Southern Indiana Trip Report May 2018

Argonne69Argonne69 Members Posts: 20,389 ✭✭
edited May 24, 2018 in Midwest #1
I'm on a 4 day trek through southern Indiana to play 6 courses. I'll be visiting Otter Creek, Chariot Run, Sultan's Run, Christmas Lake, Cambridge, and the University of Illinois GC on the way back to Chicago. I'll be posting course reviews along the way, and photos when I get back home.



I started the trip with two rounds at Otter Creek this afternoon. The course has three nines. The original nines (North and West) are an old school parkland layout. The terrain is fairly rolling, but you're not going to get any huge elevation changes. Still, it's far from flat. There are enough trees to help outline the holes without being penal. The newer nine (East) is more of a prairie style layout with native grasses and water on a few holes. It's relatively flat, but still has some character.



The N/W nines are a fairly straightforward layout. Other then a pair of short dogleg par 4's, there isn't much variety in the holes. The par 3's could use some variety as well. The bunkers were nice. There are enough to help frame the holes, but they only come into play if you hit a poor shot. The greens were fairly benign with little slope.



Course conditions were very good. The fairways had decent rollout, and the bunkers had just enough sand to be playable without being punishing. The greens rolled smooth, but were very slow. Ugh. It was a real struggle to get the ball to the hole.



Speaking of struggle, that describes my first round. After nearly 4 hours in the car, I was very stiff. Drives were going left, more left, and really left. Lol. Irons were a bit better. Luckily my wedges were able to bail me out for most of the round. I loosened up during the 2nd round (E/N), hitting 11 fairways and 12 greens. Putting for both rounds was poor, as I simply couldn't adjust to the slow green speeds.



Overall I had an enjoyable afternoon at the course. The weather was near perfect, and the course was moderately challenging. Otter Creek used to be a top 10 course in Indiana, but I can see why it's fallen out of the list. It's not a bad layout. I wouldn't have a problem teeing it up here on a regular basis if I was a local, but it's not a destination course.
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Comments

  • LYGLYG Members Posts: 1,012 ✭✭
    edited May 24, 2018 #2
    Sounds like a fun day.



    Thanks for the report.



    PS, Were your shots going left: due to



    a) coming over the top?



    or b) anxiety, come up "out of the shot" and flipping with your hands?



    or c) not making a full turn (nerves coming out when playing) and then getting quick with the swing?



    Just worth thinking about!



    Three usual suspects above. (IMHO)
    TM M2 driver (2016) Fujikura Pro 53
    TM M2 3 and 5 woods, Fujikura Pro 53
    PXG 19 degree hybrid, Fujikura Pro 73
    Mizuno MP 25, 3-PW, Nippon 1150 GH Tour
    Miura wedges, Y grind 53 and 59, Nippon NS Pro
    8802 Palmer or by Cleveland or early 1970's Ping Answer
  • Argonne69Argonne69 Members Posts: 20,389 ✭✭
    edited May 24, 2018 #3
    I have a bad left knee. At times I have trouble getting my weight to my left side. This results in a big arm swing with flipping wrists. Pretty much a smother hook.



    If I don't sort it out in a few holes I start hitting a power fade. I lose distance, but it stays in the fairway.

  • LYGLYG Members Posts: 1,012 ✭✭
    Sounds like you have it 100% covered!
    TM M2 driver (2016) Fujikura Pro 53
    TM M2 3 and 5 woods, Fujikura Pro 53
    PXG 19 degree hybrid, Fujikura Pro 73
    Mizuno MP 25, 3-PW, Nippon 1150 GH Tour
    Miura wedges, Y grind 53 and 59, Nippon NS Pro
    8802 Palmer or by Cleveland or early 1970's Ping Answer
  • Argonne69Argonne69 Members Posts: 20,389 ✭✭
    My 2nd day started with a wonderfully round at Chariots Run. The course sits on a sprawling prairie. It's a prairie/links style layout with native grasses, and beautiful natural looking bunkers. The tees are generally elevated, so you get some great views of the entire course. The course appears to be designed for windy conditions, as fairways are quite generous. The greens are moderate size, so good approach shots are a must. The greens are not overly sloping, so a good putter can definitely score.



    I thought there was a good mix of long and short par 4's. The par 3's were wonderful looking, with water coming into the play on three of them.



    Course conditions were excellent. The bunkers had just the right amount of sand, and the greens were rolling quickly without being punishing.



    Amazing what a good night's sleep can do for one's game. My ballstriking was much better today, with 12 fairways and 13 greens. My putter was red hot. I made birdie putts of 15 and 33 ft, and had a nice 36 footer to save par.



    I can see why the course is rated in the top 5 in the state. With a $54 green fee, a visit is highly recommended.

  • Argonne69Argonne69 Members Posts: 20,389 ✭✭
    edited May 25, 2018 #6
    My second round of the day was at Sultan's Run. Another wonderful layout, this one is a hilly wooded parkland course with a large number of elevated tees. Much more elevation change than Chariots. I liked the mix of short and long holes. The par 3's were excellent, especially the 12th with its 2 club drop to a water guarded green. The fairways were generous for the most part. I do think the course could use some additional fairway bunkers.



    Course conditions were spotty. The greens were in very nice shape, and rolled with some speed. A few downhill putts got away from me. However, there was a large amount of bare patches, especially around the collar of many greens. Not sure if it was disease, or simply too much rain. Chipping or putting from off the greens was a challenge.



    Another solid round ballstriking. 11 fairways and 13 greens. I had a couple of nice birdies, but otherwise I was playing it safe to the fat part of the greens as I ran out of gas in the heat and humidity.



    Love the layout. Definite must play if you're in the area, and probably worth a road trip.
  • highscoreinkyhighscoreinky Members Posts: 365 ✭✭
    Good reviews and I agree with your opinion on the first 3 courses. Chariot Run is the best public IMHO that we have access to in Louisville. Course conditions are always top notch, great practice facilities and a course that will having you use every club in your bag.



    Haven't played the last two courses on your list but Christmas Lake has been on my radar for a while.
  • Argonne69Argonne69 Members Posts: 20,389 ✭✭
    First one out on the course this morning at Christmas Lake GC in Santa Claus, IN. In 5 rounds of golf I've played through one twosome. It's great to have courses to myself. The course sits on a very nice piece of rolling, wooded terrain. The front nine is a bit flatter, and there are a number of homes visible from the fairways. The back nine really shines with large elevation changes, and no homes. The course has no fairway bunkers, which is a pity, as it would add some character. Long bunkerless holes are drab. The thick rough somewhat made up for the lack of hazards off the tee. The greens were rather ho hum. The par 4's were basically the same length, and could use some variety. I thought the par 3's were decent.



    Conditioning was spotty. This is certainly not an overly manicured course. The rough consisted of half grass and half weeds. The fairways were OK, but had the occasional dead spot. The greens were in decent shape, and rolled with moderate speed. The greenside bunkers looked like an afterthought, but were playable.



    The driver took a turn for the worse. I only managed 8 fairways. There were no big hooks, but rather a big sweeping draw that kept finding the left rough. 9 greens didn't help the scoring, but 5 scrambles for par kept the round from getting away from me.



    I'd have to say I was disappointed with this one. The terrain is excellent, but the lack of bunkering and conditioning was underwhelming. A decent course for the locals, but not a destination course.

  • Argonne69Argonne69 Members Posts: 20,389 ✭✭
    edited May 26, 2018 #9
    I finished my swing through southern Indiana with a round at Cambridge GC. It's a prairie style course that sits on a wide open vista overlooking the surrounding countryside. There are a number of homes on the property, but they sit far enough away to not intrude on the course. I have to believe that the mounding is man made. If so, it's very well done. There are a number of water holes, but it's primarily a wide open layout. While there are a number of fairway bunkers, I felt that they were too few and too small to pose a challenge. A handful of short par 4's help mix it up. The par 3's are fairly uninteresting. The green complexes are generous in size, but fairly benign. I have to imagine the course is designed for moderate winds.



    Course conditions were spotty. There were a number of bare patches. Excess rain? The greens were very spongy, and awfully slow. The natural looking bunkers needed grooming, and a fresh load of sand.



    With the generous fairways and light winds it was fairly easy to hit 12 fairways. I added 12 greens in regulation for a solid round of ballstriking.



    Maybe I'm running out of steam, and/or interest, but I found the layout uninspiring. The conditioning didn't contribute to the experience. It's a decent layout, but not a destination course.

  • stickfishstickfish Members Posts: 106 ✭✭
    Both Sultan's Run and Cambridge were designed by Tim Liddy I believe http://timliddy.com/



    If you are the Chicago area there are several of his layouts within an easy drive, and even more when you factor in the work he did while employed by Pete Dye. One consistency of his are the 3 pars in that they typically have a high visual impact along with usually harder than many of his 4 pars to score on. Keeping in mind that he (like others) design what the person signing the check mandates his designs are some of my favorites in the Midwest.



    Cheers,

    <><
  • Argonne69Argonne69 Members Posts: 20,389 ✭✭
    Maybe it's the owner's desire to minimize maintenance, but I was also underwhelmed by the Trophy Club due to the lack of bunkering. Very nice piece of property, but the course left me wanting. On the other hand, I did enjoy Rock Hollow. I'm a big fan of Pete Dye, but it appears that the pupil has decided to move away from the master.

  • Argonne69Argonne69 Members Posts: 20,389 ✭✭
    My final round on the trip was at the University of Illinois (Blue) GC. This is an old school parkland layout that is a real snoozer. I'm not sure if this was the home of the Illini golf team at one point, but if so I can see why they moved to Stone Creek. I'll spare you the boring details. Skip it unless you're taking a beginner out for their first con-course experience.
  • jli2636jli2636 Members Posts: 1,038 ✭✭
    Argonne69 wrote:


    My final round on the trip was at the University of Illinois (Blue) GC. This is an old school parkland layout that is a real snoozer. I'm not sure if this was the home of the Illini golf team at one point, but if so I can see why they moved to Stone Creek. I'll spare you the boring details. Skip it unless you're taking a beginner out for their first con-course experience.




    If I remember right from what my dad told me, the Orange course is the better track of the 2 U of I courses. He played JC golf at Parkland in Champaign. The golf program is probably the most successful program on that campus the last decade.
  • Argonne69Argonne69 Members Posts: 20,389 ✭✭
    Otter Creek GC - North



    The par 5 1st



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    The par 3 3rd



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    #4



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    The par 5 5th



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    #6



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    #7



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    #9



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  • Argonne69Argonne69 Members Posts: 20,389 ✭✭
    Otter Creek GC - West



    #1



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    #2



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    #3



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    The par 3 4th



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    The par 5 5th



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    The par 3 6th



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    #7



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    #8



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    The par 5 9th



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  • Argonne69Argonne69 Members Posts: 20,389 ✭✭
    Otter Creek GC - East



    #1



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    #3



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    #4



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    The par 5 5th



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    The par 3 6th



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    #7



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    The par 5 8th



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    #9



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  • Argonne69Argonne69 Members Posts: 20,389 ✭✭
    Chariot Run (Front 9)



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    #1



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    The par 3 2nd



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    #3



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    The par 3 4th



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    The par 5 5th



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    #6 (Dogleg right)



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    #7



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    Views from the 7th tee



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    The par 5 8th



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    Behind the 8th green



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    #9



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  • Argonne69Argonne69 Members Posts: 20,389 ✭✭
    Chariot Run (Back 9)



    #10



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    The par 5 11th



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    Well guarded



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    The par 3 12th



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    #13



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    #14



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    The par 3 15th



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    #16



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    #17



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    Views from the 17th



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    The par 5 18th



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  • Argonne69Argonne69 Members Posts: 20,389 ✭✭
    edited May 28, 2018 #19
    Sultan's Run (Front 9)



    #1



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    The par 3 2nd



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    #3



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    The par 5 4th



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    The par 3 5th



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    The par 5 6th



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    #7 (Dogleg left)



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    #8



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    #9



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  • Argonne69Argonne69 Members Posts: 20,389 ✭✭
    Sultan's Run (Back 9)



    #10 (Dogleg right)



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    #11



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    The par 3 12th.



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    The par 5 13th



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    #14



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    #15



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    The par 3 16th



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    #17



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    #18



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    'Nice waterfall behind the 18th green



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  • Argonne69Argonne69 Members Posts: 20,389 ✭✭
    Christmas Lake (Front 9)



    #1



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    #2



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    The par 3 3rd



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    The par 5 4th



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    The par 3 5th



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    #6



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    The par 5 7th



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    #8



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    #9



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  • Argonne69Argonne69 Members Posts: 20,389 ✭✭
    Christmas Lake (Back 9)



    #10 (Dogleg right)



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    #11 (Dogleg left)



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    #12



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    Looking back towards the teebox



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    The par 5 13th



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    The par 3 14th



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    The par 5 15th



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    #16



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    #17



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    The par 3 18th



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  • Argonne69Argonne69 Members Posts: 20,389 ✭✭
    Cambridge (Front 9)



    #1



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    The par 5 2nd



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    The par 3 3rd



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    #4



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    #7 green



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    #8



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    #9



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  • Bob CatBob Cat Golfopath Members Posts: 1,575 ✭✭
    18th at Sultans is a great hole - scenic and great opportunity to finish with birdie.



    Argonne, if it's fairway bunkers you seek, set your radar for Purgatory GC in Noblesville, IN. You can certainly scratch that itch there.
    Taylormade M1
    TaylorMade R5 Dual (3) / R580 (7)
    Ping i15 / Zing 2
    Titleist Vokey SM7 (Raw)
    TM Spider Tour Black
    Titleist AVX
    Sun Mountain Four 5
    Clicgear 3.5+
  • Argonne69Argonne69 Members Posts: 20,389 ✭✭
    Cambridge (Back 9)



    #10



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    #11



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    The par 5 12th



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    The par 3 13th



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    #14



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    #15



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    The par 5 16th



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    The par 3 17th



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    #18



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  • Argonne69Argonne69 Members Posts: 20,389 ✭✭
    Bob Cat wrote:


    18th at Sultans is a great hole - scenic and great opportunity to finish with birdie.



    Argonne, if it's fairway bunkers you seek, set your radar for Purgatory GC in Noblesville, IN. You can certainly scratch that itch there.




    Yeah, Purgatory is a kick in the teeth. I played it along with Prairie View and The Fort on a trip to French Lick a few years ago.
  • Argonne69Argonne69 Members Posts: 20,389 ✭✭
    The University of Illinois GC - Blue



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  • Bob CatBob Cat Golfopath Members Posts: 1,575 ✭✭
    Argonne69 wrote:

    Bob Cat wrote:


    18th at Sultans is a great hole - scenic and great opportunity to finish with birdie.



    Argonne, if it's fairway bunkers you seek, set your radar for Purgatory GC in Noblesville, IN. You can certainly scratch that itch there.




    Yeah, Purgatory is a kick in the teeth. I played it along with Prairie View and The Fort on a trip to French Lick a few years ago.




    So it's be much more fun the second time!

    Before you come through again next time, check in with us at the Indiana GolfWRX section if you want a few tag-a-longs.
    Taylormade M1
    TaylorMade R5 Dual (3) / R580 (7)
    Ping i15 / Zing 2
    Titleist Vokey SM7 (Raw)
    TM Spider Tour Black
    Titleist AVX
    Sun Mountain Four 5
    Clicgear 3.5+
  • Argonne69Argonne69 Members Posts: 20,389 ✭✭
    OK, time for a wrap up. First, that was a heck of a lot of driving. I generally stay within 3.5 hours on my holiday weekend trips, and the extra time in the driver's seat was a real strain on the 'ol back. I got lucky with the weather for the most part. The forecast called for scattered showers, but they rain stayed away. Actually, I think a little rain would have helped, as the humidity was rough.



    As for the golf, I was mostly pleased. Course conditions were good for the most part. There were a few rough patches, and a few too slow greens, but otherwise very playable. My rankings are:



    1) Chariots Run: 'Reminded me a bit of Wildhorse in Nebraska. Expansive prairie/links layout on rolling terrain with few trees. Nice selection of par 3's. Challenging short par 4's. At $54 (w/ cart), it was a steal.



    2) Sultan's Run. Very nice parkland layout with large elevation changes. Like most of the courses I played this trip, it could use more bunkering. Course conditions very spotty, especially the collars of the greens.



    3) Christmas Lake: I really liked the elevation changes on the back nine, as well as the isolation. The front nine was so-so. Another decent parkland layout that could use more bunkering to help frame the holes, and provide some target lines. The green complexes could use more contouring, too.



    4) Otter Creek: I liked the original North and West nines, especially the West. The East nine is too flat, and out of character for the course.



    5) Cambridge: This prairie-style layout just didn't do it for me. Playable, but boring. The 18th is a real snoozer for a finishing hole. Once again, a course that is going to present itself as a links-style course needs fairway bunkers. Standing on most tee boxes ones sees an endless sea of green.



    6) The University of Illinois GC (Blue): Flat as a pancake, and not a real challenge. It's a good course for beginners, but experienced players should avoid.
  • DavePelz4DavePelz4 A golf course in the Chicago area.ClubWRX Posts: 24,339 ClubWRX
    jli2636 wrote:

    Argonne69 wrote:


    My final round on the trip was at the University of Illinois (Blue) GC. This is an old school parkland layout that is a real snoozer. I'm not sure if this was the home of the Illini golf team at one point, but if so I can see why they moved to Stone Creek. I'll spare you the boring details. Skip it unless you're taking a beginner out for their first con-course experience.




    If I remember right from what my dad told me, the Orange course is the better track of the 2 U of I courses. He played JC golf at Parkland in Champaign. The golf program is probably the most only successful program on that campus the last decade.




    Updated for accuracy.
  • jaygweenjaygween Members Posts: 217 ✭✭
    Argonne, if cost wasn't a factor would you rather play the Donald Ross course at French Lick or Chariots Run? I tried finding a trip report you did for French Lick, but I didn't see one, but it looks like you've played it. Pictures from your trip and your description of Chariots Run look like it's a great course.



    I'm trying to decide which one to play. Looks like the winter rate for the Ross course is $75 and Chariots Run is $45 so the difference isn't that big so I'd like to just play the best one.
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