“Shut that (insert colourful word) camera off and HELP ME OUT HERE!”, I screamed.
You literally couldn’t see anything but the taillights in front of you. Unfortunately, we needed two cars for the trip due to all the camping gear and without cell phones, I was forced to press on and follow the car in front which held our two other partners in crime.
We were to play Cog Hill #4 the next day, the distinguished Dubsdread Course which has hosted the PGA Tour’s Western Open since 1991. The Dubsdread Course was ranked inside the top-50 best public courses in the world by almost every notable golf publication so we were jacked to be playing out there, to say the least.
However, we really worried about whether the course would be ready to play the next day due to all the rain. So when we arrived in Lemont, we drove right to the golf course to check things out.
Needless to say, it was very wet but the pro indicated that everything should be fine for the next day. We ended up staying in a hotel that night since setting up camp in a foot of water didn’t sound enticing. Plus, we wanted to be fresh for our big day!
Well, I wish it was all roses but I must say that overall, I was pretty disappointed with my experience at Cog Hill. Things started off poorly when the guy behind the counter wouldn’t even throw in a yardage book with the $150.00 US green fee and was rude to boot. Cheap buggers…wait…maybe I’M the cheap bugger! Ha!
I stood on the first tee, shaking like a palm tree in a stiff Florida breeze. I wish I understood why I was nervous but I barely got the ball off the tee, hitting a really weak toe hook short of the bunkers on the left. I had to pitch out to the fairway, hit a nine iron to 40 feet and SUNK THE PUTT for a routine par.
Easy game…umm, not so fast, Pro!
I’d three putt the short par three second for bogey and then doubled the next two holes after that. I finally was able to right the ship with consecutive pars on eight (shown above) and nine but was an ugly 44 on the front side.
I made another par on the short par four tenth, getting up and down from the front bunker but three putted again on the par five eleventh for bogey.
It just wasn’t going to be my day.
I finished my round of 87 with a double bogey six on the very difficult 18th hole (shown below), a 448 yard brute with bunkers right off the tee and a large pond fronting the left side of the green.
The golf course wasn’t in great shape due to the weather but you’d think for $150.00 you would get a course with RAKED BUNKERS. Not here…at least on this day. The greens were much slower than I expected and the overall conditioning was shockingly poor for such a highly thought of course.
I will admit that the course layout and design is solid. There is a lot of variety in the design and it certainly is a good test of golf. I think that they need to do something about the excessive tree growth out there – you can leave yourself some blind shots out there FROM THE FAIRWAY due to the overhanging limbs. I doubt Wilson had that in mind when he laid the course out 40 years ago.
There were some highlights: the 16th hole is absolutely gorgeous. It’s an uphill dogleg left par four with a fairway that slopes from right to left towards a ravine. The pear-shaped green complex is protected by bunkers short left and long right. A beauty and a beast.
The aforementioned 18 is also a fantastic golf hole, with a very difficult tee shot and an intimidating second.
I can’t help but feel disappointed with the day. I was really excited about the opportunity to play such a well-respected course but left wondering why it merits so much attention.
I thought it was a very nice course but top 50 in the world? Not in my opinion.
EDIT: NOVEMBER 2019
It’s funny looking back at some of these old posts!
Cog Hill may have been the most expensive round of golf I had played at that point in my life but upon reflection 20 years later, it’s safe to say that I was way too hard on the staff and likely, the golf course conditioning, all things considered.