By Mark Gregory
Anyone that lives in the Will County area and has driven down Renwick Road in Romeoville has without a doubt witnessed the evolution of Mistwood Golf Club.
Those who just drive by on occasion or one time will see beautiful buildings from the road and a peek at the golf course that lies behind them.
However, it is not until you park your car in the parking lot and walk past the bag drop do you really realize the amazing facility that lies 45 minutes outside of Chicago.
Over the last few years the golf course itself was redesigned and a state-of-the art Performance Center was built.
Now, the next phase is complete and it is the most obvious to the passer by.
Settled closest to the road is the newest building that houses The Great Hall and McWethy’s Tavern.
The Hall is a venue that can host functions from weddings, fundraisers or a corporate meeting and can accommodate from up to 220 people – more with tenting options.
Sharing a building with the Great Hall is McWethy’s – a Tavern that offers a full menu with something for everyone. It can be a great place to eat after playing 18 holes or just a place to go for a nice meal.
While McWethy’s does allow the non golfers to enjoy the ambiance of Mistwood without teeing up a single shot – golf is still the name of the game at Mistwood – and what golf it has.
The round starts with a 395 yard par-4 that makes you think right off the bat as the hole offers a split fairway with a creek that offers players options on how to attack the tee shot. A good approach is also critical as bunkers on the sides and behind the green wait for a bad shot.
The second hole is a slightly shorter par-4 that features a wide fairway, but also has a pair of stacked sod bunkers in the middle that players must navigate to score well.
Hole 3 is the first par-5 on the course and the first time water comes into play and it is also the first of several chances you get to play while looking into the stunning architecture. Long hitters can reach the green in 2, but an undulating green makes it a difficult putt once you are there.
Number 4 is a 400-plus yard par 4 that features rolling hills and more stacked sod bunkers, while 5 is another medium range par 4 that again sees water come into play.
After a sharp dogleg right par 4 on number 6, the seventh hole offers the first of four par 3s on the course.
This 240-yard hole plays downhill with Loch St. James, the largest body of water on the course, scaring players from taking a club up.
The front nine ends with a 600-yard par-5 on No. 8 that again brings the large loch into play. The hole was dubbed “one of the top par 5s in the country” by Dan Jenkins from Golf Digest. It is followed by a 180-yard par-3 that again brings the clubhouse into sight.
After grabbing a quick sandwich and a drink at the turn, players are treated to a short par-4 to open the back nine. Like many holes on the course, this is another risk/reward hole that could offer players a nice way to open the second half of the round.
Number 11 is also a hole that could yield a birdie for hitters that can get the ball out into the fairway and take advantage of the 440-yard par-4.
Hole 12 is another midrange par 4 with water on one side and a separating the fairway. The approach shot is key here as the deepest of all the stacked sod bunkers sits directly in the front center of the green all but daring players to challenge it.
Starting with 13, water becomes a nemesis as you complete your round.
Number 14 is a gorgeous par-3 over the loch that requires a precise tee shot to avoid water and bunkers.
If you didn’t like water on the par 3, you will see more on No. 15. A 500-plus yard par-5, the fairway wraps 90 degrees left around the water. Most hitters can fly some part of the loch – the question is, how far left to do you dare go? The hole plays longer for those not willing to try and go over the water.
Once over off the tee, the second shot offers the loch to the left with a very narrow landing zone for to put you in a good position for an approach.
Again, more water on the par-4 16, but a straight hitter can manage this one with a solid drive leaving a short but guarded approach shot.
The final par-3 on the course is No. 17. While there is water on the left here, it is not nearly as in play as the previous holes with the exception of an errant tee shot.
The par-5 18th requires a straight tee shot as the left side of the fairway is guarded by bunkers and the right side could see your ball end up in the trees or out on Renwick Road for the erratic hitter.
Skilled players can reach the green in two, however, be cautious of the creek cutting across the end of the fairway on your second shot.
Greens fees at Mistwood are $85 on weekdays and $105 Friday through Sunday, with a discount after 2 pm that offers a $65 play on weekdays and $85 on the weekends.
For the price and location, the course is one a skilled player will want to play over and over to try and master, but is worth every dollar for an average player to spoil himself and play at an amazing course for a price that is competitive, if not below, some of its counterparts.
Once a player experiences all that Mistwood has to offer after the two-year renovation project, they will return either for more golf, a lesson or just to have dinner.