Beverly Country Club
Illinois, United States of America

Beverly enjoys a tranquil setting, despite the swirl of activity around it.

On some occasions, the drive to a course gives the golfer a distinct impression as to the glories that await him. Seventeen Mile Drive is certainly a famous example as is the coastal road that leads the golfer to Royal Portrush. Conversely, neither the drive to Pine Valley nor Augusta National offers the golfer much encouragement. Beverly Country Club falls in this later category. Approaching Beverly CC from downtown Chicago,the golfer passes one crowded, flat city block after another with no hint of any promising golf terrain.

However, what awaits the golfer is entirely different. Founded in 1908, the Club had its choice of land and as such, picked its present location, which was on the edge of prehistoric Lake Chicago. The front nine is on the north side of what has now become 87th Street and the back nine is on the south side. The second plays downhill some forty feet from the rim of what was the edge of Lake Chicago into the lake basin while the uphill seventh takes the golfer back up. As for the back nine, it is set through the sand dunes that bordered the lake thousands of years ago.

Who says Chicago is flat? A view from the seventh tee of ‘Heartbreak Hill.’

The property enjoys ideal movement for a golf course and Donald Ross, more likely from working with a topography map than fromsite inspections, came up with a masterful routing with the holes constantly changing directions. Some Ross authorities like Brad Klein consider it among Ross’s finest routings with Ross as usual doing a first rate job of locating the green sites.

The holes themselves are a sturdy lot, and the golfer is not surprised to learn that Beverly has hosted everything from the 1931 US Amateur (won by Francis Ouimet) to the 1967 Western Open (won byJack Nicklaus). In addition,Chick Evans and Arnold Palmer have won here too. In addition, many a student of architecture, including Ron Whitten, has been impacted by their time at Beverly CC.

In particular, Beverly is an exemplary example of an architect getting the most from a piece of property. Though 87th Street divides the course into two rectangles, Ross’s ingenious placement of tees and the angles that he created away from the property lines will impress every architecture student. Furthermore, his use of the available natural features highlighted by the ridge that was the edge of Lake Chicago and the sand dunes create a succession of one fine hole after another.

In fact, the only undistinguished hole on the course is the ninth, which was modified to make way for 87th Street years after Ross’s course opened. Other than that, each hole and each shot places an interesting demand on the golfer. With only a handful of exceptions like Pinehurst No. 2, the two or three weakest holes at Beverly are the equal or superior to any of the two or three weakest holes from any Ross course that one can mention. The constant demand for good, thoughtful golf at Beverly has long captivated the better golfer.

Holes to Note

Second hole, 560 yards; Beverly’s collection of the three shot holes is collectively among the finest in the Ross family of courses. Once past a string of bunkers off the tee,negotiating therolling, angledthirty-five yard deep green is what is likely to turn many a four into a five.

Ron Prichard and Beverly Country Club deserve credit for the sensitive tree removal program that they have accomplished to date. However, as seen from the second tee, a bit more remains to be done. The big tree on the inside of the dogleg should come out as well as the tree in front of the second bunker ahead on the right.

This hole location on the back plateau is a particularly tough one to which to get close, thanks in part to how Prichard edged these bunkers short of the green back into the fairway.

Fourth hole, 390 yards; The challenge from the built-up green pad is so simple yet few modern architects seem content to build as clean a looking green complex. Mounds acting as a back wall plague modern designs and it is refreshing to find a green not so framed.

Sixth hole, 190 yards; Maximising the predominant natural feature available, Ross placed the tee on the edge of the rim of the extinct lake and the golfer stares down at another pushed up green ringed by bunkers. The elevated tee combined with the wind that gives Chicago its moniker means that only a well controlled tee ball finds the target.

The sixth green provides an elusive target.

A pre-restoration photograph from 2003 shows how trees crowded in the green.

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