Over the weekend, I got to play at another Forest Preserve Golf course: Joe Louis “The Champ” Golf Course. Joe Louis is located in Riverdale, Illinois, approximately 15 miles south of Chicago. As mentioned previously, Joe Louis is part of the Forest Preserve Golf courses, which operates ten golf courses throughout Chicagoland (including Chick Evans, Billy Caldwell, and Indian Boundary, three other courses I have played so far). Like all other Forest Preserve Golf courses, Joe Louis is a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary. I’ll also mention that out of Forest Preserve Golf facilities, there are only three driving ranges: one at Joe Louis, one at Highland Woods Golf Course, and the Harry Semrow Driving Range.

The course features two par-3 and two par-5 holes for a total par of 72 at a length of 6,742 yards from the back tees. Joe Louis is known for their 7th hole, a 603 yard par-5, which is said to be the second longest par-5 in Chicagoland (their website states it’s 614 yards, but my scorecard only labels it as 603 yards). The fairways are, for the most part, open and straight, and surrounded by large trees. Water hazards touch only four holes, two of which are par-3 holes (the 158 yard 8th and the 145 yard 17th), both require you to carry over a small portion of the pond that splits them. Sand traps are not abundant, although they claim (on their website) to have 52 of them, but are a decent size when present. When I played the round, the sand traps were still being worked on, including a few that was getting a refill of sand. Other sand traps were almost as hard as concrete, or a pool of water had formed in it. The greens were pretty challenging; far more undulating than I expected for a Forest Preserve Golf course. Since the fairways were straight and open, and water hazards and sand traps were limited, I think the greens were the most challenging part of the whole course.

I played this round with Trent, Mike P., and another member of my Windy City Golf League group, Chuck. This was Trent and Mike’s first round of the season, so they were mostly playing just to warm-up for the season. Chuck had played a couple of the past weekends.

I feel like I played a pretty decent round. My drives were not terrible. I did duff a couple tee shots, but for the most part they were straight or pushed to the right. I thought my iron shots were better than the last couple of rounds, mostly because I tried just taking half back swings, which helped keep the swing plane in the right area. Because of this, I didn’t top the ball as often, and I was making a much more solid contact with the ball. I thought my chip shots were decent, mostly setting me up for a 2-putt. I probably could have worked on these a little more, so I could get closer for a 1-putt. My putting was average. I felt like I did OK with my putting, since the greens were pretty challenging. I 1-putted once and 3-putted five times. That’s not too bad, right?

I shot a 106 for the round (34 over par, 54 on the front nine, 52 on the back nine), which was my best round of the season so far. This comprised of one par (on a par-5, which I think is good), five bogeys, eight double-bogeys, and four others. Chuck didn’t play so well, shooting a 129 (64 on the front nine, 65 on the back nine). Mike said he shot a 103, which is about his average score, and Trent probably shot in the 80’s, because he’s just that good.

Joe Louis “The Champ” Golf Course – Scores & Stats
Course length: 6,318 yards (white tee boxes)
Course par: 72
Course rating/slope: 69.4/119 (white tee boxes)
My score: 106 (34 over par)

Joe Louis “The Champ” Golf Course
13100 S. Halsted St.
Riverdale, IL 60827