Archive for June 2013

Water’s Edge Golf Club

Posted by cjsharp1 on June 17, 2013 in Courses 0 Comments

Over the weekend, Suzie and I headed to Water’s Edge Golf Club in Worth, Illinois, located approximately 20 miles southwest of downtown Chicago. The course was opened in 1999, and is designed by Rick Robbins and Gary Koch. The course is managed by Billy Casper Golf, who also manages all of the Chicago Park District and Forest Preserve Golf courses, as well as many other courses throughout the United States.

The course features four par-3 and four par-5 holes for a total par of 72 at a length of 6,904 yards from the back tees. There are four sets of tees: the back Yellow tees, the 6,548 yard Blue tees, the 6,069 yard White tees and the 5,332 yard forward Red tees. The fairways are generally straight and open, with the exception of the 1st hole (a 525 yard par-5) and the 11th hole (a 570 yard par-5) which are slight doglegs. The courses name does not come from the water hazards that touch 13 of the holes, but rather the Calumet River (or canal) that runs down the east side of the course’s property. The river only touches the 11th hole and the 15th hole (a 511 yard par-5), but trees down the left side of the fairways guard most hooked balls from finding the water. In other cases, you’ll need to carry water twice, both being small streams. On the 11th hole, you do have the option of carrying over a pond on your approach shot to the the green, cutting around 75 yards off the length of the hole, but the shot is risky, and accuracy with distance is necessary. Somewhat small bunkers are found on all holes, either near the fairway or the green. Bunker conditions were not the best, on par with what you’ll see at Chicago Park District courses. The greens are of average size, with challenging breaks, and played somewhat fast for my round. Also expect greens to be in poor condition. I spent a lot of my time on the green trying to repair previous ball marks.

I initially had high hopes for this course. Arriving at the clubhouse and the 1st hole tee box is a beautiful site, but the course overall is poorly maintained. There is so much potential for this course. The course is sitting on a great piece of land, and the layout and distances satisfy many levels of golfers. Honestly, it would be great if another company managed this course. I’m starting to realize that courses managed by Billy Casper Golf will generally be in poor condition.

Another thing that bugged me, which isn’t necessarily the managements fault, is that the course tends to hold a lot of water. We were informed this by the starter before we teed off, and he was very correct. The grass on the fairways were pretty soft, but not overly wet/flooded. This makes it easy to cause large divots on your fairway shots, and even practice swings. I found myself many times taking huge divots on simple practice swings.

For this round, I did something I’ve never done before: I kept my driver in the bag, and instead hit most of my tee shots with my fairway wood. Generally, I think I had better tee shots, with the exception of a couple of slices. I could keep my loft consistent, but I think that was because I wasn’t sure where to put the ball in my stance. My iron shots could have been better.  The soft greens and easy divots gave me the most trouble, and it was very frustrating to make a good swing, just to have the power killed by a divot. This was also the case with my wedge shots. My putting was on the better side of random.

I shot a 102 for the round (30 over par, 50 on the front nine, 52 on the back nine) this consisted of one birdie (on the 157 yard par-3 12th), two pars, three bogeys, and the rest an even split of double and triple bogeys. I 1-putted six times and 3-putted four times, and had two sand shots and two penalty shots. I think this round was a good experiment with my fairway wood. I need to get a little more consistent with it, but when I do, I think I could work better for me than my driver. I still really like hitting with my driver, but I also like hitting fairways.

Water’s Edge Golf Club – Scores & Stats
Course length: 6,069 yards (white tee boxes)
Course par: 72
Course rating/slope: 69.1/122 (white tee boxes)
My score: 102 (30 over par)

Water’s Edge Golf Club
7205 W. 115th Street
Worth, IL 60482

Sugar Creek Golf Course

Posted by cjsharp1 on June 12, 2013 in Courses 1 Comment

For the second 9-hole course of the day, I met up with Suzie at Sugar Creek Golf Course in Villa Park, Illinois, located approximately 18 miles west of downtown Chicago. The course, which was established in 1975 and opened in 1976, is owned and operated by the Village of Villa Park and the Elmhurst Park District.

Sugar Creek features three par-3 holes and no par-5 holes for a total par of 32 at a length of 2,344 yards from the back tees. There are three sets of tees on the course: the back Blue tees, the 2,150 yard White tees, and the 1,888 yard forward Red tees. The fairways are all straight and mostly flat and open, while being surrounded by small- and medium-sized trees. Water touches five of the holes, three of which you’ll need to carry over. Bunkers are found on every hole, either near the fairway, the green, or both, though there’s not a lot of them. The greens are fairly large and offered some challenging putts.

I really liked this course. It has a good layout and it seemed well maintained. Also, the course was upfront about areas under repair. Recent flooding left many of the bunkers damaged, and the course took the effort to inform golfers of the repair work being done, which is not something you hear or see too often from golf courses.

Coming off my previous poor round, I managed to play a much better round this time. I decided not to pull out the driver the whole round, and instead rely on my fairway wood. It was a good decision, because I was much more consistent with my tee shots. My iron shots were decent, but I still lacked accuracy. My short game was about average, mostly because I was trying to hit more with my high loft wedge, which I haven’t quite gotten the feel for the power/distance combination. My putting was about average also. Near the end of the round, I remembered a swing thought from last year that focused on flattening out my swing. Once I started doing that, my accuracy with my irons seemed to get better. This is something I need to keep in mind.

I shot a 42 for the round (10 over par), which was a significant improvement over my morning round. This consisted of three pars (all on the last three holes), two bogeys, and four double bogeys. I 1-putted twice and 3-putted twice, and had only one sand shot and no penalty shots.

So I have a couple new takeaways from the round that I might start trying out in future rounds: leave the driver in the bag, and flatten out your swing.

Sugar Creek Golf Course – Scores & Stats
Course length: 2,150 yards (white tee boxes)
Course par: 32
Course rating/slope: 60.8/104 (white tee boxes)
My score: 42 (10 over par)

Sugar Creek Golf Course
500 East Van Buren
Villa Park, IL 60181

South Shore Golf Course

Posted by cjsharp1 on June 11, 2013 in Courses 0 Comments

This weekend, I decided to do something different and play two 9-hole courses, in an effort to knock more courses off the list. I started the day at South Shore Golf Course in Chicago, Illinois, located approximately 9 miles south of downtown Chicago. The course is part of the Chicago Park District, which runs six golf courses throughout Chicagoland. Of the six golf courses, there are five 9-hole courses, including South Shore, and one 18-hole course, Jackson Park Golf Course (which I played in 2009).

The course features three par-3 holes and no par-5 holes for a total par of 33 at a length of 2,720 yards from the back tees. There are only two sets of tees: the back Blue tees and the forward Red tees which drops the length to 2,614 yards. The fairways are very flat, generally straight, and sometimes narrow, all surrounded by large trees. Although the course layout on the score card shows water touching the 5th hole (a 149 yard par-3), you’ll find no water on this course (unless you count Lake Michigan, which doesn’t really come into play). I’m guessing the water dried up on the 5th hole. Bunkers are sparsely found throughout the course, and are your average park district quality (meaning don’t expect perfection). The same goes for the greens, which are of average size and low quality.

My round at this course was about the same as the course’s quality: poor. My drives didn’t work, and by the middle of the round, I was done with pulling the driver out of the bag. I instead relied on my hybrid, which has been improving over the last couple of rounds. It gave me some relief, but my game generally stayed bad. I don’t really have much more to say about this round. My score will speak for itself.

I ended up shooting a 54 (21 over par), which consisted of two bogeys, two double bogeys, and five triple bogeys. I 1-putted once and 3-putted once, and had three sand shots and one penalty shot. Needless to say, I was happy to end the round and try to start fresh for the second round of the day.

South Shore Golf Course – Scores & Stats
Course length: 2,720 yards (blue tee boxes)
Course par: 33
Course rating/slope: 32.9/112 (blue tee boxes)
My score: 54 (21 over par)

South Shore Golf Course
7059 S. South Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60649

Gleneagles Country Club – Red/Lakes Course

Posted by cjsharp1 on June 4, 2013 in Courses 1 Comment

Another weekend of golf takes me to Gleneagles Country Club in Lemont, Illinois, located approximately 25 miles southwest of downtown Chicago. Founded in 1924, Gleneagles was originally a private club known as Twin Eagles. In 1951, the McNulty family purchased the course and made it open to the public. Gleneagles is home to two 18-hole championship courses: the 6,045 yard Red/Lakes course and the 6,252 yard White/Woodlands course. Both courses were designed by Charles Maddox, who has also designed many public and private courses in the Illinois and Indiana area, including all three courses at Silver Lake Country Club in Orland Park, Illinois. For this round, Suzie, Markus, and I played the Red/Lakes course.

The Red/Lakes course features five par-3 and three par-5 holes for a total par of 70 at a length of 6,045 yards from the back tees. There are three sets of tees: the back Black tees, the 5,734 yard Red tees,  and the 5,050 yard forward Gold tees. The fairways are much like a traditional course, formed from rolling hills and surrounded by large trees. Nearly all of the fairways are open and straight, with the exception of the 5th hole (a 311 yard par-4) that doglegs left. Water touches six of the holes, two of which you’ll need to carry your shot over. The 9th hole (a 339 yard par-4) is notable with its large lake in front of the back two tee boxes. A tee shot of over 175 yards will safely find the fairway, while anything less will surely find the water. Bunkers are found on all holes, though they are mostly next to the greens. The greens are of average size, and offer some challenging breaks depending on the placement of the pins.

I can’t say I played my best round here. My drives were pretty poor, and I found  myself pushing and slicing right many times. Throughout the round, I hit many shots with my irons, and although I wasn’t accurate with the shots, I was getting decent distance. My short game with my wedges were decent. I’m starting to use my high loft wedge a little more, and I’m starting to like it. I really need to get a new set of wedges thought. My putting was decent, and it probably saved me from getting a really bad score.

I ended up shooting a 104 (34 over par, 49 on the front nine, 55 on the back nine). This consisted of one par, three bogeys, eleven double bogeys, and all other worse. I had three 1-putts and three 3-putts, along with two sand shots and one penalty shot. I wish my score could have been better, taking into account the length of this course. I think I need to start working with the driver a little more, or try switching to my fairway wood, which has been working better for me.

Gleneagles Country Club – Red/Lakes Course – Scores & Stats
Course length: 6,045 yards (black tee boxes)
Course par: 70
Course rating/slope: 69.0/120 (black tee boxes)
My score: 104 (34 over par)

Gleneagles Country Club
13070 McCarthy Road
Lemont, IL 60439

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