Prairie Landing Golf Club
Rated 4.5 Stars by Golf Digest 'Best Places to Play', one of only 25 Illinois courses on the 4.5 Star List.
A Challenging Test of Prairie Links Style Golf - OPEN TO THE PUBLIC!
For tee times call the Pro Shop at 630-208-7600.
Setting the tone for Prairie Landing's shot options, the first hole is an excellent example of this demanding course's design philosophy. A right-side fairway drive is the best position for a slight dogleg right shot to the fairly large, diagonally-set green, just 330 yards from the golds. But trouble on the left-sloping fairway with a stream and two bunkers, plus wind, can easily yield that first-hole-jitters bogey. Lots of fun to crank one on the green, the straight way, but you'd best be hitting it long and high with wind behind for that.
Another of the shorter variety, #2, only 350 from the golds (as are all these yardages), is straight away, but with well-guarded fairway bunkers and that insidious stream. It's elevated all the way to a raised green. Can be tough when the wind blows.
The five par threes - #3, 6, 12, 14 and 17 - are all good pokes: 178, 174, 208, 171 and 207 yards respectively. #3 green plays left to right among fescue-covered mounds and rises front to back. #6 dittos that same "dunes and hammocks" Irish/Scottish style.
Again, a left-to-right approach is the key, carrying the huge front bunker, where the fun begins on, perhaps, the toughest and most sloping green at Prairie Landing. #12 is truly "beast and beauty." A par here must carry a lake and a natural rock wall with a gentle landing on a left-to-right folding green. A signature hole, for sure; the reflecting lake and gorgeous stand of trees tend to confuse your senses.
Ah yes, #14: another beauty with wetlands left and sprawling bunker right; a possible birdie if you're not too distracted.
Contrasting #14, the shortest par 3, is #17, the longest and one that can easily change your betting strategy with its approach and rolling contours. Hit this green, escaping the bunkers and slopes and you'll still be wise to spend time reading and practicing your putt.
On to our remaining six par fours. Numbers 5 and 8 outbound are of the mid-yardage vintage, 390 and 360 respectively, but the intimidation factor remains. #5 needs a decision right or left of a carry-bunker in the center fairway. Left provides great roll, but less room for error.
Closer to the green and an open approach shot is the reward for staying left. Fly it right (perhaps safer) and you're faced with carrying wetlands and a green-side bunker to a narrower part of the green. Good luck there!
Yield to the temptation to smack the driver on #8, setting yourself up left of the bunkers from the elevated tee for a full short iron to this contoured green. Two decent shots just may give up that birdie here; best be putting well, though. You'll need to summon up accuracy for your front-nine finishing hole.
A pretty thing, #9, 408 yards, nevertheless demands a well-placed tee shot, left fairway to a narrow green. The lake, the fescue-covered mounds, the clubhouse and the bunkers provide a great backdrop and hopefully not a "dropping back." A par here earns you a mid-round snack.
There's fun to be had on the back-nine par fours: #11 is only 335 yards, but finesse is the byword here. What are those wetlands in the middle of the fairway doing there? Trees and bunkers, too? Yes, you need a measure of finesse to thread through these, but once your tee shot is safely placed, a nice approach shot to a green that rolls away from the green-side hazards should net you a par.
A tee shot to the right of the wide but tilting fairway on #15, 363 yards, gets you into position for a bump-and-run to the left side of the green, avoiding bunkers right. #16 is the longest of the par fours on the course and, wonder of wonders, no fairway hazards. A possible down-hill lie into a huge valley narrows as it approaches a sloping green. Lots of that fescue and several mounds surround this green. Hit it low and run it in on this downhill 414-yarder.
Saving the par five descriptions for last, here lie five deceptively wide-open holes. Spacious fairways, yes, but your tee shot on #4, 513 yards, must straddle the central bunkers. Take the left side for a better view of the hole and stay left to avoid a stream inlet right. A friendly green awaits, putting and pin position-wise, as long as you've kept out of the surrounding bunkers, swales and hollows.
#7, 555 yards, is the longest hole and, of course, generally into the prevailing wind. Keep it straight on this slight dogleg right, away from the marsh left, to a green perched above the stream. Take your time to read the swales on this rolling green.
Local knowledge would be helpful on #10. Just stay as straight as possible for the 530 yards, trying to avoid the insidious slopes, bowls and stream lurking left off the fairway. Though it sports a wide fairway, you'll need to thread your shots to a multi-level green.
#13 offers 549 yards of wetlands, mounds and bunkers to make your tee shot the most demandingly straight of the course. You must carry the diagonally crossing stream on your second, avoid a bunker cluster and hit this sweeping right-to-left green for your par.
The final hole and the final of the five fives, #18 is yet another 545-yard signature-hole gem. Feel like gambling after your 240-yard-plus tee poke? You must be left of the three mid-fairway bunkers and hit your best 5-wood or long iron over the lake and the facing trap to a high-bowled green. You're suddenly putting for that eagle, but be happy with the birdie. You've won the challenge. What a finisher!