As mentioned in a previous post, we typically make the most of our golf outings with 18-hole offerings, however as the season draws to a close, we find 9-holes once again being the only logistical way to fit some golf in to our busy schedules. While there are a couple options within the borders of Chicago, bland course layouts and lack of overall challenge usually have us looking outside the city limits. For our latest round, or half-round rather, with the weather still in the 60’s for early November, we ventured back to a hometown course of sorts, a 9-hole track in the heart of our old high school district. Trying to rekindle some of the joys of walking golf we cherished in our teens, we gave Flagg Creek in Countryside a throwback play. The same driving range and putting green on which we used to challenge each other still carry the same targets and tiers, and no worse for wear more than a decade and a half later. This local favorite still packs them in late in the season as we found ourselves paired together with another twosome. At just under 2,500 yards from the back tees, this par 33 course isn’t long, but provides challenge through various length par 3s and water looming large on the par 5 and finishing par 4 ninth hole.
We booked this round a couple days out on online, directly through the course website, knowing the course would be crowded with locals trying to get a last round in for the year. The course has been around for years, and while we have played it dozens of times before, the familiar approaches still provide challenge in the form of green-side bunkers and tiered greens. The course sits on an a sloped tract of land, with a couple holes leading slightly uphill and a few heading down. While it is on the short side, this 9-hole layout still provides plenty of opportunity to utilize most every club in the bag. Trees, sand and water all play roles in keeping your game honest. There was a good cut to the tee boxes, clean edges on the fairways and Bunkers were still playable, with decently groomed sand. The greens seemed appropriately cut, however still had a bit of lag as expected so late in the season. What stood out most for us though, just as we remembered as teens, was the fun layout with 4 par 3s evenly spaced throughout the round. Plenty of ways to challenge your playing partner with individual hole contests.
Pace of Play:
As I mentioned, we expected it to be crowded and it was. I don’t believe we have ever had a round under two hours that wasn’t either extremely early or at twilight chasing the sun. While the par 3s are fun to play, it does provide a challenge keeping the rounds moving when the course has steady tee times. With the waiting game playing a factor, We decided to walk this round, which for 9-holes is always a great way to play. Walking affords you a little more time to look for your ball while your playing partners can be ready at their next shot.
The clubhouse has not changed much over the years, however it was fairly new when we were in high school and still holds up to most other courses today. It is appropriately sized for the course, offering a small pro shop, bar, grill and newly installed gaming machines on which to spend those well earned skins. There are usually a few staff members at the desk and couple rangers on the course, plus an instructor or two to be found at the range. There is both a practice putting green and chipping area (located behind the 9th hole tee box), along with a mat driving range with bucket tokens for purchase in the clubhouse.
The standard weekend rate is $19 for walking, with a twilight rate of $10. You can get a riding cart for an extra $16, but walking is definitely the preferred route. Check their website for early and late season rates or on golfnow.com for occasional online discounts.
Learning the game here, we are partial to Flagg Creek, but it should offer plenty of enjoyment to the average Chicagoland golfer looking for a 9-hole course challenge. With excellent course conditions and a fun layout, this course offers a great experience for all levels of golfer. While our play may have been enhanced by reliving some old memories, the fact that you can try most every shot in the bag is a great bonus. The ability to practice your game at their range and practice greens make Flagg Creek a well rounded destination over other local offerings. Give them a look at Flagg Creek Golf Course.