Eagle Ridge North Course Review

Eagle Ridge North-2682

Eagle Ridge North
Eagle Ridge Resort and Spa
Galena, Illinois

Grade: A
Teacher’s Comments: I immediately wanted to play this course again.

The North course at Eagle Ridge Resort and Spa is a beautiful parklands layout, more friendly than the resort’s premier “General,” but still offering plenty of challenges. Of the three and a half courses at Eagle Ridge, it was by far my favorite.

From the back tees, the North course stretches to 6,875 yards, and plays to a 73.2/125, The middle tees are in at 6,386, playing at 71/129. Play it forward for the most fun. Fun is what it’s all about, right?

In my mind, this is a perfect resort course.  It’s friendly for the occasional golfer, with challenges from the back tees for the better player.

There are just three holes that require serious carries, and two of those are par threes. On the vast majority of tees, a short shot is just going to add a little more distance, not force you to tee it up again. The fairways are generally wide enough to accommodate a mistake, while still punishing the overly aggressive. Greens are fair and accessible.

Overall, the course has a nice, friendly vibe. It is also very pretty, with holes framed nicely by trees, bunkering and water backdrops.

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The eighth (above) is what the course considers its signature hole. It is a 147 yard par three from an elevated tee over a neck of lake down to a green framed by sand and rock outcroppings. The drop is at least one club’s difference—perhaps two.

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Eagle Ridge North-2694

My favorite was the seventh (two photos above). From an elevated tee, this 357 yard par four plays ever so slightly slightly left, with trees lining the length of the wide fairway. The second shot is significantly downhill to a green that is beautifully framed by trees, with a lake as the backdrop. I liked it not only for the visual effect, but also for the challenge of the club selection on the second shot. I overclubbed and had to chip back from the rear of the green. Fortunately, I got it close and putted in for a par.

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Eagle Ridge North Tenth

The tenth is a clever strategic hole (above two photos). it is a short par 4, measuring just 329 yards from the tips. From an elevated tee, it drops significantly, then turns slightly left to the green. The fairway ends at about 150 out, transforming into a moonscape of bunkers. The best plan here is to play two irons: one just sort of the bunkers, and another into the green.

On the day I visited, the fairways greens and tee boxes were all immaculate. The “rough,” however, was scorched in many places. I don’t know why it would be necessary to cut the rough as short as they do in those cases. Leaving it longer would keep it greener and save water in the bargain.

One thing I noticed about the course—and at the South Course later—were the crazy bounces. Shot after shot ended with skips right, left, back, straight up into the air; anywhere, it seemed but toward the hoe. At first I thought it had something to do with the way I was hitting it; that that spin I was imparting cause it all to fly askew. But there was too much inconsistency for that. If it were my spin, I wouldn’t expect to see so much randomness. I think that there must be a great many subtle undulations across the course.

Eagle Ridge’s North course is one that I would happily play again.

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