What a difference a day makes
Twenty-four little hours
Brought the sun and the flowers
Where there used to be rain.
Many great artists have sung these lyrics, and they were so true today. After a day of sloshing through rain-soaked fairways with rental clubs from the 1980’s, it was a day of complete opposites.
As you enter the parking lot at Broughton Ridge Golf Course, you are greeted by an upscale clubhouse/restaurant. Whoever says 9-hole courses can’t be upscale needs to visit this course. Hole #1 is a mid-handicap hole, however you must guide your tee shot through the gap in the trees; carry the creek; and avoid the fairway bunker to the right. If you accomplish all of these, there is a generous landing area out there at this dogleg right opening hole. As you approach the large, undulating green, more obstacles stand in your way of a good score. A bunker protects the front of the green, while any long shot may find a small brook behind the green. A fun opening hole.
Hole #2 is a par 3 of 141 yards from the white tees. Bunkers left and right will gladly accept any wayward tee shots. I felt as if I was at the beach at Hole #3. This par 3 is only 113 yards but there is water to carry on your drive and it continues along the right side. Also, if you decide to skull it over the putting surface, the water continues along the back edge of the green. If you go right, maybe that large bunker will keep you hot out of the water. Finding the green on your drive is no guarantee for par as the green is a series of hills and valleys. A very fun hole!
Hole #4 is a par 4 of 359 yards and the number one handicap hole. Remember all that water from #3? It’s also part of this hole down the right side, so slicers beware. This hole bends a little to the left, but you can see the green the entire way. Being a short driver of the ball, I had no chance of finding the large fairway bunker that sits about 100 yards from the green. But for the long hitters – beware! Today I’m not playing with a mismatched set of rental clubs from the 1980’s as I did yesterday. I have a complete set of modern clubs with a nice stand bag (and the legs actually work). Not surprisingly my game is so much better today!
How can Hole #5 not be the number one handicap hole? It’s not long (320 yards-white) but you must be precise. Shot #1 – must carry the creek and vegetation to find the fairway to the right; Shot #2 – needs to carry far enough down the fairway to clear the trees that block the approach to the green to the left. You also need to avoid the trees and creek to the left of the fairway. Shot #3 (for me) – my second shot was not far enough, so it was up and over the trees for me. I got it up and over but found the bunker that fronts the green. Shot #4 (on this par 4) – my ball was extracted from the bunker with expert execution only to see it trickle off the left side of the green. Obviously, the green has a big tilt from right to left. For me this was very much a fun risk/reward hole.
Three large bunkers have this short par 3 sixth hole surrounded. Today the pin was nefariously placed behind the huge front bunker – probably like it is every day. Luckily, I cleared the bunker, made my par and moved on to Hole #7. A par 4 of 286 yards from the white tees, it looks benign and begs to lull you into trying to drive this green. But beware of the hidden hazards along the way. Those include a line of trees to the left; two bunkers to the right as you get close to the green; and a bunker and large tree to the left of the green. If you can drive it long and straight this is your chance for a birdie or better yet an eagle. I landed short of the heart-shaped bunker and was happy with par. For all of us bladder-challenged seniors, there is a very nice bathroom at this hole – whew!
The wind was swirling today at Hole #8. One second it was blowing left to right; the next moment into my face at the 158 yards par 3. I decided on a club and proceeded to hit it into the pond in front of the green. I produced my best “Tin Cup” moment, tee’d it up again and dumped it into the pond again. I went back to my bag for ball number three which resulted in the same unbelievable result. Ball number four finally cleared the pond but still hadn’t found the putting surface. Maybe it’s time for Tin Cup 2.
My bag was much lighter as I carried it to Hole #9. The first half of this par 4, 308 yard hole is benign unless you miss the wide fairway to the right and find the body of water. I spent enough time in the water at #8, so I stayed way left of this hazard. At about the 100 yards marker there are large bunkers both left and right sides of the fairway. If you miss those, there are more bunkers by the green – front right and back left. Bunkers, bunkers…and more bunkers. Luckily, I missed all of these since I did not have a “sandwich” (as transcribed by my phone app) in the bag. Just to be clear, this was an excellent set of rental clubs. Who said this was a benign hole?
Rating – Ace: I am so pleased I went out of my way to travel from Aurora to Bolingbrook to play this course. I realize some golfers will shy away from playing here because it is an executive length, par 32 course. Let me assure you…it is an outstanding track! The layout was fun, challenging, and interesting for all. The course was in excellent shape and the staff was very friendly. I even had the General Manager, Jake, serve me food. Speaking of food, take the time for a beer and sandwich (not sand wedge) after your round at Ashbury’s. This is one of the best (if not the best) executive (par 32) golf facilities I have ever had the pleasure of visiting.
335 E. Boughton Road, Bolingbrook, IL 60440; 630-739-4100; www.boughtonridgegolf.com