Crystal Lake Country Club
- Holes: 18
- Par: 71
- Length: 6765 yards
- Slope: 137
- Rating: 73.9
"A gem tucked away in NW suburbs"
"A gem tucked away in NW suburbs"
Reviewed on 11/03/2017
First off, I must say that it was a treat to play CLCC. I have one course left to play in McHenry County (McHenry CC), and the conditioning of this course, is by far the best in the county. It truly is tough to find anything to criticize when it comes to the maintenance of this course. The greens were probably the best greens I had putted on all year. The course website advertises that the greens are “impeccably manicured.” They aren’t being braggadocious when they say that. I did not have a single putt all day that did not roll true. Due to playing after it rained, the greens were not lightening fast but they certainly were not slow either. Putts above the hole still had a propensity to keep running once they got started. Perhaps the best compliment I can give on the greens is that they were absolutely consistent throughout the course. Once you get a feel for them, they will roll the same holes 1 through 18.
For it being the middle of October, the rest of the course, from tee to green was in excellent shape as well. Tee boxes, fairways, bunkers, and even the rough were consistent throughout the course and well maintained. Taking away course conditions as a variable made the round of golf here much, much more enjoyable.
CLCC might be one of the best kept secrets in the area. While it being a private course likely contributes to that, I think that it might also be overlooked because it is “older” (the CC was established in 1922) and not as long as other courses. While it tips out at roughly 6800 yards, the course slope and rating remain high because of the small green complexes. There is extensive bunkering surrounding most of the greens. Should you miss your approach shot, it is no given that you will be able to get up and down. The course is a parkland style course with mature trees lining the fairways. The holes run right next to each other making this course one of the easier ones to walk in the area. While there are some water hazards throughout the course, and OB area around the exterior of the course and along the driving range, I would not say the course is “hard.” In fact, I would give it high scores on playability. As a three-some, I think we may have lost a total of 2 or 3 balls throughout the round (which is pretty darn good). For the most part, you can let your imagination run wild when teeing off here. Many holes offer risk/reward options off the tee based on the shape of the fairways, the strategic fairway bunkering, and the over length of the holes. While driver was the predominant choice, I also hit 3 wood, hybrid, and even a 4 iron off the tee.
That being said, the one criticism I have with the course is that many of the approach shots into the greens and the shaping of the greens themselves are very similar. Several of the holes felt repetitive. Slightly elevated greens with deep bunkers surrounding them seem to be the norm throughout the course. While I can appreciate the rewarding of excellent shots and the punishing of wayward shots (which this course certainly does), I personally enjoy unique challenges with each and every hole. I like being able to have some creativity around the greens. This course somewhat limits that just based upon the design.
I’ll close with saying this, the private clubs throughout McHenry County all offer their own benefits. However, just based upon golf alone, this course is the crown jewel. This is a course that you could play any day of the week, at any time, and in any weather and you’ll know that the course is going to be in great shape. You’ll only have yourself to blame should you have a lackluster round. It is great for all skill levels which I can’t say for Bull Valley CC or Woodstock CC. It would be a great course to walk which I can’t say for Boulder Ridge CC. Should you ever have the opportunity to play here, whether it be as a guest, a member, or in an outing, jump at the chance. You won’t regret it and I have a feeling you’ll look back at your round with as much enjoyment as I look back on mine.
I recommend this course