Carillon Golf Club

By Brendan O'Brien, Contributor

Plainfield IL, - If the object of your endeavor is to find somewhere to play with a large group of clients, then the Links at Carillon is the place to be. From the large parking lot to the accessible bag drop area; everything about the facility is geared to hosting a large corporate outing.

Like most courses in the area, the clubhouse features a well-stocked pro shop. But the difference at Carillon is the restaurant. With even a full breakfast served every morning and a full menu at
dinnertime, dining before or after a round is not a problem at Carillon, but a priority.

What is surprising about the Links at Carillon is the conditioning of the course. For a links course that gets a lot of sun and play during the summer, the management does a wonderful job of keeping the grounds in the best shape possible.

"The one thing that we are known for is the conditioning of the course," James Long, Director of Golf, said. "We rely on the greens and fairways being in great shape and players never running into any problems spots."

The other aspect of this track is how playable it is. Players get rewarded for great golf and penalized for bad decision-making and shot playing. The greens are large, so miss-clubbed shots might be on the green. but still a long way home, while the rough is thick in many places and seems to ask golfers to take at least an extra club. The true test of the fairness of the course is when the best of the best come play it.

"We had a PGA event out here in an Open qualifier round and the target score was right on the money," Long said of the scores being around par. "So we know the good golfers aren't eating it up either."

But Long thinks that even novice golfers will enjoy golf at Carillon. "I hear people coming in after their round and saying they just had one of their better rounds of the year here."

The course itself is a beautiful stretch of 27 holes of links golf. Like most courses across the pond, there are plenty of ways to play most of the holes. High soft shots into the pin to hard cut shots that run up to the hole, the course is designed for any style and skill level of golfer.

There is a hole on each of the nines that are worth a mention. The first and most memorable is the ninth on the white course. Regarded as one of the best, if not toughest finishing par-5s in the area, the hole is a monster.

The feature of this 510-yard hole is how awe inspiring of a tee shot it is. With the hole tailing off the left on the tee box, players must hit a 200-yard drive well to get over the huge lake. If the drive is hit too well, it will find the lake on the other side of the fairway.

The risk, reward factor also comes into play here since this hole is the last on the nine. With two well-struck woods, players can easily get home in two and have a good shot at the much-needed late birdie. Bunkers are placed in back of the narrow green and make a decent place to be after a second shot. If players can keep their nerve and stay dry and straight, this is a great place to make up a stroke or two.

"It is hard not to mention the number nine on the white course," Long said. "It is definitely the most talked-about and most memorable. It has gotten a lot of recognition around the area from being a great finishing hole."

Another fine piece of golf design is the 513-yard fifth hole on the blue course. Another par-5 with water in play, this hole doesn't ask players to go over a water hazard on the tee shot, but the second shot. A straight shot of more than 200 yards is all that is asked of players off the tee to a wide fairway. The fairway begins to narrow as water comes into play at about 150 yards from the green. A pond jettisons out from the right of the rough and leaves only a sliver of fairway left of the hole to navigate. It is possible after a well-struck drive for two short irons to be played here, one to the water and one over the water and on the green. The putting surface is one of the sharpest breaking greens on the course and tends to be one of the quickest.

The first hole on the red course is, yet again, another outstanding par-5. A 505-yard double dogleg has a large pond down the entire left side. The tee shot is a tad left to right but is nothing special if golfers keep the ball straight and dry. But it is the second shot that is the kicker, a short iron to set up an easy approach, or, if players have some wind to their backs, a right to the left fairway wood over the water and to the green. Anything long and to the right is buried in brush and trees while anything on the putting surface in regulation is a great start to a round.

All par-5s are of the same silk and length, but because they sit in different places on each nine and have water placed at different spots, they are a great example of what a little imagination does for the design of a golf course.

"The one thing you want to have happen is for people to remember the golf course, I think that happens here." Long said proudly. Players won't have any problem keeping Links at Carillon in the memory bank of places to play in the Chicagoland area.

Brendan O'Brien, Contributor

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