Golf Review: Olympia Fields North Course – Chicago, IL
By now we all know the golfing hotbed that is Chicago. The city of Chicago, and surrounding suburbs, have played host to some of golfs most prestigious events, as well as being home to some of golfs highest ranked golf courses. The prestigious North Course at Olympia Fields just happens to be one of those legendary tracks.
The land at Olympia Fields originally was originally home to 4 golf courses and the North Course, previously known as No. 4, was designed in 1923 by Willie Park Jr. Over the years, the course has stayed faithful to Park’s design, while adding subtle adjustments for the changes in time. That says a lot about the original work Park was able to do there, and an obvious reason why the North Course has been a standard Top 100 course throughout its life.
With your first steps on the property, you almost start out as a little awestruck. You roll up to this giant clubhouse and see the famous clock tower with the flag waving high above it. It’s a cool moment, you know you’re somewhere special.
How about the enormous locker room? Not many lockerooms in today’s age do you see metal lockers, but the old school presentation at Olympia Fields seemingly takes you back to 1925 when Walter Hagen was crowned champion at the PGA Championship.
The North Course has all the history with PGA Championships, US Opens, US Amatuers, women’s PGA Championship, and Western Opens to its name. What keeps these types of tournaments coming back is an absolute classic layout and timeless design. When I think of Olympia Fields and the rounds I’ve played there, I think of championship golf. I think of a test to the game. I think of seeing the rough grown thick and watching pros struggle to keep it around par. The layout will test every club in your bag, but the demand on keeping the ball in the fairway is of utmost importance. In my most recent round I was in 8 fairway bunkers. 8! That’s 8/14 driver opportunities i had to play out of the deep, but fair, fairway bunker. All strategically placed to penalize the golfer and do just that.
What i love about Olympia Fields is the beauty and layout it creates being a landlocked course. No oceans, no lakes, and not even any real water hazards, but plenty of challenge created by placing a demand on accuracy for all shots. Miss a green, you’re probably going to end up in a bunker. Miss a fairways and you’re probably going to find a bunker or trees, but what i love about it is, that it’s not unfair. Just a one of a kind layout, carved through the trees of Chicago.
Olympia Fields is one of my favorite Midwest stops. A course that keeps me wanting to come back for more. Never forget about the North Course.