Conceived over a decade ago, the Centennial Park Golf Course was planned as the end use for the Brownfield known as Lakewood Park. A 9-hole, 3,300 yard par 36 regulation golf course and practice facility was designed by noted landfill course architect Tim Nugent who also designed White Hawk Country Club and co-designed Harborside International. The golf course is promised to become a premier 9-hole course and an outstanding addition to the Greater Chicago area golf community.
The course design utilizes the myriad of environmental and topographic characteristics that make up the site. The result is an eclectic blend of traditional links style of architecture intertwined in a mix of highland and marshland settings.
· Hole #1 363, 330, 301, 282 - Par 4
The golf course begins with the first tee some 40' above Maynard Lake. Golfers have the choice of 4 tee boxes to play from. The 363 yard 1st hole, while relatively straight and devoid of any sand bunkers, is no push over. The hole's defenses stem from the two tall ridgeline flanks both sides of the hole, giving it the feeling of playing in a valley. The elevated plateau-style green, which is encompassed by fairway, resides below an incredible 40' tall mound.
· Hole #2 451, 413, 385, 333 - Par 4
After the "warm-up" at the first hole you get to experience the longest par 4 on the course. A slight dogleg left with wetlands that run the length on the right, the 2nd hole plays downhill all the way. A trio of crossing pot bunkers jut into the fairway at the beginning to set up the landing area with another long, narrow catch bunker laid along the right side of the green to save shots from running into the adjacent wetlands below.
· Hole #3 178, 156, 132, 108 - Par 3
Crossing one of the wooden boardwalk bridges brings the golfer to the first par 3. This hole plays across an existing wetland to a green nestled below an abandoned Conrail railroad embankment. A small pair of ponds is located off the tees and short of the elevated green. A pair of sand bunkers lie between the water and the green on the front and right. Short and left is an approach fairway for those who wish to play it safe.
· Hole #4 518, 500, 464, 410 - Par 5
This short par 4 plays anything but short. Playing uphill and into the prevailing breeze, the first landing area is flanked with a pair of sand bunkers residing below the fairway; one on the left and one set into the hillside on the right. The green is situated 10' above the second landing area, carved into the same huge mound that is evident behind the 1st green. A nest of bunkers are below the green on the left, while others guard the right and rear, making approach shot accuracy paramount on this hole.
· Hole #5 277, 260, 224, 204, 173 - Par 4
The short, downhill/downwind 5th hole allows the golfer several options off the tee. Left, right and center - the wide fairway is peppered with bunkers. These bunkers define various target areas. The farther one wishes to tee off, the smaller the landing area will be. It will be hard for some not to attempt to drive the green; however, don't be fooled, the 5th hole's greatest defense lays in its small but wickedly undulating green.
· Hole #6 425, 404, 378, 306 - Par 4
After the short but tricky 5th hole, the golfer is presented with a big, sweeping dogleg right that curves all the way to a wide, elevated green. A pair of bunkers is set below the terraced fairway protecting the inside route while a trio of approach bunkers set up the middle of the approach to the center of the green, guarding the right half. The left fairway approach gives access to the left side of the green. A large horizontal bunker behind the green is flashed high into the backing mound to show the player where the green ends.
· Hole #7 357, 333, 312, 260 - Par 4
Perhaps the toughest driving hole on the course, the 7th hole is also the most visually striking. Its tees step down a steep slope to a narrow fairway that is nestled in a
"U-shaped" wetland. A narrow but long fairway bunker on the right will gather balls slicing towards the water. Playing due south, the breeze becomes more prevalent the farther back (and higher) one tees off from. Once the ball has successfully found the fairway, the second shot plays up over a 20' wide tiered green. Several bunkers sit located below the green. Although the approach is rather narrow, there is a section located between the front of the green and the approach bunker to save a slightly under-clubbed shot. With the breeze and elevated green, longer is better, so take an extra club or two.
· Hole #8 189, 174, 148, 98 - Par 3
The 8th hole is a dramatic par 3 that plays downhill over a stream and pond to the green that is set in an amphitheater. The pond ends in a horizontal bunker. A narrow piece of undulating approach fronts a large green. Bunkers also flank both sides of the green with grass hollows behind set to gather any long shots.
· Hole #9 542, 515, 484, 432 - Par 5
The par 5 ninth hole is the longest hole on the course. Playing north and slightly downhill off the tee, with the old track embankment on the right and wetlands running 2/3's of the way on the left, an accurate tee shot between the towering trees is a must. A long bunker on the right defines the first landing area. A quartet of fairway bunkers located in a rise at the end of the wetland sets up the second landing area. The hole keeps rising to an elevated green that bends right around a greenside bunker to an upper tier. A low swale will gather any approach shot missed left.
While not a long course by today's standards, the Centennial Park Golf Course will definitely challenge all levels of players. Don't be surprised if it takes several rounds to discover all the challenges designed into this course.
If you find that your game needs a little work, The Centennial Park Practice Facility can help! This 300+ yard range has a 40-station public grass tee and for periods of inclement weather there is also a 15-station all-weather tee line. The range also has five bent grass target greens with simulated target bunkers. At the south end is the all-grass group and private lessen tee area for those in need of instructional assistance. Adjacent to the 1st tee, a huge 15,000sf practice putting green is available to hone your putting stroke.
A truly remarkable wasteland reuse project, the Centennial Park Golf Course provides an economical, high quality, family golfing experience while addressing the need for an alternative to the 5-hour round of golf.