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Scovill Golf Course In Decatur, Illinois

Scovill or Shotvill?

By Todd Wolff

Two words that sum up the experience at Scovill Golf Course are trees and elevation. If you golf all three courses in the Decatur Park District trifecta, you are in for another quality golf course unique from the other two. The course is a classic wooded parkland track that will test your composure as triple bogeys are as easy to come by as birdies and eagles. On our drive to the course we drove miles and miles through flat corn fields. Then within a few city blocks of the course the landscape drastically changed. We were surprised that tucked away in the middle of Illinois lied a course with sweeping dramatic elevation changes with picturesquely tree lined fairways.

Luckily we played the course on Saint Patrick's Day without leaves on the trees. Envisioning a filled in forest, had our group shuttering knowing in late spring this is a course will put a serious demand on shot making. The heart of the front nine, holes 4, 5, 6 and 7, wove through mature 100 year old hardwoods with a few holes climbing and dropping 6 to 10 stories.

While the tight fairways may have you feel claustrophobic? The panic will not occur on every shot. Holes 1 through 3 and 8 through 9, are wide open holes with generous landing areas. In fact, Brian Weis, Publisher of eagled the par 5 opening hole. Later in the round fellow GolfTrips contributor, Dan Biedenbender, bombed a drive on the 330 yard 8th that reached the green. While he rode a huge headwind it was still impressive that he avoided a 10 foot wall and creek that guarded the narrow green.

Playing at 5,925 yards from the tips, the course on paper appears short, but make no mistake, this course puts a high priority on risk/reward. The 14th is longest hole at 515 yards but the par 5 features a 100 foot elevation climb that plays more like 570 yards. The hole is nearly unreachable in two. Conversely the par 4 18th plays just under 240 yards from the tips. While easily drivable the hole is guarded by a huge pond on the right, and a sand bunker in the front. Miss it on either of those sides and par will quick evaporate.

Head pro, Travis Lehman, commented that the 18th is his favorite hole. "In matches, you know how well someone's round is going by how you see them play the 18th. If they are trying to preserve a lead they always layup and play safe. If they are down, they gamble. Birdies and eagles are very attainable if you hit the green. A lot of matches have been won and lost on the final hole. It is exciting and fun to watch from the club house."

A final hole with that much risk versus reward is my definition of a great finishing hole.

Interesting Factoids

Scovill Golf Course was initially designed by Tom Bendelow, and then redesigned in 1991 by nationally renowned architect, Dick Nugent. The course also was awarded the top 100 Women-Friendly course in 1999 and 2000 by "Golf for Women" magazine. It is also noteworthy that Scovill is a member of the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary System.

The Skinny

Par: 71
4 Tee Boxes: 5926, 5255, 4832 and 4303 Yards
Slope/Rating: 68.4/119
Weekend 18 Hole Rate: $26.50

Stay & Play Packages

Decatur Park District has teamed up with local hotels to offer some stunning Stay & Play packages. Each package includes 18 holes of golf, cart and bucket of range balls at any of the 3 DPD courses with a nights stay ranging from $53.00 at America's Best Value Inn and Suites to $133 at the Homewood Suites Hilton! We stayed at the Country Inn and Suites which is $75.00 for the Stay & Play rate and had a great room and wonderful continental breakfast.


From Chicago - 3 Hours
1. Leave Chicago via Interstate 57 South;
2. Merge onto I-72 W via EXIT 235B toward DECATUR/SPRINGFIELD.
3. Take the IL-48 exit, EXIT 144, toward OREANA/DECATUR.
4. Keep LEFT to take US-51 S via EXIT 133 toward PANA/US-36 E/DECATUR.
5. Merge onto US-36 E via EXIT 133A toward DECATUR.

Scovill Golf Course
3909 W Main Street
Decatur, IL 62522

Article Tags: Scoville Golf Course

Revised: 04/11/2011 - Article Viewed 25,575 Times

About: Todd Wolff

Todd Wolff Todd Wolff is a well traveled freelance writer on golf, beer and travel. In 2005, Todd joined as the first contributor. When he is not on the links, Todd is brewing his legendary craft beers. In addition, to golf writing he is a world renowned graphic artist who has won numerous industry awards in logo design and product packaging.

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