Village Links may be my favorite course around. I love playing here for so many different reasons. Primarily though, it’s an awesome layout. When I say layout I’m talking about the design and general feel of the eighteen hole set. Oh don’t worry, Village Links has plenty of positive aspects in the categories of conditioning, price, service, facilities, amenities, etc… But for me, the layout rules. It makes this a near-perfect golf course.
Tick them off; here are the layout traits I like at Village Links:
- Well-spaced set of men’s tee boxes, combining challenge and playability
- Varied and memorable hole mix, especially the par fours
- Straightforward, walkable routing
- Pleasant vistas, with a good combination of serenity and activity
I step up on an about every hole and think, “Yeah, I like this. Let’s play some golf.”
Speaking of tee boxes, when referring to Harborside Port I mentioned how the big gap between the second and third tee boxes made it difficult to balance challenge and playability. Not so at Village Links, look at this rating/slope/yardage breakdown on the scorecard (yeah, I had a good day on the white tees):
- Black 74.9/138, 7,208 yards
- Blue 72.9/134, 6,770 yards
- White 71.2/130, 6,382 yards
- Gold 69.4/128, 6,004 yards
That, my friends, is what you call “something for everybody.” In fact, that White tee is a great tee for both a single digit handicapper and a twenty plus handicapper. Unfortunately, it is slightly lacking in women’s tee box options. More on drawbacks later.
The par fours are magnificent. Two of my favorite par fours in the region are the 369 yard number five and the 409 yard number fourteen. They are both gentle doglegs, one left and one right, with water at the elbows and well guarded greens. They are beautiful to look at but scare the heck out of you. Great holes. There’s such variety across the par fours, here are the lengths in ascending order from the blue tees:
I feel like I have to take a different club into each one.
It’s a joy to walk also even though the turn does not end up at the clubhouse. It’s tightly bunched and flows nicely from green to tee, but you don’t feel cramped. In fact, they pulled out like 1,000 trees a few years ago when they redid it so it feels open, yet with plenty of secluded places on the course where you don’t feel like you’re in a bustling Chicago suburb (like on five green, fifteen tee, and seventeen green pictured at the top of this post).
I can’t say enough good things about this layout.
There are layout drawbacks though, but they don’t affect me that much. The back nine has back-to-back par fives on fifteen and sixteen, which I don’t like. The women’s tee box is especially long and difficult, which could make for a not-so-enjoyable day if you’re used to a 5,000 yard tee box. And three of the four par threes are roughly the same length. Minor things though, really.
I played it on a Friday morning in May at 10am and it was $72 with cart (no range balls). I think it’s a great value. It’s about $15 – $20 cheaper than Harborside but a better golf course all the way around I think.
It fares well in other aspects. It has bent grass tees, fairways, and greens, all of which are always in great shape. They have a grass range, although it’s not very well mown. The burger in their clubhouse is solid and they have a decent pro shop. This course should be on your radar if you’re local or you’re from out of town. It’s worth an hour drive from a distant north or south suburb and worthy of adding to your golf trip if you’re from out of town (little less than an hour from downtown).