24000 North Old Mchenry Road,
Illinois (IL) 60047,
- +1 847 320 3450
20 miles SW of Waukegan
Members and their guests only
Ken Killien, Dick Nugent
Kemper Lakes is one of three golf course in the Chicago area that has hosted a major championship, fulfilling the vision of founder James Kemper for a long, challenging club to test the best.
Payne Stewart won the PGA Championship during 1989 for his first major victory, and the club hosted the U.S. Amateur Championship soon after, during 1992. Although she never won an LPGA event, Vicki Goetze won her second U.S. Women’s Am at the event and, perhaps more notably, edged out Annika Sorenstam to do so.
The course, designed by Ken Killien and Dick Nugent, makes no bones about its penal nature. Numerous holes are guarded along their entire lengths by lakes; the first two par fives feature more than 1,000 yards of waterfront property, while the closing hole hooks severely around a lake, daring players to take a tiger line.
No. 17, a par three, is almost as intimidating despite its short length. Its slender green stretches nearly 60 yards, with water all along the left, and bunkers on the right. The club was public during its time on the Tour, but became a private club during 2003.
Kemper Lakes is best known for hosting the 1989 PGA Championship won by Payne Stewart.
You need to get off to a good start. The first hole is a slight dogleg right. Aim left of the fairway bunker and there is OB left. The green is slightly elevated and well protected with bunkers front left and right. Favor the right side off the tee to avoid being blocked out. The green is two tiered with two deep bunkers left and right. The first par three is a cool hole. All carry over a water hazard with bunkers left and right behind the green. The first par 5 is a dogleg right and not very long but wraps around a water hazard. The difficulty of the tee shot is made tougher by OB left. A good tee shot will be rewarded with the oppty to get home in two. However, this green is protected by three bunkers and is shaped like a cattle skull with a ridge bifurcating the front section. The fifth is a long dogleg right. Favor the left off the tee to ensure that you are not blocked out. The green is shaped like an upside Christmas stocking with 3 bunkers left and one right. Tough hole. The 6th is an ok par 3, two tiered green surrounded by 4 bunkers. The par 5 7th is an awesome risk reward hole. Off the tee you must carry the water hazard miss the three bunkers left and the two right to a narrow fairway. The hero shot must contend with water left and bunkers right. The 8th is a dogleg left and you may choose to leave the driver in the bag. Off the tee go right over the KLGC logo with a high draw. The approach will be over water to a two-tiered green with a bunker right. The number one handicap hole is the 9th. A long slightly uphill par4 has two fairway bunkers left and one right. The first key is finding the fairway. The hourglass green is protected by 4 bunkers.
The back starts with a long par 4 slight dogleg left with water on the left side. Two big bunkers right and one left rear. The 11th is a reachable par 5, slight dogleg right. Lot of trees and pretty darn tight, but the kicker is the water hazard right in front of the green. The 12th is a short par four. The tee shot is through a tree lined chute as is the approach, with a bunker in the sky perspective. The 13th is an interesting par 3 in that it can play as long as 250 yards, yet it is the 18th handicap hole. The 14th is a good birdie oppty. Slight dogleg left, if you can avoid the fairway bunkers you will have a green light. Put your seat belts on folks because now it is going to get tough. The 15th is the longest hole on the course. A definite 3 shotter, off the tee one must avoid the two fairway bunkers right and the one left. This will set up a long 2nd shot to the elbow, that has three fairway bunkers on the outside as the hole bends left for the final 100 yards. The green is protected by three bunkers left and one right. The 16th is the longest par 4 and has water ALL the way down the right side. I would suggest aiming just right of the left fairway bunkers off the tee. The approach is over the water hazard, with water right and a greenside bunker left. There is a reason it is the number two handicap hole. The 17th is a peninsula par 3. It has two bunkers right and it is the longest green on the course, providing multiple yardage options. The 18th is a super finishing hole. Dogleg left, your tee shot must carry the water hazard and find the fairway before getting tot the three fairway bunkers on the outside of the elbow. The fun is just beginning, as your approach will be another water carry. The two bunkers protecting the green are almost an afterthought.
Fun course, I would pay to play it again.