SUNSET VALLEY REOPENS IN HIGHLAND PARK

    PEAKVISION SUN GLASSES taking the golf world by storm, no need to take them off when you putt. See the line at Peakvision.com. PINEHURST #4 a whole new look, by Gil Hanse reopening this September 20th, more details can be found at Pinehurst.com.  _____________________________________________________________________

  THE GOG BLOG by RORY SPEARS, Director of Content and Creation, Follow Rory on Twitter @GogBlogGuy, Facebook, Linkedin and now Instagram. (L) at the ball park with  the new Aviator Sunglasses by Peakvision, on the 18th green at Sunset Valley golf club in Highland Park. See Sunsetvalleygolfclub.org. Renovation by Rick Jacobson. ______________________________________________________________________

THE WAIT IS OVER Sunset Valley in Highland Park has reopened after over one year of renovation work by architect Rick Jacobson. The wait is worth it, and long time patrons of the golf course say the course is better than ever.

But that’s not all there is to look forward to. The old clubhouse has been flattened and a new one with a great outdoor patio is open, and golfers can sit inside or outside and enjoy watching some golf, or enjoy some food and beverage from a new list of choices in the 13Ninety grill. The pro shop and the putting green have been redone, with the green being enlarged, and the pro shop now has a nice collection of golfwear and other items golfers need at the golf course.

The course was only open for play one day to the general public, when the first hole-in-one was made on the 6th hole. During the media day on the courses fifth day open, 2017 Illinois Amateur and Illinois Open Champion Patrick Flavin returned to his old stomping grounds and carded a new course record 5 under par 67.

  THE NEW SUNSET VALLEY clubhouse and the Par 3, 4th hole (R) that is considered the course’s signature hole.

Sunset Valley built in the 1920’s has some history to it. During those early years, the North Shore Open was held there, and players like Walter Hagen, Tommy Armour and Jock Hutchinson played there. Horton Smith came and played in the tournament in 1931, three years before he won the first Masters Tournament in Augusta Georgia.

Jacobson took the classic course and gave it more of a classic course look and feel, while improving the infrastructure to modern times.

“The goal in renovating Sunset Valley was to restore the beauty and challenge of the original layout whole addressing practical issues such as stormwater management, improving playability for a broad spectrum of golfers, and upgrading playing surfaces,” said Jacobson.

Jacobson brought back the Heathland Style Course, that Sunset Valley was designed to be. The multiple teeing area’s that have been added, will make the course playable for more golfers and the greens will allow for more pin-placements, and strategic pin-placements going forward. The fairways now are more undulated instead of just being flat, that will help move rainwater off the golf course faster after storms.

Click here to hear interviews about Sunsert Valley with architect Rick Jacobson, and new course record holder Patrick Flavin. Flavin who has just recently turned professional, also speaks about whats next for his golf career.

Jacobson says the challenge was to make the course welcoming to golfers at a lower skill level, and more challenging to the better players. Some water area’s were changed for both looks and strategic purposes, the 18th green now connects to the putting green, and the fifth hole has a new green that was built behind the old green. The Highland Park Park District deserves credit for deciding to keep open the Sunset Valley Golf Course, originally picked to close, and instead shutting down the park districts other venture, the former Highland Park Country Club.

There are two sets of greens fees for the golf course. One for the residents of Highland Park, and for non-residents, fees top out at $57 in peak times, with another $19 for a cart used for 18 holes. The new golf carts have state-of-the art features including GPS, but walking is permitted. There are rates for Juniors and Seniors, and specials during the Twilight hours.

During this year until the course closes for the season, tee-times are set at 15 minute intervals. For more information the club please visit Sunsetvalleygolfclub.org, or call the course at (847)-432-7140.

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About Rory Spears

Rory spent over 8 years growing up working at Rob Roy Golf Club in Prospect Hts.IL, then two years at Chevy Chase in Wheeling. He has covered golf in Chicago since 1986. Rory was one of the initial members of WSCR all-sports radio Chicago and covered golf there for 5 seasons, before moving on to work for ESPN/Sportsticker and ESPN Radio. In addition to hosting Golfers on Golf Radio on WNDZ Am 750 Chicago, he writes for both Chicagoland Golf and the Chicago District (CDGA) Magazine. Rory has played over 460 courses in 37 states, and rates golf courses. He does golf course management and communications consulting, in the golf industry.