Over the weekend, I journeyed to the southwest suburbs of Chicago to play a round at The Sanctuary Golf Course in New Lenox, Illinois. The course, which opened in 1996, is located approximately 30 miles southwest of Chicago (close to 40 miles in driving distance).

The course features two par-3 and two par-5 holes for a total par of 72 at a length of 6,917 yards from the back tees. If you play from the 2nd farthest tee boxes, the course shortens to 6,342 yards.  The course is [mostly] a ‘links-style’ course, so the fairways consist of rolling hills with very few trees. The fairways are narrow, and are bordered by tall grass. Since we played in the spring, the grass wasn’t as high you’d find it during the summer, but it was still pretty difficult to locate a stray ball. There are a couple of holes, mostly in the back nine, that are surrounded by tall trees. Water hazards touch nine of the holes, primarily along the sides of the fairway. The only spot of water you’ll need to carry over is your tee shot on the 15th hole, a 209 yard par-3 (the water on this hole is actually protected wetlands). Sand traps are found on all holes, in true ‘links-style’ fashion, and are well maintained. Since the fairways were narrow, the sand traps near the fairways give you little room for error on your tee shots. On many of the holes, it was difficult to determine exactly where you need to place your tee shot. After your tee shot, the fairways seemed to open up a bit more for your next shot towards the green. The greens are average in size, and none of them stuck out in my mind as being overly difficult. The only thing that made the greens difficult for putting was that they were pretty bumpy. This could be because the greens are still recovering from the winter season. The course, as a whole, is beautiful, and looks to be kept in great condition.

I played this round with Nusreth, another member of my Windy City Golf League group. Joining our twosome was a father/son twosome, both of whom I forgot their names. This was Nusreth’s first round of the season, and second round of golf ever. Needless to say, he was a beginner in all aspects of the game. I don’t really want to say much more about this, more particularly, how he played and/or how it affected the round (because I know I’ve been in his shoes many times). I’m thankful Nusreth and the other guys in our foursome were good sports, and we were able to play the round without anyone getting upset or annoyed.

Every golfer, at some point in time, must begin learning the game somewhere, and unfortunately, I don’t think this course was the best place for Nusreth to learn the game. The course may be nice for beginners because there are very few trees, but where trees do not exist, tall grass does. Also, layout of the course puts some of the narrow fairways very close to each other, so if you slice or hook your drive, your next shot may very well be from the neighboring fairway. Plain and simple, this course is difficult for beginners.

I feel like I did OK this round, but nothing spectacular. My drives were random again, sometimes slicing or pushing right, which normally landed in the tall grass. I felt my iron shots were still good, noting the change I started making at my last round at Joe Louis “The Champ” Golf Course. With that change, I’m seeing that I’m being a lot more consistent with my accuracy and distance, I’m topping the ball a lot less and taking divots instead, and I’ve gained more distance (notably, my 150 yard club has switched from my 6-iron to my 7-iron, which seems more common for golfers around my level). I don’t think my chipping was the best, but that’s something I know I need to work on. My putting was also random, but I’m going to blame the bumpy greens on that. I wasn’t disappointed with my putting, because I was making some accurate shots.

I shot a 107 for the round (35 over par, 54 on the front nine, 53 on the back nine). Even though the scores were similar on the front nine versus the back nine, I felt I played a lot better on the back nine. For the round, I made par once, bogey three times, and a lot of double-bogeys or worse. I 1-putted three times and 3-putted 5 times. Overall, I’m happy with this round.

The Sanctuary Golf Course – Scores & Stats
Course length: 6,342 yards (blue tee boxes)
Course par: 72
Course rating/slope: 70.3/126 (blue tee boxes)
My score: 107 (35 over par)

The Sanctuary Golf Course
485 N. Marley Rd
New Lenox, IL 60451