from the pitch of the greens. I didn’t really notice any complicated breaks on the greens. As expected this time of year at park district courses, the grass around the greens could use a bit of maintenance.

I played this round with Susie (from the round at Villa Olivia), and two other members of the Chicago Co-Ed Golf Meetup Group, Rosa and Ann. I’d say we were all about the same skill level. We all had our good shots and our bad shots, and, in the end, I think we all scored about the same. We ended up playing the course twice, since the replay fee was pretty cheap.

I feel like I played some decent rounds, not the best, but not the worst. My drives were random again, but mostly sliced right. Throughout the round, I tried different things to get my drives to straighten up. The things that I think worked the best was making sure I had the proper grip, keeping my elbows together, and following through after hitting the ball. Near the middle of the second round (the replay), my drives were starting to straighten up. I felt really comfortable with my iron shots. I was making solid contact, getting good distance, and placing the balls very accurately. It was probably the first time I felt like I could hit with my irons without worrying about topping or duffing the ball. My chip shots were decent also, usually setting me up for a short putt. My putting was very random. The greens seemed to be fast on most holes, but slow on others.

For the first round, I shot a 51 (15 over par) with five bogeys and two double bogeys. I 1-putted twice and 3-putted three times. For the second round, I shot a 50 (14 over par) with two pars, one bogey, and five double bogeys. I 1-putted once and 3-putted twice.

So that’s another round, and it may be my last round for the season, unless we get a nice weekend in late-October or early-November. Who knows… maybe I’ll find a couple people to play a round of winter golf with me. That should be fun.

Fountain Hills Golf Club – Scores & Stats
Course length: 3,061 yards (white tee boxes)
Course par: 36
Course rating/slope: 34.3/109 (white tee boxes)
My first round score: 51 (15 over par)
My second round score: 50 (14 over par)

Fountain Hills Golf Club
12601 S Kedzie Ave
Alsip, IL 60803

Robert A. Black Golf Course

Posted by cjsharp1 on October 19, 2010 in Courses 0 Comments

I like it when the nice weather lasts into October. The weather was actually almost too nice of a day, with the temperatures above 80 degrees (it was also the day of the Chicago Marathon, which sucks for them). So I played a short round of golf at Robert A. Black Golf Course, just ten miles north of downtown Chicago. Robert A. Black Golf Course is part of the Chicago Park District, which runs six golf courses throughout Chicagoland. Of the six golf courses, there are five 9-hole courses, including Robert A. Black, and one 18-hole course, Jackson Park Golf Course (which I played last year).

The course features one par-5 and four par-3 holes for a total par of 33 at a length of 2,339 yards from the back tees (there are actually just two tee boxes: blue and red). The fairways are open and flat, and are surrounded by large trees. The holes are mostly straight, with the exception of the 3rd hole, a 341 yard par-4, that is a dogleg left (which is something I don’t see very often). There are no water hazards on the course, but there are a fair amount of sand traps near the fairways and the greens. The sand traps actually look like they could be a made a lot larger, if that what the course designer intended. Around some of the sand traps, there is a wood edging that could mark the boundary of the sand trap. Either that, or sand traps are poorly maintained and are overgrown with grass. The greens are fairly large with some challenging breaks.

Once again, I played this round with some members of the Chicago Co-Ed Golf Meetup Group. Our group was one of three groups in an outing by the meetup group; 12 golfers total. Once again, there was a wide range of skill levels in the group. I think my skill level in my group was about in the middle, in between one golfer that has played less that five rounds, and one golfer that works for a private golf course.

I felt like I played like a beginner this round. My drives were pretty bad. I either sliced them right, or duffed them 40 yards in front of me. I don’t really know what I was doing wrong, but it probably involved me reverting back to how my swing was before my lesson at TopGolf. Knowing anything, I was changing my grip or standing up during my swing. My second shot with my irons continued to help out, putting me back in play after a sliced drive. Tee shots with my irons were mostly inaccurate or duffed. Maybe it’s just something about the being in the tee box that messes with my swing. My putting was decent. I tried to focus on 2-putting or better. I ended up 2-putting eight times and 3-putting just once. The one time I 3-putted, it was on the 8th hole, a 105 yard par-3. This was also the only hole that my tee shot was accurate, and I actually landed the ball on the green. What a way to lose par.

I shot a 52 for the round, which was 19 over par. I shot bogey two times, double bogey four times, and triple bogey three times. I wish I could have played a better round, but that’s just how the game goes sometimes. Some days your game is “on” and some days your game is “off”. This must have just been one of those “off” days.

Robert A. Black Golf Course – Scores & Stats
Course length: 2,339 yards (blue tee boxes)
Course par: 33
Course rating/slope: 62.2/102 (blue tee boxes)
My score: 52 (19 over par)

Robert A. Black Golf Course
2045 W. Pratt Boulevard
Chicago, IL 60645

Before the season ends, I thought it would be fun to hit Silver Lake Country Club again, specifically for the South course… the same course I shot my worst round ever (137, 67 over par). Silver Lake Country Club is located in Orland Park, Illinois, approximately 30 miles southwest of Chicago. The club consists of three courses: two 18-hole championship courses (the North and the South) and one 9-hole executive course (Rolling Hills). The North course is the longer of the two 18-hole courses, measuring at 6,826 yards from the back tees for a par of 72. The South course measures in at 6,337 yards from the back tees for a par of 70.

As I mentioned in the other post, the South course is the “sportier” of the two courses. The fairways are shorter and narrower, with more water hazards and bunkers. The fairways are formed from rolling hills that are surrounded by medium- to large-sized trees. The course consists of four par-5 and six par-3 holes. Five of the holes are doglegs (well, the 16th hole, a 546 yard par-5, could be considered an optional dogleg because using the blue tee boxes will give you a straighter look down the fairway). Water hazards touch ten of the holes, three of which you must carry over a decent sized pond, including the 9th hole, a 236 yard par-3 (yes, par-3!). Sand traps are found on nearly all holes, but mostly near the fairways. The greens seemed a lot more challenging than I remembered it last, and will sure to also challenge even the best golfers.

I started this round on my own, then a twosome behind me eventually caught up to me on the 6th hole. Their names were Garrett and Don, an uncle/nephew twosome, who’ve seemed to play many rounds of golf together. They were nice guys who also played around my level.

I had a much better round this time. Although my drives were lacking accuracy throughout the whole round, they had some decent distance. I sliced my drives right many, many times, but luckily, my iron shots were working for me, so my 2nd shot would normally get me back into play. My tee shots on the par-3 holes on the front nine were pretty bad. I think I wasn’t keeping my head steady, which made me top the ball a lot. My tee shots improved on the back nine. As I said before, I felt like my iron shots were working well for me. I had good accuracy and distance on nearly all my iron shots. For putting, I really tried focusing on 2-putting or better. On the front nine, I 1-putted twice and 2-putted the other seven times, but on the back nine, I 3-putted five times and 1-putted only one time. I think the greens on the back nine were a little more difficult than the front nine.

I ended up shooting a 104 (34 over par), which was a far improvement over my last round on this course. Although I didn’t shoot any pars, I did make bogey eight times and double bogey five times. The other times, triple bogey or worse, was due to a bad tee shot or a 3-putt.

So… I got my redemption at the Silver Lake South Course, shooting 33 strokes better than last time. I still didn’t break 100, and it’s looking like I might not meet that goal this year, unless the weather stays nice into November. I guess that will be just one more thing to look forward to next season.

Silver Lake Country Club – Scores & Stats
South course length: 5,948 yards (white tee boxes)
South course par: 70
South course rating/slope: 68.3/116 (white tee boxes)
My score: 104 (34 over par)

Silver Lake Country Club
14700 S. 82nd Ave.
Orland Park, IL 60462

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