Archive for March 2012



Fresh Meadow Golf Club

Posted by cjsharp1 on March 18, 2012 in Courses 0 Comments

Starting off the 2012 golf season in March? In Chicago? That’s something I’ve never done before. You usually have to wait until April to get a decent day with temperatures high enough where you won’t freeze your butt off. The original plan for the weekend was to go to TopGolf with a group of people from the Chicago Co-Ed Golf Meetup Group, but at the last minute, the group decided to take advantage of the nice weather and play a round at Fresh Meadow Golf Club. The course is located in Hillside, Illinois, approximately 15 miles west of downtown Chicago, and was opened in 1930. Fresh Meadow is probably more known for their large, lighted driving range/learning center, which features both covered hitting bays, grass hitting bays, and a large chipping and putting area.

The course features five par-3 and three par-3 holes for a total par of 70 at a length of 6,283 yards from the back tees. For this round, there was only one tee box, which didn’t really surprise me since this was the opening weekend for many golf courses in Chicago (whether that is an acceptable excuse is up to you). The course wraps around the back of the driving range, so on some holes it’s common to find range balls in the middle of the fairways. The fairways are mostly open and flat, with medium-sized trees along the fairways. You’ll find nearly 90 degree doglegs on the 4th hole (a 436 yard par-4) and the 17th hole (a 365 yard par-4). Water touches five of the holes, two of which you’ll need to carry over either on your tee shot (the 5th hole, a 181 yard par-3) or on the way to the green (the 14th hole, a 325 yard par-4). Bunkers are found on all of the holes, nearly always next to the greens. The greens are fairly large with steady slopes and challenging breaks.

With it being March, it’s difficult to comment on the quality of the course. The bunkers were unkempt, and sand was blown and covering parts of the greens on some holes. A quick lap around each of the greens with the blower would have helped. The greens were not actually green, but more brown, and the holes from aerating made for bumpy rolls during putts (not to mention the holes from the previous location of the cups). Aside from that, you won’t find any ball cleaners or garbage cans during your round, and restrooms (in our case, port-o-potties) were rare. Aside from the course, the driving range looked like it could also use some help (it’s hard to not notice while playing the round).

For this round, Susie and I played the full 18, while the rest of the group played only the front 9. Blake, the group’s organizer, joined us for the front 9.

Being the first round of the season, the first time hitting the ball in a long time, I don’t think I did so badly (though, luck was on my side). I started the round by slicing my drive and 3-putting for a triple bogey, but then turned around with a bogey, bogey, par. On the 5th hole, I somehow crossed the water hazard, but found myself in the bunkers for 3 strokes, and ended up with a triple bogey. Then, a miracle occurred. On the 6th hole (a 440 yard par-5), I sliced my drive into the next fairway, then hit a solid 4-iron within 50 yards of the hole, right outside green next to a bunker. My next shot was an easy pitch onto the green, that ended up rolling right into hole. I hit an eagle on a par-5! The rest of the round was pretty average… bogeys, double bogeys, or worse, though I did finish the round with a chip-in par.

All-in-all, my drives were pretty random and my iron shots were decent (though a little short). My putting was also random, but I think that was expected with the quality of the greens. I ended up 1-putting three times and 3-putting five times (with two chip-ins).

I ended up shooting a 98 for the round (28 over par, 48 on the front nine, 50 on the back nine). This consisted of 1 eagle, 3 pars, 3 bogeys, 8 double bogeys, and all others worse. Obviously, this was a far better result than what I expected for my first round of the season. It feels good to have a start like that. Hopefully I this will continue throughout the season.

Fresh Meadow Golf Club – Scores & Stats
Course length: 5,978 yards (white tee boxes)
Course par: 70
Course rating/slope: 68.6/113 (white tee boxes)
My score: 98 (28 over par)

Fresh Meadow Golf Club
2144 South Wolf Drive
Hillside, IL 60162

As a special offer to ChicagoGolfNoob.com readers, you can join the 2012 Spring season of the Windy City Golf League with a $10 discount on player registration fees!

  • For the individual league, use the coupon code Noob2012. With this coupon, registration will be $50 (normally $60).
  • For the 2-person team league, use the coupon code Noob2012Team. With this coupon, registration will be $100 per team (normally $120).

Hope to see you on the course!

Windy City Golf League: Year 2 (Team Edition)

Posted by cjsharp1 on March 14, 2012 in News 3 Comments

Update: Due to a low amount of sign-ups in the team league, I’m now playing in the individual league instead.

Last year was my first experience playing in the Windy City Golf League. I generally enjoyed playing in the league, though, like most other leagues and league formats, there were some pros and cons (which you can read about in my 2011 Spring season wrap-up post), which I’ll touch on later. This year, while browsing around the Chicago Golf Show with Markus, we stopped by the booth for the Windy City Golf League, and I got to have a nice conversation with the founder, Jason Rotter, about my previous season and the outlook on this year’s league.

If you haven’t read my original post about the Windy City Golf League, let me give you a quick summary about the format (most of this is pulled from the post, and updated accordingly). The Windy City Golf League format revolves around the flexibility of league matches. Instead of playing all of your matches at one course on one day during the week, the league allows you to choose to play your matches at any course, on any day, and any time. You can play anyone in your league flight, as many times as you want, and you can play as many matches throughout the season as you want.

There are two types of formats for the league: the individual head-to-head league and the 2-person team scramble. For the individual league, you are grouped into flights based on your handicap and availability, so you will most likely play people who are around your skill level. Your matches are standard 9- or 18-hole stroke play matches, and you receive points based on how many strokes you win or lose by. For the team league, since the league is relatively new, it is assumed that everyone is scratch golfers, and all teams are placed in the same flight (this will change once the league gets enough teams to create multiple flights). Matches are played in scramble format, and recorded in stroke-play format.

The 12-week league concludes with one final tournament where points can be earned: the Arghe Isle Cup Tournament. To qualify for the tournament, you need to be the points leader in your group, have the highest player rating, or have the lowest adjusted scoring average, though last year, all league members (and even some outside players) were invited to play in the tournament. The overall winner of each flight wins the tournament trophy.

The cost for the league is $60 per person ($120 per team) per season. There are two seasons: the Spring season, which runs from April to July, and the Summer season, which runs from July to October. During the past year, Jason has been working on creating more partnerships and deals with golf courses in the areas. League members get special offers and discounts at some of the popular courses in the area.

I personally love this format, because it allows me to play in a golf league without needing to travel to some course in the suburbs after work on a Wednesday evening to play 9 holes (which, as far as I can tell, seems to be common scenario for standard golf leagues). Though as I mentioned before, much like other golf league formats, there are pros and cons. First, your matches are controlled by other people’s schedules. If your schedule doesn’t match up with someone else’s schedule, you won’t be able to play matches. It’s as simple as that. While you can usually count on somebody being at the course on a preselected day in a standard golf league, that’s just not the case with this league format. Last year, the majority of matches in my flight were played during the weekdays, and that’s just something I couldn’t do. Second, a lot of people who signed up for the league didn’t play a single round throughout the season, which limited the number of people who would actually play rounds. This, of course, is something that you can’t really control or prevent, and it still happens in standard golf leagues. It’s just the nature of a league; people will sign up, but never participate. Lastly, sometimes people just don’t communicate, or people are not available. There were a couple times last year where people were playing matches without asking if anyone else wanted to join, while other weekends, I was free to play matches, but no one else way. Once again, this is not something you can control, and you just have to deal with it.

I wanted to trying something a bit different this season. Markus and I have been playing a lot of rounds together recently (I’m his ride out the golf course), and we also know some people who might be interested in playing in a team golf league. So we decided to join forces (his overall golfing skill level and my good looks) and join the Spring 2-person team league. Our hope is that we can get a good number of matches in on the weekends, which, for scheduling 2-person teams, might either prove easier or more difficult then the individual league.

During my conversations with Jason, he did mention that the Windy City Golf League is gaining more exposure and more partnerships, so the number of players and teams should be rising. Since we still don’t know the total amount of players and teams that have signed up, the idea will still remain that all 2-person teams will be placed in the same flight and everyone is considered a scratch golfer. This might prove difficult to a team like Markus and I, where Markus carries a single digit handicap, and I carry over a dozen golf balls in my bag, so I have enough to last me throughout the round. Maybe Markus and I will be able to keep up with the rest of the teams. He has a long drive and accurate iron shots, and I feel I’m decent at putting.

Since the team league is in scramble format, I’m not going to be able to accurately track my game as I normally do. I’m not a huge fan of this, but at least I can reflect a bit on how I generally played during the match. Playing in this league might also give me a chance to play a couple courses again, which is something I try not to do, but I’m not 100% against it. Sometimes it’s fun to revisit courses, either to see if/how they have changed, or if my game has changed in ways where I take different shots in different situations.

Goals for the 2012 Golf Season

Posted by cjsharp1 on March 12, 2012 in News 0 Comments

Since the weather is starting to warm up, it’s time to set the goals for 2012. So… here they are:

  • Break 90 – I might as well start with this, since getting the lowest score is the general goal of golf. Who knows if I’ll complete this goal in 2012… maybe I’ll get lucky and play a really good round.
  • Score an average of 100 – Like clockwork, this number has been going down over the years (115 in 2009, 110 in 2010, and 105 in 2011). I met the goal last season, so let’s see if I can get it down to 100.
  • Play 20 rounds of golf on 15 new courses – Once again, I’m carrying over this goal from last year. If things go like they have the last two years, I should be able to meet this goal fairly easily.
  • Birdie a par 5 – Carrying this goal over from 2011. It’s going to happen soon.
  • Two birdies in one round – Also carrying this goal over from 2011.
  • Eagle – Par 4… par 5… doesn’t matter. Just make an eagle.
  • Five pars in one round – I’m upping this goal from last year… just to see if it happens.

For technical goals:

  • Lower handicap to 23 or less – In 2009 my handicap was 36.4, in 2010 it was 33.4, and in 2011 it was 27.7. I’m trying to follow a pattern. Let’s see if it happens.
  • Raise fairway hit percentage to 42% – Right now, it’s at 38.8%.
  • Raise green-in-regulation percentage to 11% – Right now, it’s at 9.4%.
  • Lower average putts to 1.9 – Right now, it’s at 2.05.

Let the season begin!

Year in Review: 2011

Posted by cjsharp1 on March 12, 2012 in News 0 Comments

I’m way behind on my posts, especially this one. With a mild winter coming to a close, the golf season is already upon us.

Before I start off, I must say that I did not post about my last round in 2011. In November, I was graciously invited by a member of Mission Hills Country Club, a private golf course in Northbrook, Illinois. I never got a chance to write about that round (personally, I didn’t play the best round). I spoke with the member after the round, and I’m looking forward to playing more rounds there; rounds that I will post about. The statistics below do include this round.

So… on to my year in review for the 2011 golf season.

Statistics

  • 28 total rounds of golf played on both 9-hole and 18-hole courses, which includes 3 replays (keeping track of these replays is going to start getting difficult). This number also includes the “bramble” I played at Klein Creek Golf Club.
  • 2 rounds played at 9-hole courses. 26 rounds played at 18-hole courses (including one round at a course with two 9-hole courses).
  • 24 new courses played: 1 field-trip course and 23 courses that count toward the goal (checking my math… the tracker shows 52 courses completed: 3 in 2008, 6 in 2009, 20 in 2010, and 23 in 2011)
  • Best 18-hole round: 93 (21 over par) at Woodruff Golf Course (though, this was a par 68 course)
  • Worst 18-hole round: 122 (50 over par) at Eaglewood Resort & Spa Golf Course

According to my statistics on oobgolf.com (based on the last 20 scores):

  • My handicap is 27.7
  • I’ve had a 105 scoring average
  • 38.8% of fairways hit
  • Average 2.05 putts per hole
  • 9.4% GIR (green in regulation)

All of those statistics are an improvement from 2010.

2011 Goals

  • Break 100 – I finally broke 100 at Plymouth Rock Golf Course by shooting at 96. After this, I successfully broke 100 again at 5 other times.
  • Score an average of 105 – According to my last 20 rounds, I met this goal, but that bad round at Eaglewood might not be included. Let’s just say I met this goal…
  • Play 20 rounds of golf on 15 new courses – As you can see above, I played 28 rounds of golf, including 23 rounds at new courses.
  • Birdie a par 5; Two birdies in one round – I did not meet these goals, and they will carry over into 2012.
  • Four pars in one round – Done (at Inwood Golf Course).
  • Play a full round without 3-putting – As predicted, this had a direct correlation with breaking 100. I met this goal at Plymouth Rock Golf Course.
  • Finish the course list in the ChicagoGolfNoob.com Golf Tracker – As far as I am aware, all of the Illinois courses are in the tracker. I think I need to still enter 10-20 courses in the northwest corner of Indiana. As of right now, the tracker is showing 159 courses

For the more technical goals (based on the last 20 scores):

  • Lower handicap to 30 or less – Done. I’m at a 27.7 handicap right now. Those 6 sub-100 rounds really helped.
  • Raise fairway hit percentage to 45% – I made this goal off of a wrong percentage. I actually started at 35.3%, so getting to 45% would have been difficult. I did manage to get this to 38.8% though.
  • Raise green-in-regulation percentage to 10% – So close. I got to 9.4%.
  • Lower average putts to 2 – Once again, close. I’m at 2.05.

Final Thoughts

The 2011 golf season was the most productive for the project. 28 rounds played, with 23 new courses completed, along with getting married and going on a honeymoon… I think that’s pretty impressive. I really didn’t think I would get to play that much in 2011. If I keep this pace, I should be able to complete the project in 5-6 years.

As far as my game, I think my drives are getting better and straighter. I really want to figure out ways to get a bit more length on my drives. I would really like to be hitting consistent 250+ yard drives. I also need to work on my accuracy with my wedges. I’ll probably get some new wedges in 2012.

And just how I ended the last year in review, I really want to say ‘Thank You!’ to all who are following my progress, and joining me along the way. I noticed that this blog has started to get consistent readers and commenters, and that means so much to me.

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Playing every course in Chicagoland.
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