I’m really hoping to make a round at this course an annual affair. About this time last year, I got a chance to play Crystal Tree Golf and Country Club, a course that is somewhat important to me (I got married next to the tee boxes of the first hole). Luckily enough, our host for the round, John, had such a good time last year that he invited me, Mike, and Chuck back for another round, and we gratefully obliged.
Crystal Tree is located in Orland Park, Illinois, approximately 30 miles southwest of downtown Chicago. The course opened in 1989 and was designed by the world-renowned Robert Trent Jones, Jr, who also designed Prairie Landing Golf Club in West Chicago, Illinois, and ThunderHawk Golf Club in Beach Park, Illinois. In the mid 2000′s, a new 55,000 square foot clubhouse was built, and the holes were renumbered to accommodate for the new clubhouse.
The course features four par-3 and four par-5 holes for a total par of 72 at a length of 6,810 yards from the back tees. There are five sets of tees: the back Gold tees, the 6,405 yard Silver tees, the 6,003 yard White tees, the 5,578 yard Blue tees, and the 5,248 yard forward Red tees. The course weaves its way around the Crystal Tree neighborhood, resulting in a course layout where two fairways are rarely next to each other. Overall, this is a fairly hilly course, but the rolling fairways are generally wide and open, and are surrounded by large trees or the houses that are part of the neighborhood. The design and layout of the fairways is what makes this course so beautiful. Water touches nine of the holes, three of which you’ll need to carry your tee shot or your approach shot over if played safely. Large bunkers are found on every hole, either near the greens, near the fairways, or both. The challenging, undulating greens are generally pretty deep and narrow.
I’d like to say I improved my score this year, but that’s not the case. Much like my previous rounds, I kept the driver and fairway wood in the bag again throughout the round, and hit nearly all of my tee shots with my hybrid. My tee shots were still pretty inconsistent, but I was generally hitting straighter shots. The same goes when hitting off the fairway with my hybrid; sometimes the shot would be really good, other times it would be really bad. My iron shots were decent, but I lacked accuracy and typically pushed right. I was still chunking my wedge shots. This could be related to the “no practice swings” routine with my irons, so I’ll probably start making practice swings again. My putting was the most annoying of the entire round, because I found myself barely missing my putts to the left on many occasions.
I shot a 107 for the round (35 over par, 53 on the front nine, 54 on the back nine). This consisted of one par, four bogeys, eight double bogeys, and all others worse. I 1-putted four times and 3-putted three times, and had five sand shots and four penalty shots. I really should work on my driver more, because only teeing off with my hybrid on these longer courses are not helping my score, especially on the par-5 holes.
As for the others in my group, Mike shot a 108 and Chuck shot a 115. In our side game of Wolf (which we heavily modified for our group), Mike won with 11 points, I made 9 points, and Chuck made 8 points. As the Wolf, Mike was 3-for-5, I was 2-for-4, and Chuck was 3-for-9.
Crystal Tree Golf and Country Club – Scores & Stats
Course length: 6,405 yards (silver tee boxes)
Course par: 72
Course rating/slope: 72.0 / 136 (silver tee boxes)
My score: 107 (35 over par)