The Oak Park Country Club bears the nickname “course of the winding stream” so, like many club owners with a rivulet that meanders across the property, they called Donald Ross.
Players will cross the body on each of the first six holes, whether that’s from the tee, crossing a fronting hazard on the way to the green, or making a tricky decision in the middle of a par five (the opening hole here is a clear example that Ross did live or die by the “gentle handshake” as many presume).
A course cannot exist on the back of one stream alone, even with such a skilled router as Ross, so Oak Park also comes loaded with a significant number of bunkers, both to require skillful placement of shots, or larger cross bunkers that make players question their capability. The current existence of these sand hazards is largely thanks to Rick Jacobson, who was brought in during 2008 for renovations and restorations of Ross’s features.
Although the last hole does not feature the course’s famous stream, it does include a pond that squeezes up to the green.
Oak Park is a cool Donald Ross routing squeezed into a tiny property. Its a very playable course with some really interesting greens. The defining feature is the creek, which forms the best stretch of the course in holes 4-6. Four is a very short five that is reachable for most who find the fairway, but is guarded by the creek left. Five is an option abounds hole with the creek twice crossing the fairway. Six is a cool one shotter with a massive bowled green, similar to the 17th. The tragedy of the course is the Rick Jacobsen redesigned 18th green, which he for some reason decided to push right up against the irrigation pond. Donald Ross would be rolling over in his grave if he saw that hole, as it just doesn't fit in with the course whatsoever.