Archive for July 2012



Old Oak Country Club

Posted by cjsharp1 on July 26, 2012 in Courses 0 Comments

Another weekend of golf takes Adam and I to Old Oak Country Club in Homer Glen, Illinois, located approximately 30 miles southwest of downtown Chicago. Old Oak is a family-owned course that was built in 1926, on land that was originally part of Lockport, Illinois. When you play the course, be sure to check if you are teeing off on the 1st hole or the 10th hole, because they do allow teeing off on either hole throughout the day.

The course features four par-3 and three par-5 holes for a total par of 71 at a length of 6,609 yards from the back tees. Moving up to the next tees, the length drops down to 6,239 yards, then down to 5,298 yards on the forward tees. The fairways are mostly straight, though are narrow in many places, and are surrounded my large thick trees. As you make your way away from the clubhouse (from the 4th to 9th hole on the front nine and from the 10th to 15th hole on the back nine), the fairways get a little more hilly, and you’ll find most of the water hazards and the thickest trees. Water hazards touch six of the holes, four of which you’ll need to carry over on your tee shot. Bunkers are found on all but two holes, mostly next to the greens. The sand in the bunkers seemed thinner or lighter than what I’m normally used to from other Chicagoland courses. I mention this because I felt like I didn’t have as much difficulty getting out of the sand. The undulating greens were average in size, and had somewhat challenging pin positions.

I feel like I played a decent round, though there was a lot of areas that could have been better. For my tee shots, I switched back and forth between my driver and my fairway wood throughout the round, and I had some difficulty with both at times. I found myself mishitting my fairway wood tee shots, mostly topping the ball, and I was still pushing my tee shots with my driver. Luckily, recovery shots with my fairway wood or hybrid seemed to get me back in play. My iron shots were mostly good with distance, but not so much with accuracy. I found myself in the sand many times throughout the round, but as I mentioned above, I didn’t have a lot of difficulty getting out of it. In fact, I think my sand shots were some of the best shots I made throughout the round. My other wedge shots were pretty good, though I could still improve with distance control in my short game. My putting was generally OK, but nothing spectacular. I ended up just 3-putting twice, with no 1-putts.

I ended up shooting a 108 for the round (37 over par, 54 on the front nine, 54 on the back nine). This consisted of seven bogeys, five double bogeys, and all others worse. I had four sand shots and four penalty shots (mostly from shots into the thick trees). I need to work a bit more on consistency with my tee shots, because I’m making too many mistakes off the tee.

Old Oak Country Club – Scores & Stats
Course length: 6,239 yards (blue tee boxes)
Course par: 71
Course rating/slope: 69.1/123 (white tee boxes)
My score: 108 (37 over par)

Old Oak Country Club
14200 S. Parker Rd.
Homer Glen, IL 60491

Buffalo Grove Golf Course

Posted by cjsharp1 on July 16, 2012 in Courses 0 Comments

Last weekend, I joined many, many members of the Chicago Co-Ed Golf Meetup Group for a round at Buffalo Grove Golf Course. The course is located in Buffalo Grove, Illinois, approximately 30 miles northwest of downtown Chicago. The course was built around 1965 and was designed by Richard P. Nugent, who has designed many courses throughout Chicagoland. In 1977, the course was purchased by the Village of Buffalo Grove, who also owns and operates The Arboretum Golf Course.

The course features four par-3 and four par-5 holes for a total par of 72 at a length of 6,693 yards from the back tees. The fairways are generally flat and straight, are surrounded by large trees. You’ll find slight doglegs on the 1st (a 410 yard par-4), the 9th (a 391 yard par-4), the 13th (a 365 yard par-4), and the 18th (a 431 yard par-4). The 15th hole is unusual because it has two greens and two pins, with a 40 yard difference between the two (we just played the closest green). Water touches seven of the holes, three of which you’ll need to carry over. This includes two of the par-3 holes: the 8th hole (a 165 yard par-3) and the 17th hole (a 150 yard par-3). Bunkers are found on every hole, either near the fairways, near the greens, or both, and looked to be well maintained. The greens are generally flat and are of average size and difficulty.

As I previously mentioned, this round was part of the Chicago Co-Ed Golf Meetup Group, and was one of the few 18-hole golf meetups they do each year. Within the two years of being a member of the group, this was the largest meetup I’ve attended. We ended up having exactly 32 people, so all eight group were full foursomes. I played this round with Susie, as well as two newer members, Karen and Mac.

I felt I played a decent round. I used my driver a bit more this round compared to the last couple of rounds, mostly because I started the round hitting pretty well with it. One change I made was to tee the ball up higher. Initially this was done by accident because I somehow had a longer tee in my bag (for those who care, I usually use the 2-3/4″ Launch Control tees, but started the round with a 3-1/4″ version of the tee). I think using the longer tee made up for the slight errors in my swing plane that normally make me top my tee shot. I don’t know if going to the larger tee is good for my game, but it definitely helped this round. I’m starting to feel a lot more comfortable with my fairway wood and hybrid shots, and I noticed those are generally straighter than what they used to be. My iron shots were good, as well as my wedges. I feel I’m getting a bit more distance with my two wedges (I just have a pitching wedge and an approach wedge), so that will be nice when it comes to making shots where I need more loft. My putting was actually pretty good, and I felt generally confident with all my putts.

I shot a 105 for the round (33 over par, 52 on the front nine, 53 on the back nine). This consisted of 2 pars (including a par on a par-5, which doesn’t happen often), three bogeys, eight double bogeys, and all others worse. I 1-putted three times, and had no 3-putts. I also had eight sand shots and three penalty shots. I feel like things are slowly starting to come together. I need to practice a bit more with my driver and test to see if the longer tee is better for me, and I still need to work more on my short game. I have a feeling that with a couple of small tweaks, I should be in the 90’s more.

Buffalo Grove Golf Course – Scores & Stats
Course length: 6,345 yards (white tee boxes)
Course par: 72
Course rating/slope: 70.7/124 (white tee boxes)
My score: 105 (33 over par)

Buffalo Grove Golf Course
48 Raupp Blvd.
Buffalo Grove, IL 60089

Settler’s Hill Golf Course

Posted by cjsharp1 on July 7, 2012 in Courses 0 Comments

In the midst of a record heat wave in the Chicagoland area, where else would you find me but at a golf course. This weekend, Susie and I headed west to Settler’s Hill Golf Course in Batavia, Illinois, located approximately 34 miles west of downtown Chicago. The course is part of the Forest Preserve District of Kane County, along with two other golf courses: Deer Valley Golf Course and Hughes Creek Golf Course. The course opened in 1988, and was designed by Bob Lohmann, who has designed or renovated many courses in the area. Settler’s Hill is the farthest west golf course in this project, sitting less than a mile from the 35 miles radius line.

The course features four par-3 and four par-5 holes for a total par of 72 at a length of 6,630 yards from the back tees. Moving up to the next tees, the length drops to 6,223 yards. The course feels like a mix between a prairie-style course and a traditional course. On some of the holes, there are no trees and just thick grass, while on other holes, large trees line the sides of the fairways. The fairways are very hilly, with some areas where you might think your cart is not going to make it up the path. Most notably, there are two par-3 holes (the 141 yard 4th and the 165 yard 16th) where the tee box much, much higher than the green, and you’ll likely need to move down a club or two for your tee shot. With the combination of hills and the unique layout of the holes, most of your shots will feel like target golf. Water touches ten of the holes, five of which you’ll need to carry over on your tee shot or on your way to the greens. Deep bunkers are found on 15 of the holes, mostly near the greens, and looked in good condition. The undulating greens offered some challenging putts. You’ll definitely want warm up on the practice green; the greens are not as hilly as the practice green, but it’ll prepare you for what is to come.

I thought this was a pretty fun course, but it lacked some of the basic amenities that other courses offer. There are no shelters or full bathrooms along the course (just a solo portable restroom near the 6th and 8th hole). We didn’t find any water fountains or water dispensers along the way, which would have been nice in this hot weather. Luckily, the snack cart came often enough with plenty of drinks and ice. Lastly, the cart paths could use a bit of work, both to make this more smooth and easier to understand the path to the next hole.

Our round actually took long time to complete, thanks to a thunderstorm that rolled through when we were finishing the 5th hole (which so happens to be the farthest hole from the clubhouse). We ended up driving all the way back to the clubhouse to seek shelter. The storm knocked out the clubhouse’s power, and paused our round for over an hour. After the storm, we made our way back to the 6th hole, and continued our round. We started the round at 10:37am and finished at 5:20pm.

I actually played pretty well, and I think I play better on a wet course. Much like my previous round, I only pulled out my driver for my tee shots six times throughout the round (mostly on the par 5’s), with other times preferring my fairway wood. Even though my tee shots with my fairway wood were not always the best, I still felt more comfortable and confident with those shots. I felt my iron shots were pretty good, and I think the wet grass helped make them better after the storm rolled though. My wedge shots were decent, though I know they could have been better on distance. My putting was a bit random, but I’ll blame the difficulty of the greens on that.

I ended up shooting a 101 for the round (29 over par, 48 on the front nine, 53 on the back nine), which is one of my better rounds for the year. This broke down into four pars, four bogeys, and all others worse. I 1-putted four times and 3-putted four times. A good chunk of my score were penalty shots. I really need to figure out a way to cut back on those.

Settler’s Hill Golf Course – Scores & Stats
Course length: 6,223 yards (white tee boxes)
Course par: 72
Course rating/slope: 70.4/127 (white tee boxes)
My score: 101 (29 over par)

Settler’s Hill Golf Course
919 E. Fabyan Parkway
Batavia, IL 60510

Traditions at Chevy Chase Golf Course

Posted by cjsharp1 on July 4, 2012 in Courses 0 Comments

After a nearly three week break, I’m back on the course. For this round, Markus and I headed north to Chevy Chase Country Club and Traditions at Chevy Chase Golf Course. The course is located in Wheeling, Illinois, located approximately 25 miles northwest of downtown Chicago, and is the only golf course that is part of the Wheeling Park District. The course, which was built in 1927, was designed by Thomas Bendelow, who is most known for designing all three courses at Medinah Country Club (the host of the 2012 Ryder Cup). In 2002, the course was renovated by Lohmann Golf Designs, and the renovation won the award for Golf Digest’s 2004 Daily-fee “Renovation of the Year”.

The course features the standard four par-3 and four par-5 holes for a total par of 72 at a length of 6,610 yards from the back tees (labeled as the “Midnight” tees). Moving up to the next tees (labeled as the “Burnt Red” tees), the length drops to 6,078 yards. Nearly all the fairways are straight, surrounded by large trees and rolling hills. Only the 2nd hole (a 494 yard par-5)  and the 18th hole (a 546 yard par-5) are a slight dogleg left, with the 2nd hole having water along the whole left side of the fairway. Water touches 16 of the holes, but you’ll only need to carry over water on six of those holes either on your tee shot or on your way to the green. On the other holes, play your shots straight, and water shouldn’t be an issue. Bunkers are found both near the greens and the fairways on all but one hole (the 14th hole, a 346 yard par-4), and are generally pretty small and well maintained. The average-sized greens are somewhat undulating, with some challenging pin placements and interesting breaks.

I tried something different this round: I didn’t always pull out my driver on a par-4 hole. In fact, I only pulled out my driver six times throughout the round (four of which were on the par-5 holes), and instead teed off with my 3 fairway wood. Though I’m not as comfortable with my fairway wood, I was making better tee shots with it. With my driver, I mostly pushed it right, and with my fairways wood, about half of my tee shots were straight (the other half pushed right). I felt like I was still able to get decent distance out of my tee shots with the fairway wood. I thought my iron shots were pretty good, making solid contact and decent loft, so I’m starting to get more comfortable and confident with my irons. I need to work a bit more on my short game, both with my wedges and my putting, because those are what mostly kept my score high. I had a lot of opportunities to make a birdie or a par, but ended up putting poorly and missing that opportunity.

I shot a 106 for the round (34 over par, 56 on the front nine, 50 on the back nine). This consisted of one par, six bogeys, five double bogeys, and all others worse. The one par came on the 15th hole (a 494 yard par-5), which getting par on a par-5 is not something I normally do. I 1-putted twice and 3-putted five times. Of those five 3-putts, two of those times I started putting for birdie. So there were some missed opportunities.

So my takeaways from this round: tee off with fairway wood more, practice short game wedges, and practice putting.

Traditions at Chevy Chase Golf Course – Scores & Stats
Course length: 6,078 yards (“Burnt Red” tee boxes)
Course par: 72
Course rating/slope: 69.5/122 (“Burnt Red” tee boxes)
My score: 106 (34 over par)

Traditions at Chevy Chase Golf Course
1000 N Milwaukee Avenue
Wheeling, IL 60090

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