About 10 years ago a former Daily Herald colleague suggested we check out The Links at Carillon in Plainfield.
After one lap we were immediately enthusiastic.
The no-frills 27-hole course is in great condition, has a solid layout, scoring facility, and allows us to get around in 3½ hours or less if we tee off before 8am on weekdays.
Just a 30-45 minute drive from most of our readership, it is definitely worth a visit.
“Tee to green, it is probably one of the best-maintained golf courses ever,” says Jeff Yackley, Director of Golf at Carillon since 2009, a green fee of 65, 75, 85 US dollars, that’s enough. We are able to do this with prices sometimes as low as $ 30 and $ 37 for seniors. So that’s what makes us unique. “
Low handicappers can give themselves a real test from 6,899 yards, but it’s not overwhelming either from the Blues (6,409) or Whites (6,010). Thanks to the wide fairways and the manageable greens, I got two of my best grades (76s) here.
“The course is extremely playable and fair,” said Yackley. “People can come out and shoot well. Large greens, large bunkers, large fairways. This is how it makes a pleasant round of golf. Nobody wants to come out and shoot 120 and lose 20 golf balls.”
Jon Hill of Romeoville tees off on the third hole of the Blue Course at The Links of Carillon in Romeoville. The long par 4 has a large lake that golfers must avoid when teeing off and approaching.
– John Dietz | Employee photographer
I’m a huge fan of courses that start with a par 5, which is what Carillon does when you play the red-to-white rotation. Beware of the nasty bunkers and roughs lurking to the right, however. If you land there, a double bogey or worse is likely.
A 200 yard drive is all you need to get started. After that, you should hit the green with a threesome hybrid and mid-iron.
Don’t worry if you post a large number at the beginning, as I have often enough. The short second par 4 hole and the fairly easy par 3 fourth hole give us a chance to straighten the ship.
The real key to scoring on the top nine is successfully navigating the next two holes.
The 391-yard fifth has one of the ugliest greens in the area. It is imperative that you stay under the hole on your approach shot. I failed to do this in mid-June and left an almost impossible short-side chip. Took 4 me to come down.
The 513 meter long par 5 fifth is a real treat. Get as close as possible with your second shot, because the knee-striking approach shot to a green protected by water is as good as impossible from over 150 meters. There is nothing wrong with leaving the third shot to the left of the green and trying to come up and down.
The back nine begins with a 330-yard risk / reward par 4, which is shorter for long hitters who hit the green. My son drove it, thanks in part to a nice north wind. The clever game is to hit Hybrid off the tee, being careful to avoid the wetlands on the right.
It takes a while to learn how to play the 504-yard, par-5 11 since a pond is 140-180 yards from the green. Often times, the puzzle is whether to fly the pond or hit an iron into a landing pad that’s still 150 meters away. If your drive was good, my second shot advice is: take lots of clubs, make a sure swing on them, and hold the ball to the right. When in doubt about purifying the water, just lie down.
Number 16 has crushed my soul for years because it is forbidden on both sides. You’re likely tired by this point, so it’s easy to spoil a good lap with an idiosyncratic ride. I finally learned to hit the driver with a three-quarter swing and get the ball into play. Once that happens, par is definitely possible.
After the 415-yard 17th comes a finishing hole that you will never forget.
The three-layer, 510-yard par 5 brings eagle into play for long hitters, but medium handicappers can run away with an 8, 9, or even 10 if they’re not careful. From the Blues you need 170 meters to clean the first pond, but you also have to be careful not to land in the second, which is 220-240 meters away depending on the angle of attack. There is an option to “back out” by going all the way to the right, but that poses serious challenges on the second shot. You will see what I mean when you get there.
“The glove, let’s call it,” Yackley said. “Of course everyone wants to play that. It’s a hole where you have to die or die. … The big thing is getting off the tee. Whatever it takes to get into the game.
“From there you can manage the hole. It’s the people who look at it and think they can go ahead in two parts. If you do, you will have problems with the water iron because your second shot puts you in a good position to get there in three steps. “
The fifth par 5 hole at The Links at Carillon in Plainfield has a huge pond guarding a long, narrow green.
– With the kind permission of Connor Dietz
The “other nine”
One of the nice things about Carillon is that it has 27 holes. I usually go from red to white, but I like to play white-to-blue on occasion. The par-35 Blue Course features two memorable holes at par 384 third and 513 yards fifth. However, the latter can be frustrating as you have to lie down by a huge pond that is about 150 meters from the green. Many golfers find themselves as drivers, 8-irons, hybrids (or even 3-wood).
It’s the only design flaw that you just have to learn how to navigate.
Like all courses, Carillon should offer a junior price of $ 10-15. Maybe after 2 p.m. on weekdays.
I’ve played here 75 times in the last 10 years and it never disappoints. Hopefully the early bird price of $ 30 returns soon as it’s the best deal in the area. Carillon receives 3.5 stars (out of 5) for the value (5 at dusk); 4.25 for course conditions; 3.5 on accessibility for our reader area; 3.5 for accessibility (two long walks between the holes).