Southland Golf: Plenty to Test All Skill Levels at The Sanctuary
Scenic golf course in New Lenox earns earns high marks from Golf Digest.
Sometimes the best things aren't easy to find.
Hopefully it's not your drive on No. 5.
The Sanctuary Golf Course in New Lenox is pretty much in the middle of New Lenox, but it's tucked away off of Route 30, making it the type of place that most aren't going to drive by on a regular basis.
The course marked its 15-year anniversary last year and continues to offer a challenge for both the newer golfer as well as those with plenty of experience.
"Steve Halberg designed the course, and when he first designed it the fescue was pretty much the whole course," Sanctuary golf pro Bob Schulz said. "They cut a lot of it down after the course first opened because the high-end handicapped golfers were struggling, but we've grown some of it where it belonged."
The fescue helps give the course its identify and remains a key element today.
"We decided to grow it up a bit but make it playable," Schulz said. "It's still playable for the average guy but not a cakewalk for a scratch golfer either."
Another recent change was made on the ninth hole. It was lengthened from about 375 yards to 450 yards and the course continues to offer GPS.
"Changing No. 9 was a big thing and we've added GPS to the golf carts," Schulz said. "A lot of municipal courses don't have GPS with this economy, and it's a nice amenity we've added."
The Sanctuary offers four sets of tees making it a challenge for players of all levels. The course can stretch from just over 5,000 yards from the red tees to about 7,000 from the black.
"We have over 425 juniors playing in the summer on Tuesdays, three ladies leagues and a big men's league," Schulz said. "We had a new amateur tournament in May, and it's a course that's suited regardless of your handicap."
The 568-yard, par-5, fifth hole is regarded as the course's signature hole, and while that's the kind of hole that can leave the golfer shaking his or her head after finally completing it, there are plenty of challenging holes on both the front and back nine.
"Across the bridge, we call No. 14 and No. 15, 'Jurassic Park,' " Schulz said. "We call it that because people can get lost back there and make big numbers."
The elevated green on No. 16 can be daunting, but it's a recovery hole of sorts after Nos. 14 and No. 15. It's not a respite that lasts long, though, and the final two holes provide a difficult finish to your round.
"Our last two holes are two of the best finishing holes on the South Side of Chicago," Schulz said. "No. 17 is about 585 yards and the summer wind is always in your face and you've got water on the left and right, and No. 18 has water all on the left side. It's two great holes to finish."
All told, the fescue boundaries, water hazards and more than 70 bunkers, along with narrow fairways and bentgrass greens provide the golfer with a challenge from the first tee shot to the final putt.
The Sanctuary was awarded 4½ stars by Golf Digest. More than 300 courses in Illinois have been rated by Golf Digest, and the Sanctuary is one of just 19 to receive 4½ or more stars.
The Sanctuary is situated at 485 N. Marley Rd. in New Lenox. Call 815-462-GOLF to book a tee time. The course has a summer special of $27 for green fees and cart every Wednesday. Plus, the Bunker Bar and Grill offers a bunch of delicious sandwiches and full bar, so you’ll never have a problem with No. 19.
Coming Tuesday: Come back at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday to watch as golf pro Bob Schulz demonstrates in a video how to play the par-5 fifth hole at The Sanctuary.