Water's Edge Golf Course: Take the Plunge for Great Golf

By Brendan O'Brien, Contributor

WORTH, IL - Water's Edge Golf Course in Worth is one of the best golf values in the Chicagoland area. Located about 20 miles southwest of the city, this newly built course is easily accessible from both airports making it a must play for any traveling golfer.

The golf course was finished in the spring of 1999 on the Cal Sag Channel. Funding came from the city of Worth and the architecture came from Rick Robbins and PGA consultant Gary Koch. The two men used only 125 acres to build the 6904-yard course. The holes are cut into a scenic stage of preserved wildlife and forestry. With small lakes dotting the course map and the channel running the length of the property, the course is breath taking. But the woods, long rough or water should not scare off the typical player.

Four sets of tees are well planned to satisfy any level of golfer and, like most courses of this length, the key is good course management and a solid short game.

"The thing I like about the course is it is playable," Said resident golf professional Steve Dell. "There are no gimmick holes on this course. It is straight forward and it flows."

Water's Edge golf course opens big with one of the most challenging set of holes on the course. The first hole is a par-5 dogleg left that will make any golfer rethink their game plan for the afternoon. A bad drive puts a deadly stream placed close to 400 yards from the tee box into play. If golfers survive the water the next trick is to navigate around the two bunkers placed to the left of the slick green.

The second hole does not get any easier. Flanked by a lake on the left side, this long par-4 is a slicer's nightmare. The green is coupled by another lake on the right side giving any golfer who stays dry after the first two holes the advantage.

The par-3 third is a breather hole. The shortest hole on the course, most golfers walk up to this hole deserving a break. A par here will get most golfers in the grove of the afternoon round.

"If there is any I can be critical of on this course it is the par-3s." Said Dell. "The length of a couple of the par-3s are a little short and give anyone a chance for a birdie. But, on the other hand, they are fun because of that."

But players don't have time to pat themselves on the back before they get to the next hole, another par-5. The construction of this hole is a marvel. Golfers will hit their tee shot with right to left on their mind. After a straight middle iron the approach shot switches gears and becomes a left to right hole. This maneuver by the architects along with the treachery first three holes will make any golfer wish they had taken advantage of the practice range.

The next two holes are right-to-left par-4s that play between 360 and 400 yards. The two holes compliment each other well. The fifth asks players to hit a solid drive and approach shot into a tight green. The next hole is shorter which tails into a large sloping green with water protecting the back left side of the putting surface. With a long par-3 next, this is a fine time for golfers of any ability to get in gear and score well.

Two more par-4s finish off the front side with the eighth hole being the longest par-4 on the course and the ninth being the shortest and easiest.

The front nine ends far away from the clubhouse making golfers feel like they are on an island. But a well-stocked snack shop waits with cold beverages and hot sandwiches. Most days there is also a beverage cart making its way threw the course to keep golfers cool.

The tenth hole opens the back nine with one of the coolest shots on the course. A sloping fairway with bunkers on either side of a small landing area protected by trees on the left give the player on the tee a lot to think about. After a well-struck tee shot, a mid iron into a well-protected green awaits.

The 11th, the signature hole, is a par-5 with a bland left-to-right tee shot. After the second shot, water comes into play on the right side. The 542-yard hole then narrows into a well set green protected by water on the right side.

"Number 11 is my favorite hole. With the Cal Sag Channel to your left and water on your right." Said Dell. "If you are a long hitter you can cut over the water and go for it in two. The options and look of it makes it a signature hole."

An easy stretch of holes begins with the par-3 12th. The 13th and 14th are straight long par-4s while the 15th is a short par-5. This stretch is topped off by a par-3 over a marsh. The green on this hole is a tough sliding putting surface. Pars here can be the climax to a great round of golf for the typical player while a birdie ends a perfect day of golf.

The course ends with a dogleg right par-4 with water along the left side. A beautiful finishing hole is easier than it looks. A large bailout area on the left side of the green gives players a chance for the par with good lag putts.

The clubhouse is large with a full locker room, pro shop and lounge. There are plenty of restaurants in the area to choose from including two great Italian joints. Al-Gallo De'oro at 11400 S Harlem Ave (708-448-5449) and Atotonilco Tortilleria at 5922 W 111th Street (708-448-8242) are perfect places to unwind and compare scorecards and are located literally down the street from the course.

Brendan O'Brien, Contributor

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