Course #4 Dubsdread at Cog Hill Golf and Country Club
|Blue (W)||72||6750 yards||80.2||150|
|White (W)||72||6382 yards||78.1||145|
|Green (W)||72||6033 yards||76.1||141|
|Forward (W)||72||5441 yards||72.8||135|
|Black M: 78.0/153||458||224||443||462||507||240||431||379||613||3757||383||607||216||480||215||523||456||423||494||3797||7554|
|Gold M: 76.0/146||442||208||427||427||495||216||399||360||600||3574||369||565||202||446||194||509||419||407||459||3570||7144|
|Blue M: 74.2/140||425||182||407||397||479||194||385||341||586||3396||353||547||194||383||184||482||381||399||431||3354||6750|
|Combo M: 73.2/138||407||161||407||397||479||173||385||341||550||3300||353||525||178||371||174||482||381||399||401||3264||6564|
|White M: 72.2/136 W: 78.6/146||407||161||389||367||463||173||363||319||550||3192||336||525||178||371||174||462||362||381||401||3190||6382|
|Green M: 70.6/132 W: 76.6/142||385||158||386||348||433||137||304||316||521||2988||333||483||154||368||171||425||359||378||374||3045||6033|
|Forward M: 67.4/124 W: 72.6/134||382||141||308||285||414||117||277||296||486||2706||306||436||151||312||108||410||342||299||371||2735||5441|
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Cog Hill #4: Joe Jemseck and Dick Wilson's Legacy
Through the years, playing a PGA Tour golf course meant teeing it up at a private facility - for the most part. You certainly had the 1-off resorts that were insanely pricey (think Pebble Beach, Doral, Torrey Pines, Pinehurst). Then came the advent of the TPC courses that were public, but not that much cheaper (TPC-Sawgrass, TPC-Scottsdale, etc.). But in the mid-1900s, located in Chicago, was a visionary named Joe Jemsek. His idea was to offer a true private club golf experience to the public player. His history in the game is well worth the effort to learn about it. Because when you drive up to the clubhouse at Coghill to play the #4 course known as Dubsdread, you will WANT to know how it all came about.
Cog Hill #4 is a true tournament-geared track. From the time it opened in the early 60s, Dick Wilson's design became legendary. No small feat when Wilson's portfolio contained courses like Royal Montreal, Laureal Valley, Bay Hill and the original design of the Doral's Blue Monster. It has been a perennial inclusion in the Top 100 Courses You Can Play and is a brutal test of golf from almost any tee. It has held USGA events (Public Links for both men and women), a US Amatuer, Western Opens and BMW Championships. From all the way back (7554), the slope is 153 and the rating is 78 on a par of 72. Even at 6750, the course slopes at 140!!! Choose the tee you play smartly. And keep in mind that the course was tweaked and modernized by Rees Jones in 2008.
Conditions are always fantastic, but you have to allow leeway for early Spring and Late Fall, as this IS Chicago, you know. But keep in mind, from the openig tee shot, you will have few spots to catch a breather. This course demands your very best in shotmaking AND a level of concentration that is equal to the task at hand. The opening holes offer a pitched battle for par. Hole 5 gives you a chance as the shortest par five on the course, but you must keep it in the fairway to score. Number 9 closes out the outward nine in strong form with slight dogleg left five par that is all you can handle.
Hole 10 offers a slight respite, as it is one of the shortest par fours on the course. But from that point on, you are in golf's version of a meat grinder. Hole 11 is certain a close cousin to 9 - another long, hard par five moving gradually to the left. Hole 12 is one on my favorite par threes on the globe. You'll know it when you see it. Long, slightly downhill to a wide, deep green, closely protected by bunkering both to the front and rear. The hole is framed from behind by a thick stand of trees and undergrowth. From there, the closing stretch just does not let up. Coming into the house on those final holes, it's awfully easy to see a good round fall completely apart.
The grounds and clubhouse are old school wonderful. There are three other terrific courses at Cog Hill, so they do a phenomenal job on the corporate/outing end of the game, as well. Great instructors, awesome clinics, involvement with the Evans Scholars Foundation, a solid staff in the pro shop, good food... banquets, weddings: It really is the essense of Joe's vision so many years before, which is testimony to his son, Frank, who has operated the facilities since his father's passage in 2002.
When you play Cog Hill #4, you are truly walking amidst the beauty of golf's history. Honor it and enjoy.
The staff could not be better the course always in great shape, the last redo turned out to be a nightmare for the average player as they were trying to get the U.S. Open. They are redoing bunkers to make it much friendlier for the average player and they do all the
re-dos very fast. No tricks here just straight golf. You will use every club in the bag from any tee you choose which are many and also combination tees for whatever yardage you would want to play. Plenty of places to stay in the area
Ready for Sand Bunkers
Dubsdread is the course that hosted the Western Open for years that became the BMW Championship. For $155, one can play a course that the PGA Tour played. Course conditions: awesome tee boxes, fairways and greens were excellent, green speeds were quick but not too fast, bunkers are in the middle of getting a re-do. Green complexes are very difficult, large, many pin placements, ridges, over 150 bunkers. I played from a combo set of tees of 6,500 yards and was very thrilled to shoot an 81 with bogeys on each of the par 5s (ouch). I can drive the ball about 240 to 260 and I would be comfortable going to blue tees at 6,700+ yards and have fun. There are two more sets of tees further back at 7,100+ and 7400+ yards if you want to constantly test all your long irons and fairway woods. The difficulty is most greens are fronted by bunkers or are elevated or border deep runoff areas or water. One needs to carry the ball to the green on most holes. The rough is thick and tree lines come into play realistically on holes 3, 4, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 17. There is a snack shack on the front nine after hole 6 but then there is no snack shack or beverage cart the rest of the way (Disappointing for $155). This was my first time I played the course and was impressed by the course.
Course in great shape.
Course in great shape greens, fairways and bunkers were raked and in great shape. Stay out of the bunkers the sand is soft. We golfed the course in 4 hours.
Play this course!
A buddy and I got the #2 & #4 package, and it was awesome! I loved that they had a practice bunker to go with the range, chipping area and putting green. The course was in immaculate shape, and it was really fun seeing how I could do on a tournament course. Every good shot was just made the next on that much more doable, but bad shots were really punished. It made for a really fun round. The Golfboards were reasonably priced, and a lot of fun. The staff was friendly. Just a great addition to a Chicago vacation.
A true test of golf
There are some courses I play (or consider playing) where I’m just not sure if I can add any value writing about them. Cog Hill (#4, Dubsdread) is just such a course. While most courses on my trip many people, even in the golf community, haven’t heard of… pretty much everyone who might read this review also knows about Dubsdread. Nevertheless, I’m going to do it anyway (the writing that is, not as sure about the value adding part).
I’ve seen #4 on a few “toughest courses” lists and there also is the fact that it gets it’s moniker from the notion that this is a place that average golfers should fear to tread. However, as I began playing the course what I did not was notice an impossible track eager to gobble up half of the balls in my bag; by contrast, I realized that while Cog can be trying, it’s not really a day ruining kind of tough.
In fact, one of the things I really liked about Cog was that it didn’t seem to want to penalize you as a means of keeping your score from being too low. It just wanted to… how to say… vet you; and be sure you were deserving of the score you obtained. I found this very refreshing.
Pool players say 8-ball is a shooters game, while straight pool is a pool players game. In this sense I think a course like #4 is a golfers track rather than a shot makers. There is nothing symbolic or even akin to target golf at Cog Hill. While I’ve spent my life loving courses that highlight my strong mid to short iron game; if you want to know how good, and complete, a golfer you really are, Dubsdread is a great place to find out.
My favorite hole was probably the par 5 11th, which happens to be the #2 handicap on the course (despite me having a far more difficult time with #18 which is the 16 handicap). I felt it had its hazards in great places to keep play honest while still being a hole that could be attacked. Three strong mid irons could get you close, if not on the green, while avoiding the well placed traps. In other words, avoiding the temptation to hit a longer club made the hole easier to play.
My whole day at Cog was an exercise in course management and restraint (it’s the first course in a long time that I really cared about the outcome from a score standpoint), and the 11th was no different. I took a shorter club (5 iron) off the tee with the idea of leaving myself short of the bunkers, and then took a mid-range iron (6) into a wide landing area short of the second set of hazards. This left me with a very reasonable 7 iron into the green (which I *may* have pulled into the rough on the left resulting in a bogey).
This was an example of how I thought the course sets up in general. It can be managed, by a bogey golfer, to play bogey golf. That is until #18… which, because of the way it is set up, is hard to simply manage your way around. By and large though, I think if you played Cog Hill 20 times, you would actually have a true handicap; which I don’t believe is the case for many other courses.
The course itself was in immaculate condition. From the precisely cut tee boxes, to the manicured fairways and perfectly prepped greens, there was not a blade of grass that didn’t seem ready to be golfed upon. I thought the design was exemplary as well. I, as have many before me, assumed the PGA players play the tips and was curious how I would do from back there. However, I was assured by staff that they play the gold tees and that there is nothing but distance to miss by not playing the back. From my perspective, if the golds are good enough for the pros, they’re good enough for me as well.
The staff at Cog Hill was great and (who knew?) they’ll wash your car while you play (being first out, we didn’t know about this until we were done, so missed out). Overall the Dubsdread experience was everything I wanted it to be and I not only recommend you play it if you have the chance, I think you owe it to yourself to play Gog, or another course like it, just to see where you golf game really stacks up.
Long and good luck with up and downs
The former host of the BMW Championship went overboard with renovations to challenge TOUR-caliber players. Most notably, greenside bunkers are almost impossibly deep for the speed and shape of the greens. If you find yourself in any bunker you are basically dead in making less than a bogey. Fairway bunkers are such that lips are so high you need to hit long irons as high as short irons and the aforementioned greenside bunkers are equally scary.
Overall, the course is long with a nice routing. And certainly earns the moniker of one of the best public courses around Chicago. Just know that the greens are fast and accuracy is a must.
Just do it!
I've been looking forward to playing this course for years. I visit Chicago frequently, but usually in February... not exactly golf season. Finally I was there and the weather was great so I went out to try Dubsdread.
It's a super tough course, with heavy rough, ample bunkers, elevated greens, and LONG. This day in particular the wind was strong (and seemingly always into me) and the course was damp and not rolling out at all. Lots of long iron approach shots.
Older, parkland style courses are my favorite. I like that you get trees, but also enough space to not constantly lose balls. I wouldn't say it's an easy walk, but the holes generally run near each other so walking is definitely an option.
18 is about as tough a closing hole as I can think of. Over 430 and was straight into the wind. I needed 3wood on my 2nd, but the landing area gets very narrow. Didn't end well for me, but what a course.
I would absolutely recommend this course. It's probably in my top 5 of all time. Just a beautiful course and a real challenge that isn't gimmicky or unfair. What are you waiting for?
Golfed here on 10/08/16 paid 135 dollars to play Dubs. I enjoy spending a little extra to play courses like this about once a month. This was my first experience and Cog Hill and it will also be my last. Upon pulling in and getting my clubs out of the car there was no one at the bag drop, so i walked my clubs into the club house and had to place them on the golf cart myself. While in the clubhouse not only was I told it was cart path only but they had also just aerated the greens the week before (which i was not told about when i booked the tee time over the phone). Then we go to the driving range to hit range balls and it was more mud than grass. I am not sure if they are replanting or what but it was not in good shape. So i paid full price to play a course that you literally couldn't putt on because it was so bumpy from aeration, we had to play auto 2 putt becasue trying to make a 3 footer was even impossible. As for the course it was very wet which is a little understandable because we have had a lot of rain the last few weeks. However, I played Seven Bridges the day before and it was no where near was wet as Cog. I think Seven Bridges or Ruffled Feathers is just as nice for less than half the price. If you want to play just because they had tournaments there over 5 years ago please save your money.
Charming old-school track
It seems like players either love or hate their experience at Dubs. I rather enjoyed my turn on this historic track. I did not encounter some of the negatives others have reported. An attendant met me with a cart in the parking lot. I found the driving range to be more than serviceable. And the starter got me out early as a single. This was my first Chicagoland golf experience, so I have nothing to compare it to. But, there is a feeling you get when you step onto an old-school track. The first thing you notice is that this is a first-shot golf course. You must be in proper positions off tee, and finding the fairway is an absolute must, particularly on Nos. 9 and 10, where you must drive it through a narrow tunnel of overhanging mature trees. The other thing that quickly reveals itself is that this course has no mercy on poor bunker players. Not only were they plentiful, but they are deep. Fingers of greens allow for some pretty tough pin placements. And you can find yourself in green side bunkers that requires you to hit it into a proverbial bucket. Otherwise, you can hit from one bunker into another, as I did on 9 and 10. Practice some high, short bunker shots before playing here. Also, the quality and consistency of the bunkers was excellent. I thought the finishing stretch was fantastic. From No. 13 in, the holes are varying, highly unique and increasingly difficult. The par-3 14th is as tough as they come, and if you avoid any of the sand guarding the green, consider it a victory. The par-5 15th is short and highly reachable in two, before the quirky 16th and memorable 18th. The days of this course hosting big-time tournaments may have passed, but the history and maturity of Dubs makes it special and warrants a place on the top 100 public lists.