Beverly Country Club
Illinois, United States of America

Eighth hole, 425/405 yards; Relating to the green expansions, Prichard faced an interesting dilemma here at the eighth, which was one-third its present size in Ross’s day. In preparation for hosting the 1963 Western Open, the green was dramatically expanded forward and now measures a whopping sixty-five yards (!) from front to back. The angle of the green coupled with the graceful slope at its back affords a number of interesting hole locations. While Ross never designed a green remotely similar to it, the present day green has great golf qualities. In the end, Prichard wisely opted to leave the green its full size. It works wonderfully well, with the front left and back right hole locations being among the most vexing on the course.

The course’s most deceiving approach shot was created in 2002 when Prichard restored a central hazard to the fairway. It might look like it snuggles up against the green but in fact, the green doesn’t commence for 40 paces.

Eleventh hole, 605/570 yards; The golfer now enters the best portion of the property and stays on it for the rest of the round. Additionally, Ross kicks into high gear on some of the green complexes, building exotic back knobs and wings in some instances. Take this one for instance, which comes at the end of one of the longest holes in Chicago. The green falls over seven feet from the high back left knob to the lower front right. As part of stage three, the knob will once again be made part of the putting surface. Starting in 2020, golfers will be able to use the knob to their advantage as a backboard to access back left and back middle hole locations. It is an important fun element that will soon be part of the equation again at Beverly, both here and at the fourteenth. No one has ever doubted Beverly’s toughness, but when adjectives like ‘creativity’ and ‘fun’ get added into the equation, Beverly rises to an altogether higher plateau.

The high back left corner will soon be part of the green again, opening up a myriad of possible options for the thinking golfer.

Twelfth hole, 165/140 yards; The pitch of the green coupled with the idyllic pond remind the golfer of another oft-photographed Ross one shotter: the third at Pine Needles. Prichard regained the original depth of the five greenside bunkers in 2002, giving this hole additional menace beyond its challenging putting surface. In 2019/2020, Tyler Rae and he will be extending the green front left to recover the dramatic front left hole location that was used in the 1931 U.S. Amateur.

The far back left and right hole locations are particularly difficult as the green slopes away at its rear corners.

Thirteenth hole, 385/375 yards; Sometimes it is just as important as to what a club hasn’t done as to what it has done. In the case of Beverly, several blind tee shots exist and it would have been easy to have altered one or more of them over the past 70 years. Mercifully, apart from one hillock at eleven that Ross advised should be lowered, they never have. The easiest one to have altered in recent times ‘for the sake of fairness’ would have been this one, whereby the tee ball must clear an abrupt hill 80 yards in front of the tee. By not doing so, the golfer is all the more keenly aware of the property’s exceptional movement. In fact, Beverly is presently considering suppressing, or lowering, several tees to aid in one’s appreciation of the rolling topography.

Untouched for over 120 years and still going strong – the tee ball at 13.

Fourteenth hole, 335/325 yards; Beverly is famous for its big finish from fifteen in, so the pair of sub-400 yard holes at thirteen and fourteen that parallel each other take on added significance. To butcher them is tantamount to not playing to your handicap. And both holes are about to get even better as a series of attractive bunkers are being placed between the two fairways and any slight pull will likely find punishment with complacency being the undoing of any golfer who steps onto the tee of either hole without a clear attack plan. At the fourteenth, should the golfer lay back from the tee to avoid the fairway bunkers to the left and right that protect the 100 yard mark? Should he slot his drive between the two bunkers and be left with his trusty 54 degree wedge? Should he drive past the fairway bunkers and get as close to the green as possible? Part of the answer lies with the day’s hole location – the golfer must be able to control his approach, keeping it below the hole at all costs on this steeply pitched green.

Ross flared up the back right corner of the green, in a similar fashion to what he did back left on eleven. Once again, this knob is going to be recaptured within the confines of the green, thus re-introducing the age old thrill of hitting to Point A to end up at Point B. This will become one of Beverly’s best known holes when stage three is complete.

Fifteenth hole, 465/455 yards; Ross laid this tumbling two shotter over the small dunes that once sat above Chicago Lake and suffice to say, Ross’s construction technique did nothing to harm them. Rather, his routing captured the rise and fall to perfection within the playing corridor.  The golfer is amazed to find such ‘links’ topography, especially after his drive to the Club.

The view from the 15th tee captures the ideal land movement.

Ross wisely left the green open in front of the longest two shotter at Beverly. Beware of the false front.

Sixteenth hole, 440/405 yards; Variety is the cornerstone of any great design, that much is known. Explaining what constitutes it is more problematic. Here, the slightly downhill approach to the open fifteenth green is followed by an uphill approach at sixteen that must carry past a pair of sentinel fronting bunkers. The golfer can tick back through the holes to develop an understanding of how Beverly’s alternating shot requirements lead it to score high in variety. Remember the modest length thirteenth and fourteenth holes? The first one is blind off the tee with an uphill short iron approach while the next  is downhill with everything in plain view. The list of rotating challenges goes on and on.

Given that the green is the ultimate target, the more attractive and varied the green complexes, the better the course. Note the punchbowl qualities around the back right of this green and how handsomely Ross benched it into the right hillside.

Seventeenth hole, 230/200 yards; Too many features on modern courses only reward raw power with the need to display precision having been lost. That simply isn’t true at Beverly, where the operating margin can be surprisingly small. The penultimate hole is a prime example whereby a hole that looks innocuous becomes a terror based on the day’s hole location. This hog-backed green is pitched from back to front and a putt from 25 feet above the hole is devastatingly more difficult than a 50 foot chip from just short. Ross’s greens make the course a study in positional golf, with its members enjoying a huge playing advantage over first time guests.

Beautifully presented, the golfer readily discerns the day’s shot requirement. Can he hit the required fade that bounces just short of the green, climbs the false front, and peels right to the hole? Many a golfer is painfully reminded that ‘seeing’ and ‘doing’ are two different things. The author witnessed a putt from the back of this green to the day’s hole location above be effortlessly escorted off the front.

The landforms are such that the property is a delight to stroll and the club readily embraces a walking culture by emphasizing its caddie program. Beverly is a major supporter of the Western Golf Association’s Evans Scholars Foundation; more caddies from Beverly have received the Evans Scholarship than from any other club in the country.

Beverly was extremely well regarded within the Ross family of courses when it hosted the 1931 U.S. Amateur. The good player has long been attracted to its exemplary routing and the strength of its challenge. As Prichard’s Master Plan is fully adopted and reaches its conclusion, Beverly is once again commanding similar respect and attention. Is it deserved? Yes, because once Ross’s clever design is fully revealed, it will be that rarest of breeds: an enthralling examination of physical skill and mental agility in a peaceful setting.

Stay tuned for a fall 2020 update on what will end up being one of Chicago’s three or four finest courses.

Beverly poses the same degree of challenge today that it did in 1931 when Francis Ouimet and Bob Jones happily chatted beneath the clubhouse.

The End