The Takeaway: A 27 hole facility with an active membership, each of Butterfield’s parkland nines are strong in their appeal and design. The redesign of the greens is where the teeth exist in the layout with challenging contours paired with edges that are quicker to repel than receive shots. Grade B
Designer: Langford and Moreau in 1920 / Steve Smyers renovation in 2010
Phone Number: (630) 323-1000
Course Website: Official Website - Visit Butterfield Country Club's official website by clicking on the link provided.
Directions: Get here! - 2800 Midwest Rd, Oak Brook, Illinois 60523 – UNITED STATES
Photos: See additional photos of Butterfield Country Club
What to Expect: Located 20 miles west of downtown Chicago, Butterfield Country Club is a 27 hole private club that dates back to 1920 with a design by the famed duo of William Langford and Theodore Moreau. The parkland layout features tree lined fairways, a handful of water hazards, and deep bunkers. Steve Smyers was hired in 2010 to do a renovation to the three nines, known as Red, White, and Blue, and focused mainly on the bunkers and greens which are the features that put the challenge into the course. Navigating the greens is where strokes are won and lost a lot of times, but it is particularly emphasized at Butterfield with some of the most diabolical contours and edges you'll ever find at a course. Designed from the start as a 27 hole facility, all of the holes work well together rather than many facilities that start with 18 and add another nine after the fact. The terrain features consistent gentle movements throughout which gives some character to the course while making it for a comfortable walk as well. The par threes are scenic and the par fives are strategic, so there is plenty to look forward to throughout the round, but the thing that most players will walk away talking about is how good of condition the course is maintained in. Butterfield feels like a country club in every aspect and features a large membership; many of which have young family members that enjoy the facilities. Players sent out onto the course will have a caddie join them whether the decision is to walk or ride during the round. In the end, Butterfield is a classic country club experience with a solid collection of holes. It isn't among the top ten courses in the Land of Lincoln, but it qualifies to be in that next tier.
By the Numbers
Individual Hole Analysis
Signature Hole: 5th (Red) Hole – 150 Yard Par 3 – Short and sweet, the 15th is an attractive one-shotter that plays over a pond to a tiered green that is protected by a trio of bunkers. The slender green is just 14 yards wide compared to 40 yards deep, so there is a bigger premium on accuracy than distance control to be successful here. If you have your camera handy, snagging a picture on the bridge of this hole is a great spot.
Best Par 3: 2nd (White) Hole – 193 Yards – A beauty of a par three that reminds me a bit of something you'd see on the sandbelt of Melbourne given the bunker shaping and proximity to the green edge. The putting surface features a distinct shelf in the back right that is the most difficult pin location to get close to while the rest of the green slopes back towards the front. When the pin is in the front third, a quality shot can use the slope that separates the tiers to spin a shot back towards the flag.
Best Par 4: 4th (White) Hole – 445 Yards – One of the most difficult tee shots of the day awaits at White's 4th where players will be asked to hit a drive that splits the tree lined fairway and goes far enough to get a proper angle into the green. The fairway doglegs left and the trees on the inside corner of the turn can block players from a clean look at the green, but bailing too far right can bring the water into play that is on the opposite side of the rough cut. The ideal tee shot finds the far right side of the fairway for a good angle to approach the green that is flanked by water at the front left. The green has a severe tier cutting across it and dividing the putting surface into two clear halves; the front half which is easier to hit but brings the water into play. A lot of rounds can be made or broken on this two-shotter.
Best Par 5: 5th (Blue) Hole – 570 Yards – The risk/reward 5th hole on the Blue course might be the most enjoyable hole at Butterfield to play. The unassuming tee shot plays to a slightly raised tee shot where long drives will land out of view but still short of the creek that crosses the fairway 150 yards shy of the green. Upon cresting the hill, players find a fairway that swoops down and to the right while hugging a pond for the final 150 yards. The bold play goes straight over the water on a line to the green while skirting the trees on the right side that can swap balls to a watery grave. Laying up will bring plenty of sand into play with the ideal shape starting at the left edge of the fairway and letting it fade back towards the center. This is an exciting hole where birdies are often rewarded.
Birdie Time: 7th (Red) Hole – 353 Yard Par 4 – The strategy is simple on Red's 7th hole, hit your drive just short of the bunker on the left and then use your wedge to knock it stiff to the day's pin location. Beyond the first bunker the fairway begins to ascend, so by staying short and right of it you give yourself a flat lie and excellent angle to attack the green from.
Bogey Beware: 6th (Red) Hole – 415 Yard Par 4 – Things get tight on the 6th hole of the Red course and will require some quality shot making to avoid a bogey. The tee shot plays over a small pond to a fairway that doglegs left but the terrain tilts to the right, so if you can't shape your ball with a draw there is very little room for error on where you can land your tee shot. The approach shot plays to a long, rectangular shaped green that doesn't need any bunkering because of the overgrown trees that hang over the fairway and ask you to carve one under the virtual tunnel or over the top. There are a lot more tragedies than triumphs here.