Fore! by Four

Appears in the June 2024 issue.

Local golf pros share insights into their favorite holes

Number 17 at Naperville Country Club
Number 17 at Naperville Country Club

As fairways fill in with a deeper shade of green, trees fill out to create strategic obstacles, and reservations fill up at courses all across the area, June means golf season is teeing up. In honor of this transition, we rounded up a foursome of head golf pros—Brian Brown at Naperville Country Club, Mike Lyzun at Naperville Park District, Steve Gillie at Stonebridge Country Club, and Kyle Carter at Aurora Country Club—to chat about the local holes they’re most looking forward to playing this summer—plus a few bonus tips.

Number 17 at Naperville Country Club

Brian Brown: “It’s hard for me not to be a little bit biased here and talk about Naperville Country Club’s closing stretch of holes, with number 17 being the most picturesque and pivotal point. This is a long par 3 (230 tips/215 members/196 men’s forward/165 women’s) that has a green perched out on a peninsula, with penalty areas both left and right and a bunker perfectly placed to gather any shots that choose to bail out there. There are plenty of ‘others’ here that end up on the scorecard—especially if the match is coming down to the final few holes.”


Number 18 at Stonebridge Country Club in Aurora

Number 18 at Stonebridge Country Club in Aurora

Mike Lyzun: “This is a Tom Fazio–designed par 5 with a tee shot that requires a carry over water and a penalty area that continues down the entire right side of the hole, while the left side has tall fescue grass as well as multiple bunkers. Then the green has a gentle left-to-right slope that can influence your ball to creep its way into the penalty area. The clubhouse, surrounded by large oak trees, provides a beautiful background. This is definitely a challenging risk-reward hole that can create an exciting finish to a round.”

Steve Gillie: “I can honestly say this with no bias—this may be one of the best golf holes I have played. It offers everything you want in a par 5, including an amazing view of the property. It is visually challenging even though it has fairly wide corridors off the tee. Those with enough length may be enticed to go for the green in two, but that shot requires guts and precision.”


Number 18 on Dubsdread at Cog Hill, Lemont

Number 18 on Dubsdread at Cog Hill, Lemont

Carter: “This is an extremely challenging hole that requires navigating two fairway bunkers a mere 15 yards apart and sitting right in your landing zone, then taking a mid to long iron into a green that slants left along a large water hazard banking it in front with nowhere good to miss. You just can’t help but reminisce about the now-famous video of the enormous gallery following Tiger Woods as he made his victory walk up the fairway en route to his 1997 Western Open victory.”

Pro Tips

You can’t gather a group of golf pros without asking for a least a few pointers on the game, right?

Steve Gillie

Steve Gillie’s advice: Spend more time working on chip shots.

“This is the easiest area to improve with guidance. Being proficient at chipping can take pressure off other areas of your game.”

Brian Brown

Brian Brown’s advice: Practice with purpose.

“A lot of golfers either play too much golf or hit too many balls on the driving range and expect to improve just because they’re playing more. If you tend to practice without a specific purpose or drill, it can be more detrimental than helpful—not to mention foster some bad habits.”

Mike Lyzun

Mike Lyzun’s advice: Look beyond the driver.

“Everyone loves to hit the long ball, but there’s so much more to this game. I see people spending so much time working on their driver and I get it—you have to be able to get off the tee. But as the saying goes, ‘it’s not how you drive but how you arrive.’”

Kyle Carter

Kyle Carter’s advice: Expand your golf palette.

“Get out and experience different courses all around the Chicagoland area. See the uniqueness in different course designs and how they change from course to course, and enjoy your walk in nature.”


Photos: Evan Schiller (Naperville Country Club and Brian Brown); Cog Hill Golf and Country Club; Jay Geil (Stonebridge and Steve Gillie); Mike Lyzun; Kyle Carter