Wow, it’s hard to write up a course following my superb display of golf at Butler the day prior but it is my duty and I will try to wash the tears away. When you arrive at Olympia the first thing you see is this monstrosity of a clubhouse. As you come down the drive it is all you can see and there is a giant clock tower right in the middle of this tudor inspired structure. Olympia was founded in 1915 and the North course was designed by Willy Park jr, who was a two time British Open Champ. It is home to two courses, the North and the South, which originally were 4 courses. During the second World War the club fell into financial distress and had to sell off half the land and the holes that were left were configured into the South Course. The North course is a par 70 and measures 7,177 yards with a 74.9 course rating and a slope of 147. Olympia has been home to two US Opens(28′ & 03′) and 2 PGA championships(25′ & 61′).
On the morning of our round we did our usual, breakfast, coffee and some trash talk. Our good friend Ryan was gracious enough to provide us with a ride to the course and he picked us up from our hotel in his Jeep “sans top”. There are multiple issues with this…. Rain was in the forecast, 20 + miles of highway driving and if you are sitting in the back you can’t hear a damn thing. Luckily I got shotgun and if you are 6′ 4” like Greg, the back of a jeep is a bit uncomfortable:) Although, it beat our $135 Uber option until it started raining…..but more on that later.
We arrived at the club around mid morning and Greg was excited to get inside the club to see if his friend Beau Hossler had checked in for the big college event that was being hosted at Olympia the following day. We walked into the locker room and it was the biggest most industrial locker room I have ever seen(straight out of the 60’s), I think there were 1500 plus lockers. All of the college teams had their own sections with banners in front so that was pretty exciting to see. A lot of the players were arriving and checking the place out like we were, which created a type of buzz in the atmosphere.
Once we were checked in we headed down to the range to hit some balls, warm up and meet our host Dan who is a good friend of Ryan’s. After 30 minutes or so of sweating in the 92 degree midwestern heat we were ready to head out to the first tee. Dan is a fan of the member regular tee’s, so that was our choice for the day. I have to say that is was a nice test of golf. Olympia is well known for it’s abundance of oak trees and a serpentine creek that flows through the course that may catch you off guard if you are not mindful. We had a nice team game that was very competitive all the way to end where Greg and Ryan wound up claiming victory on the 18th hole. In our personal game I lost straight up and was spared a bit in my Nassau match with Greg. He shot a 79 and I wound up limping in with a 93. The most memorable stretch of holes for me were 13, 14 and 15. A fantastic par 3 followed by a picturesque par 4 and then a monster par 5 to set you up for the home stretch. The greens were very fair and were rolling pretty good. The bunker layout is a nice distraction at Olympia and can be very penal if you are too aggressive on your approach shots.
After our round we had a beer with Dan, revisited the round and then had to run so we could make our dinner reservation in Chicago. Unfortunately Dan was unable to join us for dinner as he had to be up at the crack of dawn so he could make it out to the BMW championship at Conway farms the next morning. Fortunately for Greg we only experienced a little rain on our drive back to Chicago as he was in the boot once again.
Our Dinner reservations were at a Restaurant called Bevette’s. If you are ever in Chicago you must eat at this establishment. It is speakeasy meets steak house. Greg called 3 weeks in advance and was able to secure us a booth in the Parlor, which is in the basement of the building dimly lit and conducive to a very relaxing dinner.. The Bone in Filet is the “go to ” and I highly recommend the maple cured bacon. After celebrating our day over a few bottles of wine and a couple scotch’s we decided to venture out for a few more libations at a local bar where an infamous bet was made between Greg and I. At some point in the future I am required to test my field goal kicking prowess by making 5 of 10 from 40 yards……Hopefully this story will make the blog at some point in the future……