Oak Terrace Resort Spa in Pana is Central Illinois rarity

By July 6, 2010, 6:46 pm


Oak Terrace Resort & Spa
The green at Oak Terrace Resort's 192-yard 11th hole is guarded by a large tree close to the fringe.

PANA, Ill. – With the PGA Tour John Deere Classic returning to TPC Deere Run, the golf spotlight shines once again on Illinois. And although outstanding and affordable golf can be found throughout this topographically and climatologically diverse state, true golf resorts can be somewhat harder to locate. This is especially true of central Illinois, where relatively flat farmland is the norm.

A welcome exception to this rule is Oak Terrace Resort and Spa in Pana, about 30 minutes south of Springfield. Offering nearly every imaginable amenity, from fishing and boat rentals to a lakeside spa to 18 holes of golf, Oak Terrace deserves a vote for 'Most Unexpected' golf resort in the state.

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Golf at Oak Terrace Resort
At just 6,375 yards from the tips, the homey Oak Terrace Golf Course is not long, but it offers plenty of shot-making bang for a reasonable amount of buck. For just $38 weekdays and $46 weekends (cart included), golfers are challenged with a quirky yet enjoyable home-spun design. The layout, devised by resort owners Don and Mike Beyers, can be arguably too cutesy in spots, especially for resort guests who are forced to pull a variety of atypical clubs on short, tight, hazard-ridden tee shots. But at these prices, one can afford to play a couple of practice rounds.

Oak Terrace Golf Course has a bit of a split-personality, with the opening nine consisting mostly of flat holes guarded mainly by long, wispy rough. The back nine narrows considerably as it turns into the woods, and golfers are advised to buckle in for a ride up and down steep hills through chutes of dense hardwood.

The first thing one notices on the front nine is that there is no need to hit your driver on any hole until the 455-yard, par-5 ninth, even from the tips. This also holds for the 412-yard, par-4 second and the 537-yard par-5 third, where OB looms just off the fairway on both sides. At the third hole especially, all that is required is a long iron or fairway wood out to the sharp left-to-right dogleg. After a simple lay-up and wedge, this supposedly 1-stroke handicap hole will yield to an easy par.

By the time you arrive at Oak Terrace Golf Course's ninth hole, and you've all but forgotten you even have a driver in your bag, you are faced with a tough tee shot over a pond, to a left-to-right bending fairway with OB (driving range) right and a pinball machine of small trees to the left. The drive is made all the more nerve-wracking by the kitten-sized bullfrogs thundering in the pond all around the tee box, and five-pound bass splashing and spawning in the shallows. (They should really consider a golf-and-fishing scramble where players compete for low scores and the most bass.)

The back nine is an entirely different beast, where the stretch of holes from the 12th to the 16th have been dubbed 'The Shotmaker's Mile.' It is here that first-time visitors might begin to get frustrated by the extent of local knowledge required to pull the right clubs and take the right lines off the tees. In this respect, the Oak Terrace course is hardly typical of resort-style designs, where the necessity of local knowledge is generally kept to a minimum.

Oak Terrace Golf Course's 340-yard 12th is the first example of the quirkiness of the design. Although the view from the tee through overhanging branches down over a pond to the gently rising fairway is gorgeous, and the distance to clear the pond is well-marked on the tee box, you really have very little feel for what club to hit here – other than being pretty certain that driver is way too much. Thick woods line the right side, and grass and trees line the left, and deep fairway bunkers pinch the fairway about 100 yards out from the green. So you're left with a shot that must carry 210 yards, but not more than 230.

The 377-yard 13th hole is even more vexing, as there is a hidden OB left (where empty home lots are staked out for sale), and the right side is completely dead. Again, a shot of 220 yards is required here, hit with a slight fade to avoid trees that pinch off the front of the tee box.

The 490-yard, par-5 14th continues the string of contorting tee shots. There is a 75-foot drop from tips to fairway, which turns 90 degrees to the left at the landing area. A well-struck 240-yard 5-wood and a 180-yard lay-up left me within a sand wedge of the steeply elevated, sharply two-tiered green. My wedge hit the side of that three-foot tier and rolled back down to the front fringe, where the back-right pin was a difficult 3-putt away.

And if the previous three holes struck you as they did me – a bit overly penal and under-length – Oak Terrace Golf Course's 267-yard, par-4 15th will look like a circus hole. This is especially true from the back tees, which sit atop a levee in Beyers Lake and require a big fade of a tee shot through the branches of an overhanging oak and across an inlet to a green guarded front and right by water. One might argue that a stupid golf writer shouldn't go for the green here, and that my criticism is thus ill-founded; however, given that the cape-style, ribbon-thin fairway borders the far left edge of the lake and is itself lined on the far side with impenetrable woods, a lay-up is no sure thing either.

Because most golfers are left with almost no option here other than sheer luck (I hit a half-dozen clubs, trying a half-dozen strategies, and even well-struck shots came up short and wet or bounced long and lost), I would suggest that this hole could be made much more fun and fair by bringing the tee boxes down to the far end of the water from the green and turning it into a challenging, long par 3 that would require more skill than luck. If nothing else, the woods left of the fairway should be marked with red stakes if the hole stays a par 4, so as to allow for more painless passage to the home stretch.

Amenities at Oak Terrace Resort
The resort's LakeView Spa opened in 2005, and boasts 9,000 square feet with full-view windows overlooking the Beyers Lake. Featuring Kohler fixtures and design, the spa offers a full compliment of treatments, including a beauty salon.

Beyers Lake is a 66-acre fisherman's dream, if the size of the lunker smallmouth bass in the course ponds are any indication. Boat rentals are available at the resort.

Mulligan's Restaurant serves up home-style entrees ($11-$22) in a woodsy atmosphere, with windows looking out onto the course and the rolling landscape. The per-glass wine list is a bit weak, but there are some good bottles available at reasonable prices.

Lodging at Oak Terrace Resort
Oak Terrace Resort offers a number of accommodation options. The Inn at Oak Terrace consists of 37 guest rooms overlooking the golf course and Beyers Lake. The Fairway Townhomes are two-bedroom, two-bath units with kitchens that also overlook the course and are perfect for extended golf outings. Finally, the Lakeside Villas feature two-bedroom, two-bath units, screened-in porch with jacuzzi overlooking the lake, fireplace, flat screen HDTVs, and kitchen area.

In short, the amenities and lodging facilities you'll find at Oak Terrace Resort the best central Illinois has to offer, not only because they are unique in the area, but because they would also be considered excellent anywhere else.

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Storms halt Barbasol before Lincicome tees off

By Associated PressJuly 20, 2018, 11:29 pm

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - Brittany Lincicome will have to wait until the weekend to resume her bid to make the cut in a PGA Tour event.

Overnight storms delayed the start of the second round Friday in the Barbasol Championship, and an afternoon thunderstorm suspended competition for good. The round will resume Saturday morning with much of the field still to play.

The second stoppage at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came 20 minutes before Lincicome's scheduled tee time.

Lincicome was near the bottom of the field after opening with a 6-over 78 on Thursday. The first LPGA player since Michelle Wie in 2008 to start a PGA Tour event, she needs a huge rebound to join Babe Zaharias (1945) as the only female players to make the cut.

Troy Merritt had the clubhouse lead at 15 under, following an opening 62 with a 67.

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Third-round tee times for the 147th Open

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 9:05 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Eighteen major champions made the cut at The Open and will be playing the weekend at Carnoustie, including 60-year-old ageless wonder Bernhard Langer, and both major champs so far this year, Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka.

Twenty-four-year-old Gavin Green will be first off solo Saturday at 4:15 a.m. ET. Reed and Rhys Enoch will follow along 10 minutes later.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, both at even par for the tournament, six shots behind leaders Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner, are in consecutive groups. Mickelson is playing with Austin Cook at 8:05 a.m. and Woods is with South Africa’s Shaun Norris at 8:15 a.m.

Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler, both three shots off the lead, are also in consecutive groups. Fowler is at 10 a.m. with Thorbjorn Olesen and Spieth is 10 minutes later with Kevin Chappell. Rory McIlroy, looking to win his first major since the 2014 PGA Championship, is at 10:40 a.m. with Xander Schauffele. McIlroy is two shots behind.

Johnson and Kisner are last off at 11 a.m.

4:15AM ET: Gavin Green

4:25AM ET: Rhys Enoch, Patrick Reed

4:35AM ET: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Justin Rose

4:45AM ET: Yusaku Miyazato, Tyrrell Hatton

4:55AM ET: Ross Fisher, Keegan Bradley

5:05AM ET: Ryan Fox, Jason Dufner

5:15AM ET: Bryson DeChambeau, Henrik Stenson

5:25AM ET: Tom Lewis, Sam Locke (a)

5:35AM ET: Paul Casey, Chris Wood

5:45AM ET: Bernhard Langer, Rafa Cabrera Bello

6:00AM ET: Paul Dunne, Brett Rumford

6:10AM ET: Masahiro Kawamura, Shubhankar Sharma

6:20AM ET: Cameron Smith, Brendan Steele

6:30AM ET: Marc Leishman, Lee Westwood

6:40AM ET: Byeong Hun An, Kevin Na

6:50AM ET: Julian Suri, Adam Hadwin

7:00AM ET: Gary Woodland, Si-Woo Kim

7:10AM ET: Yuta Ikeda, Satoshi Kodaira

7:20AM ET: Marcus Kinhult, Thomas Pieters

7:30AM ET: Beau Hossler, Haotong Li

7:45AM ET: Cameron Davis, Sean Crocker

7:55AM ET: Louis Oosthuizen, Stewart Cink

8:05AM ET: Phil Mickeslon, Austin Cook

8:15AM ET: Tiger Woods, Shaun Norris

8:25AM ET: Lucas Herbert, Michael Kim

8:35AM ET: Jason Day, Francesco Molinari

8:45AM ET: Sung Kang, Webb Simpson

8:55AM ET: Patrick Cantlay, Eddie Pepperell

9:05AM ET: Matthew Southgate, Brooks Koepka

9:15AM ET: Kyle Stanley, Adam Scott

9:30AM ET: Charley Hoffman, Alex Noren

9:40AM ET: Ryan Moore, Brandon Stone

9:50AM ET: Luke List, Danny Willett

10:00AM ET: Thorbjorn Olesen, Rickie Fowler

10:10AM ET: Jordan Spieth, Kevin Chappell

10:20AM ET: Zander Lombard, Tony Finau

10:30AM ET: Matt Kuchar, Erik Van Rooyen

10:40AM ET: Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele

10:50AM ET: Pat Perez, Tommy Fleetwood

11:00AM ET: Kevin Kisner, Zach Johnson

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Facial hair Fowler's new good-luck charm

By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 8:12 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Before, during and after the Fourth of July, Rickie Fowler missed a few appointments with his razor.

He arrived in the United Kingdom for last week’s Scottish Open still unshaved and he tied for sixth place. Fowler, like most golfers, can give in to superstition, so he's decided to keep the caveman look going for this week’s Open Championship.

“There could be some variations,” he smiled following his round on Friday at Carnoustie.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

At this rate, he may never shave again. Fowler followed an opening 70 with a 69 on Friday to move into a tie for 11th place, just three strokes off the lead.

Fowler also has some friendly competition in the beard department, with his roommate this week Justin Thomas also going for the rugged look.

“I think he kind of followed my lead in a way. I think he ended up at home, and he had a little bit of scruff going. It's just fun,” Fowler said. “We mess around with it. Obviously, not taking it too seriously. But like I said, ended up playing halfway decent last week, so I couldn't really shave it off going into this week.”

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Spieth (67) rebounds from tough Round 1 finish

By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 7:55 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Guess whose putter is starting to heat up again at a major?

Even with a few wayward shots Friday at Carnoustie, Jordan Spieth made a significant climb up the leaderboard in the second round, firing a 4-under 67 to move just three shots off the lead.

Spieth showed his trademark grit in bouncing back from a rough finish Thursday, when he mis-clubbed on the 15th hole, leading to a double bogey, and ended up playing the last four holes in 4 over.

“I don’t know if I actually regrouped,” he said. “It more kind of fires me up a little.”

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Spieth missed more than half of his fairways in the second round, but he was able to play his approach shots from the proper side of the hole. Sure, he “stole a few,” particularly with unlikely birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 after errant drives, but he took advantage and put himself in position to defend his claret jug.

Spieth needed only 25 putts in the second round, and he credited a post-round adjustment Thursday for the improvement. The tweak allows his arms to do more of the work in his stroke, and he said he felt more confident on the greens.

“It’s come a long way in the last few months, no doubt,” he said.

More than anything, Spieth was relieved not to have to play “cut-line golf” on Friday, like he’s done each start since his spirited run at the Masters.

“I know that my swing isn’t exactly where I want it to be; it’s nowhere near where it was at Birkdale,” he said. “But the short game is on point, and the swing is working in the right direction to get the confidence back.”