The course at Onwentsia Club is a late 19th century layout – hosting the 1896 US Open, the 1899 US Amateur and 1915 US Women’s Amateur – which extends nowadays to a modest 6,645 yards from the back tees.
Originally designed by the quartet of James Foulis, Robert Foulis, H.J. Tweedie and H.J. Whigham, with revisions by Tom Doak nearly a century after the club's formation.
"Going in the front door of its fashionable brick clubhouse, you might expect great things of a course that hosted the US Amateur and US Open championships in its early years, but those were the days when a club's social standing meant much more than its golf course." Wrote to Doak in The Confidential Guide to Golf Courses. "The course out back was a 5,700-yard layout that no one would restore, but we did what we could to add interest."
Paul Rudovski, one of our US contributors, "loved the layout…wide open with wonderful vistas. Similar to Quaker Ridge and Muirfield, it has nine holes around its circumference surrounding the other nine. The course was superbly firm and fast and in simply perfect condition. Interestingly, there are three pairs of greens so close to each other that they seemed ideal candidates for double greens (#1 and #8, #3 and #6. and #7 and #11). Apparently, this was voted down by the membership due to the fact that Shoreacres, also located in Lake Forest, has several double greens and the members did not want to be seen as “copying” that club.”
I didnt know what to expect going into it because of how secluded and hard it is to find anything about it online. I think it is severely underrated. I found it to be a very good layout. Front nine is in the middle while most of the back nine runs the outskirts. I thought the front nine was more superior in its undulation, beuty, and course design. I also thought that it was a better course than Skokie, which is currently third in Illinois. Greens tend to be fast here and some of the views make you think your looking at Shinnecock. Course was in top condition and it was just a fantastic experience.