Over the weekend, I ventured for a round at 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. I previously played the Red/Lakes course in May of this year, so for this round, Markus and I played the White/Woodlands course.

The course features four par-3 and two par-5 holes for a total par of 70 at a length of 6,252 yards from the back tees. There are three sets of tees: the back Black tees, the 5,990 yard White tees, and the 5,419 yard forward Gold tees. For ladies, five of the par-4 holes turn into par-5’s, bringing the total par up to 75. The rolling fairways are straight and open, surrounded by large trees (as the course name suggests). There are no dogleg holes. You also won’t find any water hazards on this course (head to the Red/Lakes course for that). Bunkers are found on every hole, mostly next to the greens, with an occasional trap next to the fairway. The bunkers seemed in decent condition, though they could use a little bit more raking. The greens are of average size and difficulty, and felt pretty soft for the round, which made the putts seem a little slow.

For once, I actually played a really, really good round. Keeping the driver in the bag again, I mostly made my tee shots with my hybrid, and out of ten tee shots with my hybrid, I only pushed twice. Other tee shots with my fairway wood and irons were decent, though not as consistent. My iron shots were pretty good, and I wasn’t chunking nearly at all. One thing that was a bit different with this round was I wasn’t taking practice swings very often. When I went to make my shot, I just approached the ball, relaxed a bit, at swung. More often than not, I would hit a clean shot. I was also pretty happy with my wedge shots. (I really do need to get a new set of wedges.) Putting was a bit more random, but was generally better on the back nine.

I ended up shooting a 92 for the round (22 over par, 49 on the front nine, 43 on the back nine). This round ties my previous best score at Woodbine Golf Course in October of 2012. My score consisted of four pars, seven bogeys, six double bogeys, and others worse. I 1-putted three times and 3-putted twice, and had two sand shots and no penalty shots (this really helped). Needless to say, I’m pretty happy about this round. I felt like my swings were smooth and consistent, and the consistency with my hybrid gave me a lot of confidence. I’m really torn now about what I should be hitting off the tee. While I do like the distance of a driver or fairway wood, I think I more like the accuracy of my hybrid. I know I should start using my driver a bit more, but maybe I’ll play a couple more rounds focusing more on the hybrid, so I can keep getting lower scores.

Gleneagles Country Club – White/Woodlands Course – Scores & Stats
Course length: 5,990 yards (white tee boxes)
Course par: 70
Course rating/slope: 68.8/122 (white tee boxes)
My score: 92 (22 over par)

Gleneagles Country Club
13070 McCarthy Road
Lemont, IL 60439

A weekday round of golf is pretty rare for me. So when I get a chance to get away from the office early, I take advantage of the opportunity. I felt the best way to take advantage of this was to play a round a Harborside International Golf Center, which is located in Chicago, about 15 miles south of downtown Chicago. Harborside, which opened in 1995, is home to two 18-hole courses: the 7,104 yard Starboard Course and the 7,164 yard Port course. The courses, which opened in 1995, were both designed by Richard P. (Dick) Nugent. I’ve seen Mr. Nugent’s designs quite a few times while working on this project. He’s a well-known golf course architect who also designed many other top courses in Chicagoland, including Seven Bridges Golf Club and Klein Creek Golf Club, and remodeled even more courses in Chicagoland, including Course No. 3 at Medinah Country Club. For this round, Markus joined me to play the Starboard course, and we took advantage of their twilight rate, which drops the greens fees down by nearly half.

The course features four par-3 and four par-5 holes for a total par of 72 at a length 7,104 yards from the back tees. There are four sets of tees: the back Tournament tees, the 6,620 yard Championship tees, the 5,914 yard Regular tees, and the 5,110 Forward tees. The course is a traditional links-style course, formed from rolling hills with no trees. The fairways are uniquely designed but mostly straight, surrounded nearly completely by tall grass, humongous bunkers, or a whole side of water. Water hazards touch only four holes, all on holes during the final stretch of the back nine. You’ll likely need to carry water twice, both on par-3 holes, depending on which tee box you’re on. Otherwise, if you keep your shots from pushing or slicing right, you won’t have any issues with the water. In fact, try your best to keep all shots straight and accurate, because finding your ball in the tall grass is equally as challenging as finding your ball in a water hazard. Once it goes it, it likely won’t come back out. Being a links-style, the course is more known for it’s large bunkers, which are present near the fairways and greens on everyone hole except the 2nd (a 398 yard par-4). The greens are equally unique and challenging. The course places it’s pins in one of nine possible locations, so you’re likely not going to have the same putts for two different rounds.

As for my game this round… it’s probably what you expected. This is a really challenging course, and not having straight, accurate shots makes it even more challenging. I continued to push and slice my tee shots (I did break out the driver throughout the round). My accuracy was so bad that later in the round I started purposefully aiming far left, and it actually saved me a couple times. Other times, I found myself on the neighboring fairway, or worse, in the grass. The grass was more frustrating than anything. Not only on tee shots, but also on iron shots from the fairway. I’d hit toward the grass, see where it went it, but would never find it. My iron shots were pretty random, and I was still chunking the ball a couple times. My wedge shots were pretty good, while putting was really random. The greens were really challenging, and played fairly fast. I found myself putting up-hill many times, which made it difficult to figure out how much power I should put into the putt.

I ended up shooting a 103 for the round (31 over par, 50 on the front nine, 53 on the back nine). This consisted of one birdie (putted in from the fringe on the 7th hole, a 387 yard par-4), one pars, four bogeys, and a lot of double and triple bogeys. I also had 3 sand shots and five penalty shots, and I 1-putted five times and 3-putted three times. With a course like this, I’m perfectly fine with my score. As much as I like playing on links-style courses, I really dislike the tall grass. I know when I start hitting straighter, this won’t be much of an issue. Maybe I’ll save Harborside’s other course until I get to that point.

Harborside International Golf Center  Starboard Course – Scores & Stats
Course length: 6,620 yards (Championship tee boxes)
Course par: 72
Course rating/slope: 72.4/129 (Championship tee boxes)
My score: 103 (31 over par)

Harborside International Golf Center
11001 S Doty Ave
Chicago, IL 60628

George W. Dunne National Golf Course

Posted by cjsharp1 on July 12, 2013 in Courses 0 Comments

A couple weeks ago, I joined many, many members of the Chicago Co-Ed Golf Meetup Group for a round at George W. Dunne National Golf Course in Oak Forest, Illinois, located approximately 25 miles south of downtown Chicago. George Dunne is part of the Forest Preserve Golf courses, which operates ten golf courses throughout Chicagoland (including EdgebrookJoe LouisChick EvansBilly CaldwellIndian BoundaryRiver Oaks, and Meadowlark, seven other courses I have played so far). Of the ten courses, George Dunne is the longest, and most popular, of the eight 18-hole courses. Like all other Forest Preserve Golf courses, George Dunne is a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary.

The course features the standard four par-3 and four par-5 holes for a total par of 72 at a length of 7,262 yards from the back tees. There are four sets of tees: the back Gold tees, the 6,677 yard Blue tees, the 6,148 yard White tees, and the 5,452 yard forward Red tees. The rolling fairways offer quite a challenge for all levels of golfers. The fairways are mostly straight, surrounded by large, thick trees. Four of the holes dogleg around a water hazard, three of which require the tee shots to be accurate with both distance and angle to avoid the water. When playing from the back tees, all of the par-3 holes are over 170 yards. Water touches ten of the holes, six of which you’ll need to carry your shot over depending on the tee boxes you play and your level of risk when approaching the green. Bunkers are found on every hole, either near the greens, near the fairways, or both. The greens are large and challenging, with interesting breaks and consistent slopes.

This is actually a really challenging course, and my scorecard accurately reflects that. Much like previous rounds, I generally stuck with teeing off with my fairway wood instead of the driver, and also like previous rounds, I tended to push many of my tee shots right. It’s becoming so common now that I feel like I should just go back to my driver and try to figure out how to fix my slice. Away from the tee box, fairway shots with my fairway wood and hybrid are generally pretty good. It’s crazy to think how good those shots have gotten over the past year. Shots with my irons need some work, and I especially need to figure out why I’m chunking my shots after a couple decent practice swings. I’m probably thinking too much about my shot. I know I can get good distance with my irons, so I don’t have a reason to overpower my shot. Wedge play was about average, and I’m starting to get better with figuring out distances with my lob wedge. My putting was overall good, better on the back nine than the front nine.

I ended up shooting a 103 for the round (31 over par, 53 on the front nine, 50 on the back nine) this consisted of three pars, five bogeys, three double bogeys, and all others worse. I 1-putted three times and 3-putted three times, along with three sand shots and five penalty shots. With the way I was playing, I would have thought my score would have been worse, so I’m fine walking away with a score like this.

George W. Dunne National Golf Course – Scores & Stats
Course length: 6,148 yards (white tee boxes)
Course par: 72
Course rating/slope: 70.3/130 (white tee boxes)
My score: 103 (31 over par)

George W. Dunne National Golf Course
16310 S. Central Ave.
Oak Forest, IL 60452

Green Meadows Golf Club

Posted by cjsharp1 on July 2, 2013 in Courses 0 Comments

For the second 9-hole round of the day, I headed to Green Meadows Golf Club in Westmont, Illinois, located approximately 25 miles southwest of downtown Chicago. Green Meadows, which opened in 1990, is owned by the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County, which also owns Oak Meadows Golf Club (an 18-hole course) in Addison and Maple Meadows Golf Club (an 18-hole and 9-hole course) in Wood Dale. I played Oak Meadows in April of 2011, and the 18-hole course at Maple Meadows in October of 2009.

The course features six par-3 and no par-5 holes for a total par of 30 at a length of 1,888 yards from the back tees. There are two sets of tees: the back White tees and the forward Red tees (at a length of 1,500 yards). The fairways are all flat, open, and straight, surrounded by small- and medium-sized trees. Water touches three of the holes, and you’ll only need to carry water if you play from the back tees of the 5th hole (a 169 yard par-3). Small bunkers are found on nearly every hole, though only next to the greens. The greens are of average size and difficulty, and played a little fast for my round.

I played better this round compared to my earlier round. I was still pushing my tee shots, which were mostly with my irons, but my approach shots were generally good and helped me recover from any poor tee shots. My wedge shots were pretty good, and they set me up for fairly easy putts. My putting was a lot better. I 1-putted three times and 3-putted once. I generally felt like I played a lot smoother, relaxed game this round.

I shot a 36 for the round (6 over par), which was probably the best 9-hole round I’ve ever played. This consisted of three pars and six bogeys. I one had one sand shot, and I didn’t have any penalty shots.

If you put both rounds together, I would have shot a 16 over par on a par 60 course, which is right about at bogey golf (I usually play worse than bogey golf). So, not too bad, if I must say. I just need to play this way more often, and on standard par-72 courses.

Green Meadows Golf Club – Scores & Stats
Course length: 1,888 yards (white tee boxes)
Course par: 30
Course rating/slope: unknown
My score: 36 (6 over par)

Green Meadows Golf Club
18 W 201 West 63rd Street
Westmont, IL 60559

Mid-Iron Golf Club

Posted by cjsharp1 on July 1, 2013 in Courses 0 Comments

This weekend, I once again played two 9-hole courses back-to-back. For the first round, I went to Mid-Iron Golf Club in Lemont, Illinois, located approximately 25 miles southwest of downtown Chicago. The course opened in 1985, and is locally owned. Mid-Iron is more of a practice facility than a standard course. The facility does have a driving range, which I think is more commonly used than the course.

The course features six par-3 and no par-5 holes for a total par of 30 at a length of 1,597 yards (less than 100 yards longer than the 1,500 yard short course cutoff). There is only one set of tees, but there is an alternate tee box on the 3rd hole (a 260 yard par-4) that drops length of that hole to 220 yards and the overall length to 1,557 yards. With a length this short, you can easily see why the course is named “Mid-Iron”: you’ll be hitting with your middle irons quite often. The fairways are mostly straight, with the exception of the 4th hole (a 266 yard par-4) which doglegs left before the green. The 4th hole is the longest par-4 hole on the course, while the par-3 holes range from 115 yards to 170 yards. Water touches four of the holes, but you’ll only need to carry over the water if you play from the longer tee box on the 3rd hole. There are no bunkers on the course, though it looked like there could have been at some time. The greens are generally large and flat; nothing overly complicated or challenging.

As much as I should be practicing with my driver, it’s nice to play a course like this. While my tee shots were mostly made with my shorter irons, I did get to hit with my fairway wood and long irons a couple times. My tee shots were generally decent, but I was still pushing right. Approach shots with my irons were good, though I was chunking the ball a couple times. This an issue I’ve been seeing every so often, where my practice swings will be good, but when I take my shot, I overextend my arms and chunk or hit too fat. Wedge play was good, and putting could have been a bit better. I 1-putt twice and 3-putt four times (all in a row).

I shot a 40 for the round (10 over par). This consisted of one birdie, one par, four bogeys, and all others worse. I didn’t have any sand shots because of the non-existent bunkers, and I didn’t take any penalty shots. I wish my putting could have been a little better to avoid all of the 3-putts, which would have dropped my score down a lot. I think I generally played pretty well, and I hope it continues to the next round.

Mid-Iron Golf Club – Scores & Stats
Course length: 1,594 yards (only tee boxes)
Course par: 30
Course rating: 25.2 (only tee boxes, slope unknown)
My score: 40 (10 over par)

Mid-Iron Golf Club
12680 South Bell Road
Lemont, IL 60439

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