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Golf courses near UIUC


njlam
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My son recently decided to move to Illinois to enroll in a 5 -year PhD program at UIUC.

 

Hoping to visit frequently. Can anyone tell me about the golf courses in the area? Hoping there are some good ones.

 

Thanks.

Driver: Ping G425 Max 12 deg w/MR Tensei Orange R
Woods: Ping G425 5w & 7w w/MR Tensei Orange R
Hybrid: PXG 0317X Gen 2 25 deg w/MR Diamana Blueboard R
Irons: Ping i200 5-U w/Project X 5.5 LZ
Wedges: Ping Eye 2 Gorge S w/DG Spinner/Cleveland 588 64 Tour Issue w/DG S400
Putter: Ping Doc 12.5 
Ball: Titleist ProV1x 

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Posted (edited)

Atkins GC, formerly Stone Creek, was/is an excellent course. It's the home course for UIUC's golf teams. The course was closed in 2020, and I'm not sure if it has opened yet, but hopefully it'll be back soon.

 

Edited by Argonne69

Ping G400 Max 10.5 - Fujikura Vista Pro 65 Flex-X 44.5"
TaylorMade AeroBurner Mini Driver 16 - Matrix Speed RUL-Z 60 Stiff
Ping G410 7wd 20.5 (0 Flat) - Alta CB 65 Stiff (43")
Ping G410 9wd 23.5 (0 Flat) - Alta CB 65 Stiff (42.5")
Ping G410 5h 26 (0 Flat) - Alta CB 70 Stiff
PXG 0311P Gen3 6-P (2 Deg Weak, 1 Deg Flat) - True Temper Elevate 95 S
Ping Glide 3.0 52-12 SS, 56-10 Eye2, and 60-10 SS Orange Dot (2 Deg Flat) - Ping Z-Z115 Wedge
PXG Blackjack 36" - SuperStroker Flatso 2.0

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Thanks. 

 

Any idea if the courses at UIUC (the Orange and the Blue) are any good?

Driver: Ping G425 Max 12 deg w/MR Tensei Orange R
Woods: Ping G425 5w & 7w w/MR Tensei Orange R
Hybrid: PXG 0317X Gen 2 25 deg w/MR Diamana Blueboard R
Irons: Ping i200 5-U w/Project X 5.5 LZ
Wedges: Ping Eye 2 Gorge S w/DG Spinner/Cleveland 588 64 Tour Issue w/DG S400
Putter: Ping Doc 12.5 
Ball: Titleist ProV1x 

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6 minutes ago, njlam said:

Thanks. 

 

Any idea if the courses at UIUC (the Orange and the Blue) are any good?

 

Meh. I played the Blue course, and wasn't impressed. Conditions were spotty. The Orange didn't look much better. Typical muni-type parkland layout. With weekday walking rates of $14 it won't break the bank, though. 

Ping G400 Max 10.5 - Fujikura Vista Pro 65 Flex-X 44.5"
TaylorMade AeroBurner Mini Driver 16 - Matrix Speed RUL-Z 60 Stiff
Ping G410 7wd 20.5 (0 Flat) - Alta CB 65 Stiff (43")
Ping G410 9wd 23.5 (0 Flat) - Alta CB 65 Stiff (42.5")
Ping G410 5h 26 (0 Flat) - Alta CB 70 Stiff
PXG 0311P Gen3 6-P (2 Deg Weak, 1 Deg Flat) - True Temper Elevate 95 S
Ping Glide 3.0 52-12 SS, 56-10 Eye2, and 60-10 SS Orange Dot (2 Deg Flat) - Ping Z-Z115 Wedge
PXG Blackjack 36" - SuperStroker Flatso 2.0

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https://fightingillini.com/facilities/atkins-golf-club/39

 

I just looked this up. It looks fantastic! Thanks.

  • Like 1

Driver: Ping G425 Max 12 deg w/MR Tensei Orange R
Woods: Ping G425 5w & 7w w/MR Tensei Orange R
Hybrid: PXG 0317X Gen 2 25 deg w/MR Diamana Blueboard R
Irons: Ping i200 5-U w/Project X 5.5 LZ
Wedges: Ping Eye 2 Gorge S w/DG Spinner/Cleveland 588 64 Tour Issue w/DG S400
Putter: Ping Doc 12.5 
Ball: Titleist ProV1x 

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  • 1 month later...
On 5/18/2021 at 10:04 PM, njlam said:

https://fightingillini.com/facilities/atkins-golf-club/39

 

I just looked this up. It looks fantastic! Thanks.

Played Stone Creek about five years ago on a windy day.  Course was in great condition and tough.  After the round, my playing partner and I ducked into the U of I team clubhouse.  It was amazing.  The front room is like a huge living room with cathedral ceilings, two fireplaces, sofas and lounge chairs for studying.  A huge indoor putting green occupied one of the rooms.  I think the other rooms housed hitting bays presumably with launch monitors and simulators.  Really cool setup for the kids!

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Has the Atkins Golf Club reopened yet? I will be visiting for the 1st time this fall and hope to play it.

Driver: Ping G425 Max 12 deg w/MR Tensei Orange R
Woods: Ping G425 5w & 7w w/MR Tensei Orange R
Hybrid: PXG 0317X Gen 2 25 deg w/MR Diamana Blueboard R
Irons: Ping i200 5-U w/Project X 5.5 LZ
Wedges: Ping Eye 2 Gorge S w/DG Spinner/Cleveland 588 64 Tour Issue w/DG S400
Putter: Ping Doc 12.5 
Ball: Titleist ProV1x 

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If you travel through Bloomington-Normal, book a round at ISU Weibring Golf Club.

Fall 2021

Cobra King F6+ 1W 10.5° (orange) Diamana D+ 62

Callaway Mavrik Sub Zero 4W 16.5° Rogue White 70

Callaway Mavrik Pro 3Hy KBS Hybrid 80

Callaway Apex 19 4Hy 23° EvenFlow Black 85

Callaway 2018 X-Forged 5i-7i / Apex MB 8i-PW Modus 120

Mizuno S18 51.08 56.10 60.10 DG Wedge

Bettinardi Studio Stock 28 CS / Piretti Cottonwood II CS

 

https://www.golfwrx.com/660122/witb-golfwrx-members-edition-jbrunk/

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On 7/19/2021 at 6:25 PM, njlam said:

Has the Atkins Golf Club reopened yet? I will be visiting for the 1st time this fall and hope to play it.

No, will not be open yet.  Looking like spring of 2022..  There are three private clubs in Champaign-Urbana that you could try calling.  U of I orange course is currently the best local public option.  It is not in bad shape and is a fair test.  Would not recommend playing Blue course though.  If you don't mind a drive and prefer a little better conditioning, I'd say shoot for Den at Fox Creek or Weibring Golf Club (Illinois State home course) in Bloomington. 

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I much prefer Lake of the Woods over the U of I Orange course (forget the blue course).

 

Lake of the Woods has a lot of elevation changes while U of I is dead flat.  The choice of the back vs standard tees is meaningful at LotW for how multiple holes play, while it just adds a club to your approach shot at UoI.   At UoI 3, 7, 8, 11, 12, 14 are all essentially the same hole and in general it seems like the pins are never moved.  Despite its name UoI is privately owned/managed and is not associated with the university (perhaps it was before Stone Creek was built in the late 90s).

 

LotW is shorter, but it is tight and wooded with well placed fairway bunkers on the par 4's (for my distance).  A driver/3 wood is needed to clear the traps (but a wayward shot is in the woods or OB) and I need to hit a mid iron to be short of the traps.  At LotW the par 5's (3, 12, 15) are reachable but only with meaningful risk (the other par 5 sixth is de facto a long par 4).  The two driveable par 4's (7 and 10) are quite risky to go for, 7 requires a precise tee shot even if you lay up, and laying up on 10 (within 120 yards) means hitting a wedge on a significant down slope.  The tee shot on 11 is probably the most challenging shot on the course: you can try to cut the corner over the trees or hit a large fade around the corner (but you are dead if you miss right/left/short) and if you don't challenge the corner you are in trouble if you go short/right and missing long/left means a long approach shot perhaps from a bunker. 

 

In terms of conditioning, LotW went through a real rough patch a few years ago but they have put a lot of work in the course since then and are still making improvements to the sand traps and fairway drainage.  The golf staff and the super are fairly young, came in a few years ago, and have overseen the course's turn around so I think its upward trajectory should continue.  Of course it is a $24 muni (owned/operated by the county forest preserve) with bluegrass fairways/tees so one needs realistic expectations.

 

I have played the Den (an upscale muni in Bloomington with $40 fees) which I would probably prefer over LotW if they were the same distance from me, but I am not going to frequent a place that is an hour drive away over a place 15 minutes away.  Good conditions and interesting holes with varying elevations, my only knock on the Den is that it is set within a housing development.

 

-----

 

I am uncertain how the Atkins club (now run by the university) will turn out in the long run.  I really hope it turns out well since I could almost walk there.  In the short term for OP it will probably be a great course to play on visits for the next 5 years.

 

The course was originally build in the Tiger boom of the late 90s and was built as part of a housing development (with the intention of almost every hole being lined on at least one side with houses).  The housing development floundered, but enough houses have been build that only a handful of holes can have their layout be changed in a meaningful way.  It will be interesting to see how they work around this to add ~400 yards to the course to make it 7500 and long enough for premier college golf. 

 

The course tried to position itself as a premium pubic course (which for the area means $60 green fees) but failed to be financially viable (not enough rounds being played), so it hemorrhaged money and its condition deteriorated.  The course design is nothing special and being set on a flat piece of farmland within a housing development certainly doesn't help.  So you are paying a premium essentially for the condition of the course, and once it lost its pristine condition golfers just elected to play elsewhere for $25.  Hopefully the redesign they are doing makes the course layout more interesting.

 

By the time I moved to the area a few years ago the course was normally empty and wouldn't even sell out its $30 (cart included) deals posted online (I would grab one the night before as a single and play alone).  Tired of losing a million dollars a year, the developer/owner of the course and housing development donated the course and the surrounding empty housing plots to the university's athletic department. 

 

I am curious how the university will manage the course from the business angle and if they are able to avoid the situation of Stone Creek became, namely a money pit of a mostly empty course with a premium cost that not enough people want to pay.  The issue is that most people in the area who want a premium golf product are already members at one of the three private clubs, so it is not clear there is a enough unfilled demand to actually support such a product.  Perhaps in the long term the athletic departments just ends up footing the bill for the course.

Edited by cadoipi
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Thanks for the great background info. Any idea who they are using for an architect for the remodel?

Driver: Ping G425 Max 12 deg w/MR Tensei Orange R
Woods: Ping G425 5w & 7w w/MR Tensei Orange R
Hybrid: PXG 0317X Gen 2 25 deg w/MR Diamana Blueboard R
Irons: Ping i200 5-U w/Project X 5.5 LZ
Wedges: Ping Eye 2 Gorge S w/DG Spinner/Cleveland 588 64 Tour Issue w/DG S400
Putter: Ping Doc 12.5 
Ball: Titleist ProV1x 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Lived near Champaign for awhile and played lots of junior tourneys around there 10-15ish years ago. Ironhorse and Stone Creek were nice tracks. Bummer about Stone Creek/Atkins - course was always in really good shape. My home course was Lake of the Woods and always enjoyed playing there, especially the front nine. Like the guy above said, elevation changes are a change of pace for the area. 
 

Feel like one of the courses in Rantoul might have been decent, but it’s been awhile. 

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Driver: Ping G425 Max 12 deg w/MR Tensei Orange R
Woods: Ping G425 5w & 7w w/MR Tensei Orange R
Hybrid: PXG 0317X Gen 2 25 deg w/MR Diamana Blueboard R
Irons: Ping i200 5-U w/Project X 5.5 LZ
Wedges: Ping Eye 2 Gorge S w/DG Spinner/Cleveland 588 64 Tour Issue w/DG S400
Putter: Ping Doc 12.5 
Ball: Titleist ProV1x 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Ironhorse was awesome back when I was a student (graduated in ‘08); not sure if it’s still good but I would look there first. I never liked Lake of the Woods, and the Blue/Orange were cheap and just “fine”. Atkins fka Stone Creek opens back up in spring and should be your go to when it’s back open. 

Ping G400 Max 9 degree - Kuro Kage Dual Core TiNi 60X
Ping G400 3 wood - UST Mamiya VTS Silver SX
TaylorMade UDI 3 iron - GD AD DI 95X
Titleist 718 AP2 4-PW - Project X LZ 6.5
Mizuno T7 52, 56, 60 - DG
Evnroll ER2

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