Archive for September 2011



Prairie Bluff Golf Course

Posted by cjsharp1 on September 24, 2011 in Courses 1 Comment

After a couple weeks off for my wedding and honeymoon, I’m getting back on the course for another round of golf. So over the weekend, I headed to Prairie Bluff Golf Course in Crest Hill, Illinois, approximately 32 miles southwest of downtown Chicago. Prairie Bluff opened in 1998, and is the only golf course that is part of the Lockport Township Parks District.

The course features the standard four par-3 and four par-5 holes for a total par of 72 at a length of 7,007 yards from the back tees. If you play from the white tees (the forward men’s tees), the course length gets cut down to 6,054 yards. As you can expect from the course’s name, the course design is “prairie-style”, where the fairways are formed from small rolling hills with tall grass and seldom trees along the sides. Any trees that you do find will be pretty small, except on the 14th hole (a 421 yard par-4), where a very large tree sits right next to the fairway, nearly blocking your path to the green. The fairways are mostly straight, though you’ll find a couple holes that dogleg left on the back nine. The ground of the fairways were pretty hard (not hard as in difficult) for the round, which helped the balls roll a couple extra yards. Water hazards touch eight of holes, most of which you do not need to carry over, unless you play from the back tees. Bunkers are found on almost all holes, and looked to be in good condition. The greens were of average size and difficulty, but were also hard and bumpy (I think they recently aerated them). Aside from the bumpy greens, I really liked this course. Maybe it’s just the look of “prairie-style” courses, but I personally think Prairie Bluff is a beautiful course.

I played this round with Susie again, and we were put with another twosome: Cory and Louie. Cory was pretty good, and was trying to break 80 for the round (which I don’t think he did), and Louie seemed around my level, with an inconsistent drive but great iron shots.

I felt like I played a pretty good round. The hard fairways definitely helped, giving me extra yards on my tee shots, and allowing me to play a couple bump-and-runs to the greens. My drives were not consistently straight, but also didn’t consistently slice. As usual, my drives tended to push right, and usually ended up a couple yards from the fairway in the rough. My iron shots were about average. I had some great iron shots and I had some horrible iron shots. I know I’m overpowering my iron shots, and that’s just something I need to work on a little more (making my swings like my practice swings). My approach and chip shots were good, and actually, I got lucky once. On the 10th hole (a 387 yard par-4), I overshot the green on my third shot, and landed the ball a couple feet from the green. I ended up hitting my fourth shot too hard, but it bounced once on the green and then into the hole, giving me my first chip-in par. My putting started off pretty bad, but quickly got better. I 1-putted four times and 3-putted twice (on the first two holes).

I shot a 102 for the round (30 over par, 51 on the front nine, 51 on the back nine). This consisted of three pars, seven bogeys, two double bogeys, and all others worse. If it wasn’t for a couple of penalty shots, a four-over par (on the first hole), and a couple mishits, I could have easily broke 100. So… not a bad round at a nice course. I’d definitely play this course again if I had the opportunity.

Prairie Bluff Golf Course – Scores & Stats
Course length: 6,054 yards (white tee boxes)
Course par: 72
Course rating/slope: 68.9/116 (white tee boxes)
My score: 102 (30 over par)

Prairie Bluff Golf Course
19433 Renwick Road
Crest Hill, IL 60435

Pheasant Run Resort Golf Course

Posted by cjsharp1 on September 17, 2011 in Courses 0 Comments

It’s not very often that I get time to play a round of golf during the week. Luckily, a couple days before my wedding, I got a chance to get out and play Pheasant Run Resort Golf Course. Pheasant Run, which opened in 1961, is located in St. Charles, Illinois, approximately 30 miles west of downtown Chicago. Guests of the resort also have special access to Prairie Landing Links Course, which is located just south of Pheasant Run.

The course features five par-3 and five par-5 holes for a total par of 72 at a length of 6,424 yards from the back tees. The fairways are straight and flat, and are surrounded by large trees that, on many holes, make the fairways feel very narrow. Only the 1st hole (a 543 yard par-5, the most difficult hole on the course) has a slight dogleg right to it, which closely wraps around a small pond. Water hazards touch twelve of the holes, about half of which you’ll need to carry over water at some point on your way to the green. Bunkers are found on nearly all holes, mostly near the greens, and seemed to be in good condition. The greens are of average size and didn’t seem to be too challenging.

Since this was a weekday round, I didn’t have any of my usual golf buddies available to join me, so I showed up to the course and got put in a group with three other people: Rick, who is a regular at the course, and Lynn & Jim, who are father & son. All three were very nice, and it seemed they played around my level, maybe just a little better, so it wasn’t too bad playing with them.

For the most part, this was a good round for me. My drives mostly pushed right on the front nine, then got straighter on the back nine where it really mattered. The trees made the tee shots difficult on the 11th hole (a 540 yard par-5) and the 16th hole (a 512 yard par-5), and I somehow managed to keep my drive straight on both of those holes. My iron shots were not the best. I’m still hitting right, which I think is because I’m not following through with my swing. My wedge shots were about average, and my putting was a little less than average. I 1-putted three times and 3-putted seven times.

I ended up shooting a 106 (34 over par, 55 on the front nine, 51 on the back nine). I had a lot of potential to break 100 in this round, but my 3-putting and a couple penalty shots on the 1st hole prevented that. Throughout the round, I made one par, six bogeys, seven double bogeys, and all others worse. Even though my score was similar to my previous rounds, I still felt like I played a good round. I think hitting straight drives helps… I just need to get my iron shots to get straighter.

Pheasant Run Resort Golf Course – Scores & Stats
Course length: 5,952 yards (white tee boxes)
Course par: 72
Course rating/slope: 68.5/117 (white tee boxes)
My score: 106 (34 over par)

Pheasant Run Resort Golf Course
4051 East Main Street
St. Charles, IL 60174

River Oaks Golf Course

Posted by cjsharp1 on September 12, 2011 in Courses 1 Comment

I’m a bit behind on this post, but last month I headed over to Calumet City, Illinois to play a round at River Oak Golf Course. River Oaks, located approximately 20 miles south of downtown Chicago, is part of the Forest Preserve Golf courses, which operates ten golf courses throughout Chicagoland (including Joe Louis, Chick Evans, Billy Caldwell, and Indian Boundary, four other courses I have played so far). Like all other Forest Preserve Golf courses, River Oaks is a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary. I played this round with Adam, Markus, and Ola, a mutual friend of Markus and I.

The course features four par-3 and four par-5 holes for a total par of 72 at a length of 5,982 yards from the back tees. The fairways are mostly flat, open, and straight, and are surrounded either by large trees or water hazards. Only three of the holes are notable doglegs, all of which dogleg left: the 2nd hole (a 319 yard par-4) that doglegs around a water hazard, the 5th hole (a 389 yard par-4) and the 15th hole (491 yard par-5) that both dogleg around the tree line. Water hazards, according to their website, come into play on 14 of the holes, but during the round it seemed like they only came into play on eight or so holes. You only need to carry water once, on the 12th hole (a 309 yard par-4). The water hazards narrow the fairway severely near the green on the 2nd hole and the 8th hole (a 447 yard par-5), which makes those holes a little challenging for your approach shots. Bunkers are found on all holes, and, according to their website, they boast “58 strategically placed sand traps throughout the course”. Like most other Forest Preserve courses, the sand traps are not always in the best condition. The greens are of average size and difficulty, yet I did notice the pin placement during my round was consistently in challenging places (mostly right next to the edge of the green).

This felt like another average round to me. My drives were pretty random, but mostly pushed or sliced right. I somehow stayed out of the water on most of the holes. I only had issues with the water hazard on the 18th hole (a 376 yard par-4). There were a couple of holes where my tee shot was great, but my approach shot was bad. On the 7th hole (a 307 yard par-4), my drive was straight and long, but my approach shot sailed over the green and stopped next to a fence, and I ended up shooting a triple bogey. I had many opportunities to turn a good tee shot into a good score. My putting was random also, which didn’t help either. I 1-putted four times and 3-putted seven times.

I shot a 109 for the round (37 over par, 54 on the front nine, 55 on the back nine), which consisted of six bogeys, seven double bogeys, and all others worse. It’s not my best round but it’s not my worst round; It’s about average for how I’ve been recently been playing. I think I need to just figure out a couple things with my approach shots in order to get them straighter, and focus a little more on my putting, and I should be able to get my scores to where I want them.

River Oaks Golf Course – Scores & Stats
Course length: 5,811 yards (white tee boxes)
Course par: 72
Course rating/slope: 68.2/117 (white tee boxes)
My score: 109 (37 over par)

River Oaks Golf Course
1 Park Avenue
Calumet City, IL 60409

Milestones

Posted by cjsharp1 on September 11, 2011 in News 1 Comment

Over the last month or so, there were some significant milestones for ChicagoGolfNoob.com. I thought I would just take a minute to say a couple words about them.

Wedding
I got married to my girlfriend of 5+ years, Beth, on August 27th at Crystal Tree Country Club in Orland Park, Illinois. This is a private course, but I am lucky enough to know a member of the club, so I will soon be playing the course. Our ceremony overlooked the fairway on the 1st hole (a 432 yard par-4 where your tee shot is downhill and your approach shot is uphill). This beautiful view was just a small factor in what made the wedding so nice.

Birthday
Yes… It’s that time of the year again. I didn’t get a lot of golf-related gifts this year though. The only thing I got (and I appreciate this greatly) was a box Titleist NXT golf balls. I’ve been wanting to try these golf balls for a while now, since they are supposedly the model of Titleist golf balls that are fitted to my game. I look forward to using these in the next couple of rounds. Thanks, Sarah and Adam!

Courses
I’ve been very lucky this season. Between all the wedding planning, holidays, family events, and other things (like the weather), I’ve gotten to play a lot of golf this season (a lot more than I initially thought I would get to play). As of this writing (including two rounds at courses I have not posted), I’ve been able to play 22 rounds of golf at 18 new courses (4 of which are rounds at field trip courses). On top of that, I should be able to complete an additional 3-4 new courses by the end of the season.

Handicap
Even though it was a goal for this year, I’ll mention that I’ve lowered my handicap to below 30 (according to oobgolf.com), sitting currently at 29.7. This may not sound like a big milestone (a handicap of 30 is still pretty bad), but it just shows the progress I’ve made over the years. Since I’ve reached that goal for this year, I’m hoping I can take it down even further over the next couple of months.

Nominated
I know I mentioned this a couple posts back, but I think it is very cool that I got nominated for CBS Chicago’s Most Valuable Blogger Awards. I’ve had a lot of positive support from my friends and followers, and I truly appreciate being nominated.

100 Posts
This post is actually my 100th post on ChicagoGolfNoob.com. I think this is a big milestone, since many new blogs rarely get to 100 posts. I guess in a project like this one, it’s easy to hit that mark early, since I’m writing about every course I play. I’m hoping to start writing some more beginner-related posts in the future, which should help get me to the 200 post mark fairly quickly.

So, if you are reading this, and you’ve either voted for me in Chicago’s MVB awards, played a round of golf with me this season, helped me improve my game and lower my handicap, given me a golf-related gift (or any gift actually), or gotten married to me, I truly appreciate it.

Thank you.

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