I played Chalet Hills Golf Club as a single on a perfect summer Sunday morning. I’ve been in the Cary, Illinois area before, playing a nearby course, Foxford Hills Golf Club. There some great elevation changes in this area of Illinois so I thought I’d give it a shot.
After I checked in I took a walk on the patio of the clubhouse, which provides a great view of the course. From here, you can see the 9th and 18th green (which are a single green, which is kind of neat.)
My tee time was 8:19 and we started right on the nose, which is always a plus, especially for a Sunday morning. I decided to play the Blues, which measured 6, 594 yards (Blacks are 6,877 for you big hitters.)
The first hole starts off relatively easy, with a 392 yard par 4, that’s pretty much straight-away. I’m a big fan of “warm-up” holes, and the first two are basically that, although that drastically changes soon enough. Here’s the view of the first tee shot of the day.
The third is a 510 yard par 5, which seems fairly short for a par 5. I thought it may be reachable; boy was I wrong. The right side of the fairway is woods and OB, so I ended up pulling it a bit into a perfectly placed fairway bunker up the left side, negating the chance of going for it in two.
There are some interesting bunkers right in the middle of the fairway, which makes for an interesting set-up for your third; watch your distances!
The fifth is the #1 handicap hole on the course. The tee shot requires threading the needle of trees on both sides, favoring the left if possible.
The second shot requires a carry (from a downhill lie) over either sand or water or both, depending on pin placement. There’s a reason this is the #1 handicap hole. Looking back, I’d play it like a very short par 5; Iron, iron, wedge and hope for a one-putt for par.
The 6th is a great par 3, with two huge weeping willows to the left. I’ve always loved seeing these trees on golf courses, and Chalet Hills didn’t disappoint.
One note of caution. You’ll see the water in front of the green, but you probably won’t see the small pond behind the right side of the green. Distance is everything on this hole, so focus! Here’s a shot of the water if you’re long and right:
The seventh is another three-shot par 5, and even with two perfectly struck shots, you’ll probably have a blind third. Pay attention to the signs on the trees here; they warn you that you need to be looking for the “target on the tree behind the green.” Here’s what the target looks like:
Stay left on this approach shot to the green; right of the green drops off into penalties.
There’s a nice permanent bathroom between 7 & 8 (and also 14 & 15). My wife just wouldn’t be happy if I didn’t take note of this. If you’re married, you understand.
The ninth is a perfect risk/reward hole. Hitting from the blues, I aimed for the right edge of the first bunker and hit a very good tee shot that landed in the middle of the fairway. The bigger a hitter you are, the more you can cut off. For reference, I only had about 130 in.
In the picture below, you can see the bunker I mentioned, as well as a group in the fairway and a group on the green (you may want to look at the larger version; just click on it and choose All Sizes.) Like I said, bite off all you want here.
There is also a phone on the ninth tee, if you want to order some food. It also comes up on the GPS which is nice, and retains pace of play (and I’m a BIG fan of that.)
The approach on ten is definitely uphill. There really isn’t a penalty for being short, but there isn’t any trouble behind the green either, so feel free to take an extra club or two.
The twelfth was probably the most interesting hole on the course for me. It’s a short par 4(only 354 from the Blues) and there’s an elevated tee, so I checked the wind and hit a hybrid. There’s also water on both sides of the fairway, so hybrid for sure.
Unfortunately, you don’t feel the wind very much on the tee, even though it may be quite strong down below. This is what happened to me. I was left with a 180 yard approach into the wind to a long and thin green! Believe it or not, I hit the green with a 5-iron and two-putted. This was the par I went home and told my wife about.
Fourteen is another short par 4 but trust me, take driver here for sure. Even though you can see water off the tee, if you want to par this hole, driver all the way. The reason is that the green has water in front and in back, so the shorter your iron, the better your chances of sticking the green. Also, aim up the right; everything feeds slightly off the hill; left is death.
Here’s a shot looking back from the 14th green to the tee; really a nice, quiet spot. You’ll see.
Fifteen is a downhill par 5, and potentially reachable if you hit the tee shot right (540 from Blues, but all downhill). I didn’t reach it, but it is potentially reachable… for good players.
Sixteen is an uphill par 4 that I pulled hard. Luckily, I stayed inbound and gave myself a lie that didn’t have any elevation change (like the fairway does) to the green. You can see by the picture below that I’m way off the fairway (to my right), but I have a good line to the green.
Don’t plan on this; I just got lucky.
Seventeen is, according to the scorecard, the easiest hole on the course. It’s also as close to an island green that you’ll see in the state of Illinois. It is short (only 134 from Blues) and downhill, and the green is large, but there’s something about a green being surrounded by water that just screws with your head.
The finishing hole is a 474 yard par 5 which is reachable… If you hit a great tee shot. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen to me, but it did happen to another in my group which is nice to see. The hole bends around the lake, as you can see. I’m standing on the tee and the green is on the4 far left of the picture, in front of the group of trees.
I didn’t shoot what I would consider a respectable score (it was a big number), but I did enjoy my round. The weather was exceptional, we finished in 4:25 (just like the starter said we would), I saw the cart girl at least 4 times (like she said I would), and I got to play a great track at a reasonable price.
If you’re looking to play a great course that you don’t play on a regular basis, I’d definitely give Chalet Hills Golf Club a look.