Crystal Downs Country Club
Crystal Downs is consistently ranked as one of the top courses in the U.S. and the World by Golf Magazine's panel of experts.
This course was built on a bluff overlooking Lake Michigan and Crystal Lake. The tree-lined fairways are extremely hilly, so expect many uneven lies. One small pond comes into play on the 550-yard, par-5 8th hole. Originally designed by Alister MacKenzie and Perry Maxwell in 1929, Crystal Downs was redesigned by Geoffrey Cornish and Brian Silva in 1985.
From Sports Illustrated Writer-Reporter Rick Lipsey: After moving from his native England to the U.S. in the early 1920s, Alister Mackenzie quickly became one of the top golf architects during the gold age of American course design. A bit later, Mackenzie asked Perry Maxwell of Oklahoma to become a design partner. "When I originally asked you to come into partnership with me," Mackenzie wrote to Maxwell, "I did so because I thought your work more closely harmonized with nature than any other American golf course architect." That is certainly true at Crystal Downs, a Mackenzie design on which Maxwell worked as the construction foreman. Opened in 1930, the course is routinely ranked among the best courses in the country. Perched on a sandy bluff in plain view of Lake Michigan and Crystal Lake, the gently rolling layout is a stern test. There's a ubiquitous wind that often howls, and the fairways are guarded by deep and amoeba-shaped bunkers and thick fescue. The greens, though, pose the stiffest challenge. Also guarded by tough bunkers, the surfaces have multiple tiers and severe sloping, sometimes reaching six feet of pitch from back to front.