Ruffled feathers? Pete Dye ruffled the feathers of literally thousands of golfers across his career. Ruffled Feathers was therefore an appropriate title for his only course in the Chicago area, with water in play for 16 holes.
The course is a collaborative effort between Dye and his son P.B., who learned plenty from his father in terms of inducing golfer frustration. Players will see plenty they recognize from the Dye oeuvre, including the almost compulsory island green at No. 11, but there are also some new twists on risk/reward from the pair.
The par fives at Nos. 6 and 15 are both reachable, with the expected risks. No. 6 is a reverse of the Bottle concept, challenging players to play short off the tee in return for the optimal line to the green. Even then it is not so simple...the players can either try to reach the green by going over a tree up ahead...or by playing a frightening fade over the left-side pond back to the green.
No. 15 is a tad more straightforward (but only a tad). Ambitious drivers can hug the right side of the green and then try to carry a large bunker complex and a canal to reach the catty-corner green.
Course is sneaky tough. Not very long, only 6800 from the tips but fairly narrow and rolling. Target golf comes into play on several holes. Holes 11, 14 and 16 are all 300ish Par 4's however only one offers any "safe misses" and 16 has only a small target fairway with marsh punishing anything short or right. Par 3's are short with 3 and 11 clocking in under 130 from the blues though the 200yd+ 17 that's all water carry makes up for it. Greens were legit with plenty ready to kick your ball off if not precise on your approach. For their quality of shape they did not always read "true". Bunkers and fairways were in good shape though some tee boxes were a bit eaten up and the rough was a mix of hard pan and splotchy grass in some spots. Not sure if they could bump the price to improve the physical conditions but this was a challenging course and would play again.
Ruffled Feathers is honestly a really slept on course in the Chicagoland area. When most people go to Lemont they'll play Cog Hill, when Ruffled Feathers is arguably better than the four courses at Cog. It's not in the best shape and would be really fun to play fast and firm (we played there once on Christmas day when it actually was and it was awesome!). There are so many unique holes out there that you wouldn't see on a normal course. The par fives are spectacular, with the fourth having a 70 yard long and slender green, the sixth being a short bottle like hole filled with options, the dogleg left cape like 13th, and the weird and wild 15th that demands a cut around the trees and over the creek to get to the green in two. The short 4's at 12, 14, and 16 are great additions and make the course a really fun match play course. The par 3's are typical Pete Dye holes surrounded by water. The island green 11th is longer than and half the size of 17 at Sawgrass but is honestly a ton of fun to play.