Appeared in July/August 2006 LINKS
Late real-estate developer Paul Butler commissioned George Fazio and his nephew Tom to build a course outside Chicago worthy of hosting the Western Open. Site of the event from 1974 to 1990, Butler National indeed had a reputation as one of the toughest courses on the PGA Tour.
The younger Fazio returned in 2004, converting the greens to A-1 Bent grass, repositioning some tees and moving back fairway bunkers as much as 50 yards to restore the layout’s ferocity. Mission accomplished: At 7,523 yards, Butler National’s Course Rating is 78.1, tied with six other courses (including nearby Medinah No. 3) for seventh highest in the country.
Numerous lakes and Salt Creek provide obstacles, and the course plays longer due to raised greens that have subtle slopes, heightening the difficulty of approach shots and putts. There are no breathers—just the way Butler wanted it.
Year founded: 1974
Architects: George and Tom Fazio
A Tom Fazio upgrade puts the teeth back in this Monster of the Midway
By: Reid Hanley