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)