Getting To Know: Sunset Valley Golf Club
An Insightful Interview With Ryan Ochs, General Manager / Superintendent of Golf Operations
By Brian Weis
Whether you have played a course 20+ times a year or looking to play the course for the first time, insights from an insider can help enhance your golf experience. Below is an interview with Ryan Ochs who shares some valuable tidbits about the course, memorable holes and must eats and treats at the 19th.
Give Our Readers An Overview of the Golf Course/Property
Sunset Valley Golf Club has undergone an extensive $7 million renovation to the course and clubhouse. The Sunset Valley Golf Club re-opened for play in mid August (2018).
The beautiful "heathland" style course provides dramatic panoramic views and challenges the golfer's mental toughness to focus on executing the shot at hand. Every hole at Sunset Valley tests different aspects of your game. It isn't a cake walk for good golfer or a torture session for the not-so-good golfer.
What Tips or Local Knowledge Would You Provide To Help Them Score Better At Your Course?
When you get up to the tee box analyze the hole. Don't just get up there on the tee box and whale away with a driver. Take what the golf course gives you and aim for the landing areas. Use the new GPS carts to hit the correct distance. The correct play maybe a three wood or a five iron. Get your first shot in the right position and distance will give you the best chance to attack the green.
Any recent changes to the golf course? Or any upcoming changes?
Sunset Valley just underwent an extensive $7 million renovation to the course and clubhouse. The project included a complete renovation of all tees, fairways, greens, bunkers as well as overall infrastructure, drainage and storm water management upgrades.
The most distinguishing change in Sunset Valley is the transformation of a virtually flat course to a course with dramatically changing topography achieved through strategically placed berms, swales and undulations at each hole.
The course now features:
* Five sets of tee complexes to create different course lengths
* All Eighteen greens have been rebuilt to meet USGA specifications and give golfers a variety of ways to attack the pin locations
* Holes have been reshaped and bunkers have been strategically placed.
* Several the cart paths have been rerouted and curbing features have been added.
As far as individual hole changes:
* The highlight of the course is Signature Hole #4 designed as a breathtaking peninsula surrounded by a larger lake with natural stone walls covering the embankment outlined with colorful flowering plants.
* Hole #5 and #13 have been lengthened and native fescue grasses frame each hole
* Hole #12 expansion of the lake improves visibility of this beautiful water feature from the tee shot landing area
* The fairway on the Hole #14 wraps around and connects with the approach on #10 green.
* Hole # 18 new putting surface connects with the putting green to create one large putting surface providing a dual purpose
Other changes Include:
* New high-efficiency, lithium ion cart fleet drives with zero-emissions and features interactive GPS touch screen monitors including: HD hole graphics so you can visualize specifics of the location of water hazards, bunkers and pin placement; on-screen pro tips; digital scorecard offers email option; yardage to pin; 3D hole flyover with full screen HD video; food & beverage menus and ordering.
* Providing "club level" service is a long-held tradition at Sunset Valley and that is one aspect of the club that hasn't changed. Our golfers can still experience the great service they have grown to appreciate. A few new enhancements to that experience include a new convenient bag drop-off lane outside the clubhouse.
* The clubhouse has also undergone a big renovation. This 62-year-old building that was once just a "pass through" to the course has been reconfigured inside and out. It now features an expanded golf shop, lounge area, outdoor patio and the new 13ninety bar and restaurant where we are now.
Recent Awards or What You Are Most Proud About The Course?
Sunset Valley Golf Club hosted the North Shore Open from 1928-1938. The 1930 North Shore Open hosted some of th best players in the world including Walter Hagen (two time US Open Champion and first American to with the British Open); Tommy Armour and Jock Hutchinson.
In 1956, Sunset Valley started hosting the North Shore Amatuer golf tournament with continues to this day attracts top local talent.
What Is The Signature, Most Talked About, or Most Photographed Hole?
After the renovation it is hard not to make the case that all 18 holes are our signatures.
The highlight of the course is the new signature Hole #4, designed as a breathtaking peninsula surrounded by a lake with natural stone walls covering the embankment outlined with colorful flowering plants. From the back tees, the hole plays 162 yards. The green slopes pretty sharply to the right toward the water. The best play is to aim for the center of the green and get your par with the putter.
What Is Your Favorite Hole? Any Tips to Play It?
My favorite hole is number 8 - a short par 4 with strategically placed bunkers up the fairway. I love challenging the bunkers with my driver leaving a short shot (100-50 yards) into a long oval green.
Must Have Dish or Drink after the round at the 19th Hole?
13ninety Restaurant & Bar is a casual hip resturant lounge with an awesome view of the golf course. The restaurant offers indoor and outdoor seating serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.
The locals have been raving about our new menu and my favorite is the 13 ninety club - a sandwich piled high with turkey, ham, bacon, lettuce and cheese.
13 ninety also features a full stocked bar offering signature cocktails and local craft beers.
Back Tee Stats
Sunset Valley Golf Club
1390 Sunset Road
Highland Park, IL, 60035
Revised: 08/27/2018 - Article Viewed 11,845 Times
- View Course Profile
About: Brian Weis
Brian Weis is the Publisher of GolfTrips.com, a network of golf travel and directory sites including GolfWisconsin.com, GolfMichigan.com, ArizonaGolfer.com, GolfAlabama.com, etc. Professionally, Brian is a member of the Golf Writers Association of America (GWAA), International Network of Golf (ING), Golf Travel Writers of America (GTWA), International Golf Travel Writers Association (IGTWA) and The Society of Hickory Golfers (SoHG). In 2016, Brian won The Shaheen Cup, an award given to a golf travel writer by his peers.
All of his life, Brian has been around the game of golf. As a youngster, Brian competed at all levels in junior and high school golf. Brian had a zero chance for a college golf scholarship, so he worked on the grounds crew at West Bend Country Club to pay for his University of Wisconsin education. In his adult years, his passion for the game collided with his entrepreneurial spirit and in 2004 launched GolfWisconsin.com. In 2007, the idea for a network of local golf directory sites formed and GolfTrips.com was born. Today, the network consists of a site in all 50 states supported by national sites like GolfTrips.com, GolfGuide.com and GolfPackages.com. It is an understatement to say, Brian is passionate about promoting golf and golf travel on a local, regional, national and international level.
On the golf course, Brian is known as a fierce weekend warrior that fluctuates between a 5-9 handicap. With a soft fade, known as "The Weis Slice", and booming 300+ drives, he can blast it out of bounds with the best of them.
Contact Brian Weis:
GolfTrips.com - Publisher and Golf Traveler