Set out in 1924 by Harry Colt’s design associate, C. H. Alison, the classic old parkland course at Knollwood Club lies within a mainly wooded 240-acre property in Lake Forest, to the north of Chicago.
Larry and Roger Packard have both upgraded the course at various times since the 1970s, resulting in the installation of several lakes, the construction of new bunkers and the addition of extra tee boxes.
As a consequence, not much of the original design remains, though the par threes at holes 4 and 12 are still Alison holes of note, as are the par fours at the 353-yard 2nd and the 372-yard 15th.Site of the US Amateur Championship in 1956, Knollwood hosted the inaugural USGA Mid-Amateur Championships in 1981. So successful was this venture, the club was chosen as the venue for the same event the following year.
Tremendously underrated is how I would describe Knollwood Club in Lake Forest, IL. A Colt/Allison design dating from 1925, Knollwood has hosted 1956 US amateur, 1982 US midamateur, 1986 PGA international cup, and the 2016 western amateur. I think the most striking feature of the course is the space-meaning it is one of the least cramped golf courses I have ever played. Open spaces abound and make for tremendous vistas throughout the course. The greens were very firm and lightning quick. I had to double the amount of break I played on most putts. A classic, old-school, north shore club where the staff and members are extraordinarily welcoming. If you haven’t been to Knollwood, you should find a way to play there.