The Glen Club is located on the former location of the Glenview Naval Air Station north of Chicago, which required significant earthmoving on the part of Tom Fazio to make this club a reality. More than 2.5 million cubic yards of earth were moved — compare that to 3 million up the Lake Michigan shore at Whistling Straits — and you’ll understand the effort taken to transform this property into a worthy setting for golf.
The course features elevation changes that were not otherwise possible, as much as 40 feet on some holes. Still, for as constructed as it may be, there was a commitment to keeping its visage natural, in the form of constructed streams and more than 75 acres of prairie grass.
Fazio did some work with his golf course architect’s hat on as well, of course. One of the highlights is the par threes, which strategically face in four separate directions, altering play based on how the dramatic winds blow off of the lake in the “Windy City.”
The course stretches to nearly 7,100 yards from the back tees.
A repurposed Naval Air field, it is a Fazio design about 30 miles from Chicago. The first hole is a welcoming par five. Big hitters should drive over the left fairway bunker. Possible to get home in two but the green is uphill with greenside bunkers right. The 2nd is a par 4 dogleg left. Once again, big hitters should fly the left fairway bunker to set up a flip wedge. The green lists hard right to left with a greenside bunker right. A par on the 3rd hole is cause for celebration. A long uphill, usually into the wind par 4, with fairway bunkers left and BAB left greenside. The first par 3 is mid to short and downhill. It does have a stadium feel to it. The 5th is the longest hole on the course and looks much more intimidating than it actually is. It is usually downwind and I was told that getting home in two was not uncommon. Not sure the risk warrants it as the left water hazard caresses the green and the last third of the hole. Off the tee there is ample landing area and if you play it as a 3 shotter there is plenty of room right for the 2nd shot. The 6th is a tough dogleg right with fairway bunkers on the inside and outside elbow and OB left. The 7th overpowers you with length. A very generous fairway is some consolation, but this #1 handicap hole is a beast. There is OB left and a very large green (for what it is worth). After the robust 7th, the short dogleg left 8th feels like a vacation. Not so fast, danger lurks. A stream and pond are on the left side of the hole and the landing area gets skinnier and skinnier the further you hit it. A nice high draw will give you a green light birdie oppty. The front ends with a very forgettable long par 3.
The back starts with a great birdie oppty, short dogleg right with a bunker on the inside elbow. Flat bellies will be tempted to go for the green. There is a pot bunker short of the green to keep people honest. Fun hole. The 11th is a long par 3. Water and 3 deep bunkers left, there is ample bailout right. However, this is a two tiered green. The pin was left for us and it was brutal. The key to the 12th is playing the right tees so that you can catch the downslope and leave a short or mid-iron approach. The 13th is a dogleg right and a good birdie oppty. The 14th is the shortest par 5 and I have no idea how it can be the #6 handicap hole. The best line is over the left bunker, this should catch the downslope and catapult the drive forward. The dogleg left 15th is the last short par four and perhaps your best chance at birdie coming in. It does have a tight landing area, fairway bunkers left and right as well as trees. The locals I was with laid up, I abandoned caution and surprisingly was able to reap the rewards. The 16th is a tough dogleg right with a bunker on the inside elbow. Best play is just left of this bunker. This will leave a long approach to an elevated green with bunkers right. Take an extra club. The 17th is a par three that is similar to 11 in layout, shorter and downhill. The danger is left, water hazard and bunker. Also, this is a 3 tier green. When I played it was right, I imagine it is just as hellacious as 11 if the pi is left. The 18th is a long par five with water right. Most mortals cannot get home, so play it as a 3 shotter. For the layup shot don’t mess with the water, the fairway narrows the closer you get to the green.
Good not great and definitely over-priced.