It’s the beginning of April, a new golf season, and the weather is starting to get nice, so I kicked-off the season at Carriage Greens Country Club. Carriage Greens, which opened in 1971, is located in Darien, Illinois, approximately 24 miles southwest of Chicago.

The course features four par-3 and two par-5 holes for a total par of 70 at a length of 6,395 yards from the back tees. Although the course only has two par-5 holes, three of the par-4 holes are longer than 420 yards from the back tees. If you play from the red tees, then you’ll have four par-5 holes, moving the total par to 72. The fairways are mostly flat and open, and are surrounded by medium- to large-sized trees. The fairways, range from straight, to slight dogleg, to 90 degree dogleg (doglegs are only found on the par-4 holes). Water hazards touch 11 of the holes, six of which you’ll need to carry over, although most of the time you’ll just need to carry over a very small water hazard. I’m guessing the water levels on the hazards were a little low since it was earlier in the season. Sand traps are found on nearly every hole, either near the fairway or the green, and typically not both. The greens are a decent size, and contain just slight breaks.

I can’t really say too much about the maintenance of the course, since it was very early in the season. There were a couple places under maintenance, and part the green on one of the holes on the back nine (I can’t remember which one) looked like it was recently re-sodded. Aside of that, this looks like it could be a beautiful course come summertime. In fact, I’ll actually be playing this course again later this year, so I’ll get to check out what it looks like in a couple months.

I played this round with Susie again. I like having Susie as a golfing “buddy”, not only because I can rely on her to play a round with me, but also because we have lately been trying to help each other improve. She’ll call me out when she thinks I’m doing something differently, and I’ll help her out to determine how to hit certain shots. By all means, we aren’t really good, and our advice probably isn’t the best, but it’s better than nothing, and it motivates us to improve our game.

For being the first round of the season (the first round of golf in five months or so), I don’t think I played too bad. My drives still sliced slightly to the right, but not so far right where I was always in the opposite fairway, and my drives didn’t seem like they were going very far, possibly because I was trying to focus on not slicing. I topped the ball a couple times on my iron shots, probably because I was standing up during the swing. Most of the time, it felt like I just wasn’t getting underneath the ball. I wasn’t comfortable at all with my wedges, and was experimenting back-and-forth between my pitching wedge and my lob wedge. I felt my putting was pretty bad, mostly in the front nine, but then slightly improved in the back nine. I did have trouble putting because the greens were inconsistent, but I’ll blame that on it being early in the season.

I ended up shooting a 114, which is 44 over par. This comprised of one par, three bogeys, and way too many double and triple bogeys. My putting didn’t help the score either; I 1-putted two times and 3-putted six times.

Honestly, my only goal for this round was to walk away shooting 120 or better, which I successfully did. I couldn’t expect much out of the first round of the season, other than to get warmed-up and excited for the rest of the season. I’m looking for to playing this course again, and playing the rest of the 2011 golf season.

Carriage Greens Country Club – Scores & Stats
Course length: 6,011 yards (white tee boxes)
Course par: 70
Course rating/slope: 69.7/122 (white tee boxes)
My score: 114 (44 over par)

Carriage Greens Country Club
8700 Carriage Greens Drive
Darien, IL 60561