Established in 1920 and redesigned in 2018 by Rick Jacobson, Sunset Valley Golf Club is an 18-hole golf course located in Highland Park, Illinois that is owned and managed by the Park District of Highland Park.
The golf course design accomodates every level of golfer with unique features unlike any other golf course in the area. The $7 million project in 2018 included a complete renovation of all tees, fairways, greens, and bunkers as well as overall infrastructure upgrades for drainage and storm water management.
With multiple tee complexes creating different course lengths, the new Sunset Valley golf course was designed to be harder and easier, and with an objective to accommodate a broad spectrum of golf skill sets. Jacobson, along with Park District of Highland Park officials, note that ‘every hole at a great golf course should test different aspects of your game; it shouldn’t be a cake walk for a good golfer or a torture session for the not-so-good golfer’ — and such is the case with the updated Sunset Valley Golf Club.
With strategic landforms, flowing masses of native grasses, and groves of trees which harkens back to the character and aesthetic appeal of the course’s original 1920’s era of golf course architecture. Jacobson’s heathland characteristics at the new Sunset Valley provide a combination of golf hole features rich in diversity. Golfers have alternative options to conquer each hole resulting in fun and rewarding rounds of golf; meanwhile, the undulating landscapes of the heathland layout make the terrain ideal for fast, challenging golf.
Hole #4 is the new “Signature Hole” and emerges as the highlight of the new course. This breathtaking peninsula features a natural stone wall embankment outlined by colorful flowering plantings and surrounded by an expanded lake. The creation of two additional forward tees provides a multiple tee complex that allows the hole to play from a variety of lengths: Gold –95 Yards, Red –110 Yards, White -130Yards, Blue -145Yards, Black -160Yards. The resulting elasticity in the length of the hole provides an opportunity to set the course up to accommodate golfers of all abilities, while still offering the notions of “risk and reward” along with “caution and safety”.
For those golfers who are less likely to take chances and prefer a safer route to the hole, architect Jacobson has provided a fairway “collection area” to the left side of the green and around the entire back of the green to enhance conservative playability. The new fairway collection area will give golfers options on the type of short shots they must execute to save par.