Over the course of the last couple of years of this project, I noticed that I primarily play courses in the west, southwest, and south suburbs. This weekend, I decided to change things up and go to the north suburbs… way north, in fact… nearly to the top of the project circle. For this round, Markus and I traveled up to Countryside Golf Club in Mundelein, Illinois, approximately 34 miles north of downtown Chicago. The course is part of the Lake County Forest Preserves, which also oversees ThunderHawk Golf Club and Brae Loch Golf Club (both of which are outside of the project circle). Countryside Golf Club, which opened in 1931, consists of two different courses: the Traditional course and the Prairie course. As their names imply, the Traditional course is very much like a standard course with tree-lined fairways, while the Prairie course is designed in the “prairie-style”. For this round, we played the Prairie course.
The course features four par-3 and four par-5 holes for a total par of 72 at a length of 6,757 yards from the back tees. Being a “prairie-style” course, the rolling fairways are straight and wide open, surrounded by few small trees and thick grass. This course felt pretty similar to other “prairie-style” courses, and even some “links-style” courses, throughout Chicagoland, like Prairie Bluff Golf Course, The Sanctuary Golf Course, and Naperbrook Golf Club, though I would say that this course is a little more hilly than the others. Water hazards touch eight of the holes, none of which you’ll need to carry over if you play your shots correctly. Bunkers are found on almost all holes, either near the fairway, near the green, or both. The greens are large, and most of them have a steady slope that makes putting a little more difficult. I really liked this course. Overall, the course is beautiful and was pretty fun to play. The fairways, bunkers, and greens were all in great condition. I would probably rank this in my top 10 favorite courses in the Chicagoland area.
At the tee box for the first hole, Markus and I were joined by another golfer, Steve. Throughout the round, we got to talk to Steve quite a bit (partially thanks to a 30 minute break due to weather). He was telling us that Countryside is probably one of the most popular courses in the area (which we would agree, because the course seemed busy).
I had a pretty random round. My drives started off pushing right, and stayed generally right through a good portion of the round. It wasn’t until the middle of the back nine until I hit a drive that went left. I did manage to make a couple straight drives, but they were few and far between. I wasn’t able to make good shots with my hybrid until near the end of the round, which was around the same time that I figured out something I was doing wrong: I was completely forgetting about the correct upper body stance and movement. As a result of this, my upper body was moving too much during my swing, and I would chunk or top the ball. Once I realized what I was doing wrong, my shots improved. My irons were decent throughout the round, and I felt I was still making good contact thanks to the lessons. My wedges and putting was decent, and I thought the greens were pretty fun. I 1-putted twice and 3-putted four times.
I ended up shooting a 102 for the round (30 over par, 56 on the front nine, 46 on the back nine). As you can see, I had pretty bad front nine (due to a couple penalties) and a much better back nine, starting around the 13th hole (a 391 yard par-4). Once I started making better contact with the ball (after correcting my stance), I started seeing much better scores. My score consisted of one birdie (on the 15th, a 151 yard par-3), two pars (the 14th, a 332 yard par-4, and the 18th, a 517 yard par-5), five bogeys, five double bogeys, and all others worse. I’m happy things turned around on the back nine, but I didn’t expect it to turn around that much. That birdie on the 15th definitely helped though.
Countryside Golf Club – Prairie Course – Scores & Stats
Course length: 6,757 yards (brass tee boxes)
Course par: 72
Course rating/slope: 69.4 / 118 (white tee boxes)
My score: 102 (30 over par)