Archive for October 2011

Another weekend of golf takes me to St. Andrews Golf & Country Club in West Chicago, Illinois, approximately 33 miles west of downtown Chicago. St. Andrews features two 18-hole championship courses: the St. Andrews #1 course, a 6,920 yard par 71 course that was built in 1926, and the Joe Jemsek (Lakewood) course, a 6,770 yard par 72 course that was built in 1929. For this round, I played the Joe Jemsek (Lakewood) Course, which was formerly known as the Lakewood Course, and renamed later, after the PGA Pro that purchased the golf course in 1939. Joe Jemsek also purchased Chicago’s popular Cog Hill Golf & Country Club in 1951.

The Joe Jemsek (Lakewood) course features four par-3 and four par-5 holes for a total par of 72 at a length of 6,770 yards from the back tees. If you play from the back tees, all of the par-3 holes are 200 yards or more. The fairways are mostly open and straight, formed from rolling hills and surrounded by large trees. Water hazards touch six of the holes, two of which you’ll have to carry over, including the 17th hole (a 552 yard par-5) which features a small pond in front of the green. Bunkers are found on 17 of the 18 holes, both near the fairways and the greens. The greens are of average size, but have some consistent slopes and challenging breaks. I felt like I was putting uphill many times.

I played this round by myself, and somehow finished the round very quickly. Thanks to a little bit of rain and the cool weather, the course was nearly empty. Throughout the round, I only passed one twosome, and didn’t see many more people during the round. I ended finishing the round about 2 hours and 30 minutes.

And somehow, I played pretty well. My drives were pretty random and inconsistent, but I was getting some decent distance. I think my recovery shots helped me out the most during the round, usually setting my 3rd shot up for an easy wedge shot. Since the holes were longer than average, I got to hit with my fairway wood a lot, which was really nice. I’m slowly getting better with my fairway wood, and it’s definitely helping me lower my score. I felt my wedge shots were pretty good, but I still think I could use a bit of work on getting more accurate distance. My putting was good, though I should have practiced a bit beforehand. The greens were pretty slow due to the rain, and along with always putting uphill, I was leaving a lot of putts short. I 1-putted twice and 3-putted twice.

I shot a 96 for the round (24 over par, 47 on the front nine, 49 on the back nine). This consisted of two pars, eight bogeys, and eight double bogeys. Yup… another round without hitting any triple bogeys or worse, so I’m pretty happy with this round.

St. Andrews Golf & Country Club – Joe Jemsek (Lakewood) Course – Scores & Stats
Course length: 6,358 yards (white tee boxes)
Course par: 72
Course rating/slope: 70.1/118 (white tee boxes)
My score: 96 (24 over par)

St. Andrews Golf & Country Club
2241 Route 59
West Chicago, IL 60185

Lincoln Oaks Golf Course

Posted by cjsharp1 on October 16, 2011 in Courses 0 Comments

To conclude a weekend of golf, I headed down to Lincoln Oaks Golf Course in Crete, Illinois, approximately 32 miles south of downtown Chicago. The course was designed by Tom Bendelow, who also designed the three courses at Medinah Country Club, and was opened in 1927 as one of the original four courses at Lincolnshire Country Club.

The course features six par-3 and five par-5 holes for a total par of 71 at a length of 6,186 yards from the back tees. The layout of the course is different than what you’d normally see at most Chicagoland courses. Instead of the course sitting on a solid plot of land or weaving throughout a subdivision, the course flows around a scattering of roads and rural houses. As a result, finding your way from one green to the next tee box maybe a little difficult, and the correct way to the next hole maybe an unmarked path across one of the roads. Also, four of the par-5 holes are intermixed with the three of par-3 holes on the front nine… so enjoy that.

The fairways are mostly straight and open, formed from small rolling hills, with medium- and large-sized trees occasionally along the side of the fairways. Three of the holes, the 9th hole (a 550 yard par-5), the 10th hole (a 348 yard par-4), and the 11th hole (a 185 yard par-3), sit close to the course’s driving range, which is unprotected by netting. An errant tee shot on those holes could place your ball among the sea of range balls (in which case, you’re allowed a free drop). Water hazards are found only on two holes, nether of which you’ll need to carry over the water, as long as you keep your shots straight. Bunkers are found on 17 of the 18 holes, and mixed between near the fairway, near the green, and both. The bunkers could use some work. It seemed liked many of them were just filled with loose dirt instead of sand. Who knows… maybe it was a different type of sand. The greens seemed pretty standard, with nothing overly complicated.

I’ve actually been trying to play this course for over a year now, but it always seems like they have outings on the weekends that take up all the desirable tee times. The first time I tried to play, I actually went to the course as a single, thinking it would be no issue getting a round, but got turned away (I ended up driving up to Glenwoodie Golf Club). The second attempt, I called and got turned down again. I got lucky this time, because they had a couple openings before another outing. Tagging along for this round was a colleague of mine, Eddy.

Much like the weather, my game was struggling to improve throughout the round. I started the front nine pretty badly, then somehow got back into my normal game for the back nine. My drives were very random; I think I only hit four fairways. Luckily, I was able to recover for my second shot. My approach and chip shots were about average, and my putting was random. I 1-putted five times and 3-putted three times.

I ended up shooting a 102 for the round (31 over par, 56 on the front nine, 46 on the back nine). This consisted of one par, six bogeys, eight double bogeys, and all others worse. I guess a 102 doesn’t sound like that bad of a score, considering how I’ve been playing throughout the last couple of rounds. I wish I played the front nine a little better, but it was expected with all the par-5 holes. I think I just need to work more on getting better distance and accuracy with my fairway wood.

Lincoln Oaks Golf Course – Scores & Stats
Course length: 6,013 yards (white tee boxes)
Course par: 71
Course rating/slope: 68.4/121 (white tee boxes)
My score: 102 (31 over par)

Lincoln Oaks Golf Course
395 East Richton Road
Crete, IL 60417

Carriage Greens Country Club (Round 2: Redemption)

Posted by cjsharp1 on October 15, 2011 in Courses 0 Comments

It seems like a yearly thing now where I somehow play a course twice (or more) in one season, and if I felt my first round was bad, I’ll designate the second round as a “redemption” round. Two years ago, the “redemption” round was at Bonnie Dundee Golf Course (even though it was a field trip course), and last year it was the South Course at Silver Lake Country Club. Both years, I’ve was successful at bettering my score. So another weekend of golf begins at Carriage Greens Country Club for my “redemption” round.

I previously played this course at the beginning of the season (when it was still pretty cold and windy). As I stated in the post for the previous round, Carriage Greens is located in Darien, Illinois, approximately 24 miles southwest from downtown 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. The fairways are mostly flat and open, and are surrounded by medium- to large-sized trees. Water hazards touch 11 of the holes, six of which you’ll need to carry over. 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 played this round again with Susie. I’ll note that we had difficulty finding the tee box for the 1st hole. When you come out of the “cart corral”, there are no signs directing you to the 1st hole. Common golf course navigation skills will probably take you to the tee box for the 10th hole. The 1st hole is actually across the parking lot next to the “cart corral”, and across the street. Anyway, when we got to the first tee, we got paired up with another twosome, Joe and Daniel, two friends that play around our same level.

I played a much better round this time. My drives were not always straight, but mostly pushed right and landed not too far from the fairway. My iron shots saw somewhat of an improvement. I tried to focus on making a nice smooth shot and following through without overpowering my shot. My wedge shots were decent also. I think I need to start focusing on distance with my wedge shots, which is something I sometimes go in blindly when making my shots. I usually have a good idea about which wedge to use for a 50 yard shot vs a 90 yard shot, but aside from that, I usually just hit and hope I’m on the green. I think next season I might look into getting new wedges, where I can be a little more accurate. My putting was about average. I 1-putted five times and 3-putted twice.

I shot a 99 for the round (29 over par, 47 on the front nine, 52 on the back nine). This consisted of one par, eight bogeys, six double bogeys, and all others triple bogeys. I’m pretty happy I didn’t shoot any worse than a triple bogey. On the last round here, I shot a 114, so this round is a far better improvement, and keeps with the trend of me getting my yearly redemption.

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: 99 (29 over par)

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

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