The Takeaway: Stonewall Orchard is a strategic course with water often coming into play throughout including the memorable closing hole. A top ten public course in the greater Chicago area, you’ll need your ‘A’ game to succeed here. Grade C+
Designer: Arthur Hills in 1999
Cost: $39.00 - $79.00 (plus $16 for a cart) Click for current rates
Phone Number: (847) 740-4890
Course Website: Official Website - Visit Stonewall Orchard Golf Club's official website by clicking on the link provided.
Directions: Get here! - 25675 IL-60, Grayslake, Illinois 60030 – UNITED STATES
What to Expect: Arthur Hills was commissioned to design Stonewall Orchard and provided the area with a strong public layout to enjoy. Located closer to the Wisconsin border than it is to Chicago to the south, Stonewall Orchard is laid out over gently rolling landscape that boasts over 65,000 trees and is complemented by the lake and wetland areas. The course is a stout challenge with several tee shots being a combination of intimidating and heroic in nature with forced carries and plenty of trouble to find while the approach shot features much of the same. The course sits away from heavy development which gives it a more private and serene location to enjoy, especially for players that go to the golf course to feel like they are getting away from it all. Considering the amount of trouble on the course, it isn't uncommon for afternoon rounds to suffer from earlier groups getting backed up and creating longer rounds but the beauty of the course should help with passing the time. GPS is equipped on the golf carts and is included as part of the green fee, so there is no discount for walkers. Ultimately, Stonewall Orchard is both penal and exciting, and you'll want to be on top of your game when playing at one of Illinois' finest public tracks.
By the Numbers
Individual Hole Analysis
Signature Hole: 18th Hole – 615 Yard Par 5 – Stonewall Orchard finishes with the longest hole on the course which also has the smallest green. The driving zone is flanked by a bunker on each side while a smaller pot bunker comes into play on the second shot where the fairway narrows up due to the oak trees pinching the playing area from each side. The third shot is where you can make or break the hole as the green is very narrow and hugs a pond on the left. Length, accuracy, and finesse; you'll need it all to conquer the 18th.
Best Par 3: 9th Hole – 182 Yards – The closing hole on the front is a one-shotter that plays to a peninsula green. Pin positions on the right third are downright scary to attack but bailing too far left will bring a pair of bunkers into play. No matter where the pin is, an approach shot aimed just left of center is a good strategy on this hole.
Best Par 4: 2nd Hole – 425 Yards – Longer hitters may consider less than driver here at the 2nd, especially if their miss is to the left. A lake runs along the left side of the hole and cuts in front of the green which will force players to take an aerial shot into the putting surface. The only bunker on the hole is found behind the green which features the most challenging putting surface on the course.
Best Par 5: 8th Hole – 510 Yards – A hole that you can take advantage of with a well placed drive, the tee ball needs to carry the wetland area and land on either side of the center cut bunker in the fairway. Trouble continues up the left side of the fairway and a bunker sits in front of the green 50 yards from the putting surface, but players that can clear the sand on their second shot bring birdie instantly into play. However, the green is small, so your short game may be tested if you are going to take a stroke from Old Man Par.
Birdie Time: 4th Hole – 341 Yard Par 4 – The short par four 4th gives players an early opportunity to throw a birdie on the card if players don't get too greedy. The tee shot plays over water to a fairway that slopes hard from left to right and features an aiming bunker on the left side that you can hit short of or fade the ball off of. Water continues up the right side and wraps around the back, so staying left is key to victory. Even without hitting driver off the tee, players can have a wedge or low iron to go flag hunting with and set up a birdie roll.
Bogey Beware: 5th Hole – 239 Yard Par 3 – I hope you birdied #4 because you might be coughing it right back up on this long par three. The tee shot plays over water the entire way home with just a 10 yard strip separating the green from the lake. There is literally nowhere to bail out so you'll have to man up and hit an excellent tee shot to find safety. The green is large which is helpful, but there is a whole lot more trouble than safety to find on the 5th.