The respected design team of Michael Hurdzan and Dana Fry were engaged by the WeaverRidge Golf Club to layout a course here in the late 1990s and they certainly made the very best use of a landscape formed thousands of years ago by retreating glacial action.
The result of the Hurdzan-Fry efforts was the construction of an 18-hole course now regarded as one of the best in the state of Illinois. In fact, such is the quality of WeaverRidge, it is now ranked as one of the very best public courses in the whole country.
Set on land that was formerly a family farm with wooded valleys, wandering creeks and a couple of sparkling lakes, WeaverRidge features dramatic elevation changes that get the pulse racing, particularly on the back nine.
After a stern start, with two par fives at the first three holes, the short, par four, 5th brings a little early respite to the round. The tee shot has to carry a pond to find the fairway on the right and the question is how much water do you want to take on to shorten the approach to the green?
The inward half is simply sensational, regarded by many seasoned observers as one of the best nines in public golf. It starts with the downhill 10th (played to a green protected by the Big Hollow Creek) and ends with a wonderful elevated tee shot at the par five 18th (played to a fairway that has the creek crossing before the raised green is reached).
In between these two, there are a set of really strong holes to be found - none more so than the 228-yard par three 12th, where the tee box sits 120 feet above the level of the putting surface. Then again, maybe your favourite will be the picture-perfect, par three, 17th which is played across a pond to a green nestled in the trees.
I wish I could rank this higher being one of the few decent public options in my home state. But having played it three times over the years, its simply not a memorable experience. I have no need to go back having already seen it three times. There are literally a thousand houses on the course and several holes go right through the neighborhoods, and I can forgive that if the course is still great to an extent, however, the housing takes away from the aesthetics, no other way to sugar coat it.
The conditioning has never been top notch either. Its ok, but the course gets a lot of play, there are several holes that flood and don't drain properly and the summer heat just burns them up. I will say one thing, from the tips, it is a good test, but nothing to spend a weekend going to see. Just go straight to Deere Run and play it twice or maybe pair it with Cog Hill. I think with the limited number of public options in Central Illinois, this course will remain relevant and probably ok financially, however, there is no need to plan a trip around it.
Meh. It’s been a long while since I played WeaverRidge, and as such my memory has perhaps faded, but I do remember being fairly unimpressed. I’m sure it’s gotten worse since I played, but the houses on quite a few of the holes were obtrusive even 17 years ago. Playing golf in a subdivision with people mowing their lawns or blasting music in their yards is not pleasant. As for the golf, there were far too many forced layup holes to my liking, especially on the back nine. The greens were small and mostly flat – blah 1990s target golf at its finest. The routing and even the scenery felt contrived to maximize the housing component. To me, #9 was the best/most memorable hole – a medium-length par four with a rolling fairway that sloped right to left that played to one of the deeper greens on the course. It’s got a few other decent holes which leads to the rating I gave it per the letter of the rating system, but I feel like if “two and a half” balls was an option I’d take it.
WeaverRidge is set up as a high-end public layout, but this type of golf course just isn’t as enjoyable to play as TPC Deere Run or even ISU’s Weibring course, both of which are less than 90 minutes away. For my money, I’d play elsewhere.
Played June 2 & 3, 2001