Over the weekend, I played a round at The Links at Carillon Golf Course in Plainfield, Illinois, approximately 30 miles southwest of Chicago. Opened in 1990, the Links at Carillon consists of three 9-hole courses: the Red course (3,391 yards, par 36), the White course (3,438 yards, par 36), and the Blue course (3,153 yards, par 35). The Blue course is the newest of the three courses, opening in 1996. The courses wrap around the Carillon community, which seems to be a really large community based on the layout and spacing of the holes. In many cases, you’ll travel a long distance from the green of one hole to the tee box of the next hole. For this reason, I do not recommend walking, unless you are really up for taking an occasional long walk.
For this round, I played the Red and White courses. As mentioned before, the Red course measures in at 3,391 yards from the back tees, and the White course measures in at 3,438 yards from the back tees. Both courses consists of two par-3 and two par-5 holes (the Blue course consists of three par-3 and two par-5 holes). All of the fairways are relatively wide open and straight; only the water hazards make the holes look less straight. Even though the name of the course is “The Links at Carillon”, the course doesn’t feel like a traditional “links-style” course, as you would see at other places. Many of the holes have medium-sized trees along the sides of the fairways, and the sand traps are not so much “pot bunkers” but rather more closely resemble standard bunkers. Water hazards touch nearly all holes. You’ll need to carry over the water on a couple of the holes, mostly on the par-3’s. If you get a chance to play the White course, look out for the 9th hole, a 528 yard par-5, where you must carry your tee shot over a large body of water, around 200 yards, and land your shot in a 30-40 yard area of the fairway. A shorter or longer tee shot will put you in the water. Sand traps touch nearly all holes also, and looked to be well maintained. The greens are average size, and contain some challenging breaks. I can’t really say much more about the quality of the greens because they were recently aerated, resulting in some bumpy putts.
I was really wanting to play the all of The Links’ 9-hole courses in one day, both so I could play more than 18-holes and so I could knock the whole golf course off the list. My original tee time said I would be playing the Blue and Red courses, so when I called to see about playing the White course beforehand, I was denied by the pro shop. It turns out they rotate the 18-hole course in the middle of the day, and the White course would have been the turn course during the time that I was free to play it. When I got to the course for my scheduled tee time, and saw I was going to be playing different courses, I questioned the legitimacy of what I was told. Moral of the story: If you want to play all three courses in one day, coordinate it with the pro shop the day of, because they may rotate the courses, or they may not.
For this round, I met up with Susie again, and we were joined at the first tee by another twosome, Frank and Nick. Frank and Nick were pretty good, and they were nice guys, which made this a fun round.
I felt like I played a good round. My drives could have been a little straighter, and I topped a couple tee shots, but overall, I was perfectly fine with my tee shots. I felt my iron shots were great. I was making a lot of shots with solid contact and great distance. I feel like my iron shots have greatly improved over the last month. I’m also getting a lot more comfortable with my approach shots and chips. I feel like I’m starting to get under the ball more, and putting some loft on the ball. My putting was pretty bad, but that could be because of the aerated greens. I 1-putted twice and 3-putted seven times.
I ended up shooting a 105 for the round (33 over par), which broke down to a 51 on the Red course and a 54 on the White course. I had a good opportunity to break 100 on this round, but my inconsistency hurt me. I would go from shooting par or bogey on one hole to shooting three- or four-over on the next (isn’t that how it always goes?). For instance, I made bogey on the 6th hole (a 546 yard par-5, 490 yards from the white tees), because I 3-putted (it was crazy thinking about chipping for eagle). Also, penalties and shots from the sand made me mark an 8 for two holes on the White course. For the round, I made two pars, six bogeys, five double-bogeys, and all others worse. I know breaking 100 will happen this year. It’s just a matter of time.
Before I finish, I’ll mention that if you play this course, you’ll need to go to the south entrance of the subdivision (the smaller of the two entrances). If you go to the north entrance, you’ll get denied by the guard at the gate. Why they do that makes no sense to me, because the road will eventually take you to the same place.
The Links at Carillon – Red/White Course – Scores & Stats
Red course length: 2,952 yards (white tee boxes)
Red course par: 36
White course length: 3,058 yards (white tee boxes)
White course par: 36
Red to White course rating/slope: 68.9 / 120 (blue tee boxes)
My score: 105 (33 over par)