Nestled along Lake Michigan in the most eastern part of the popular Lakeview neighborhood, sits a Chicago gem, Sydney R. Marovitz golf course. There is no debate that the Chicagoland area contains some of the most beautiful courses in the country. But for the city dweller not all of those courses are easily accessible. This Chicago Park District 9 hole course is there to fill the golf gap.
Despite being stuck in the middle of Chicago, the price is very fair. At $27 for nine holes during the week and $30 on the weekend, the average golfer would be hard pressed to find a less expensive course in the area. If you plan on playing 6 times (or visiting the Diversey Driving Range) or more, purchase a Chicago Park District Player’s Advantage Card.
This membership will save you $5 on every round of golf, and at least $2 for every large bucket of balls you buy at the driving range. Over the course of a long summer this card can save the avid golfer over $50, which is another 18 hole round. Who doesn’t want a free round of golf?
Course Design & Maintenance
Sydney R Marovitz Golf Course hosts players of all levels, and the overall design of the golf course certainly reflects that. Three tee boxes allow offer handicaps of all levels to test themselves. If you’re looking to play 18, the third set of tees can offer a different perspective on the same course.
Water only comes into play on one hole (unless you have a wicked slice into the lake on two more holes that run along the lake). This is the only hole that would challenge a beginner as far as green accessibility. There are no other forced carries, so the bump and run play is very much invited here.
Every green on the course has at least two bunkers that protect the surface from errant approach shots. Most fairways have traps that line the landing areas as well, so a high value is placed on hitting the ball straight as opposed to more advanced shaping of the ball, especially on approach shots.
Overall the course is maintained very well, especially considering the large number of rounds it hosts every year. Even towards the end of the summer the greens are actually green. In order to maintain this kind of health, the grass of the greens has to stay a little longer rendering which slows them down a bit. The only negative as far as maintenance goes is the quality of the sand traps across the course. The sand is often very shallow and coarse. Shots should be played more like hardpan dirt than sand. Otherwise, the playing conditions are above average for a public track.
The excerpt from the CPD Golf website says this course has championship length. No it doesn’t. A driver is rarely needed, even from the “back” tees. Something like a 3 or 4 wood will leave a mid to short iron into most of the greens, even for those with average length. Long and straight hitters will find themselves with a lot of short iron approaches and even one drivable par 4 (number eight, a straight 290 yard hole). The slope and rating are both spot on, scratch handicaps should play the course at or below par while the average bogey golfer should be able to play aggressively and still enjoy a strong score.
Overall the playing experience at Sydney R Marovitz Golf Course greatly depends on the season and time of day you play. Because of the mixture of players that visit the course slow play is a very common complaint, especially when the weather is nice. To avoid this problem it’s recommended to create a very early tee time. Even late evening rounds can be hindered as tee times are commonly 20-50 minutes delayed throughout the day. A three hour 9 hole round is not uncommon. But, the staff is very friendly and they do their best to move play along. Take the time on tee boxes to enjoy the incredible views of the lake and the city.
The location is the most appealing part of this course. For the city dweller, this is one of the few courses that is within a reasonable distance.
- No practice area.
- No PGA Professional on staff.
- Slow play is rampant here.
The course has improved a great deal over the past few years after the Billy Casper Golf management group took over. So the course itself is actually playable. Only five years ago you might as well have been playing miniature golf because the maintenance was so bad.
Review in one sentence – Not a great place for the serious player unless you play early or late, especially during the summer hours, but a reasonable 9-hole course for the average Chicago golfer.
Sydney R. Marovitz
3600 N Recreation Drive