SINNISSIPPI GOLF COURSE
Another classic Thomas M. Bendelow parklands design, 9-hole Sinnissippi is located in Sinnissippi park - and about a long par five from the world-famous Anderson Japanese Gardens. Built in 1912, it’s the oldest - and shortest - of the Rockford Park District munis. 9-hole Sinnissippi has served as home course to thousands of neighborhood boys and girls in the nearly 100 years it has graced Rockford’s near east side. Despite its lack of water, sand bunkers and length (3,230 from tips), Sinnissippi should not be taken lightly. It has a funny (or maddening depending on your state of mind) way of turning pars to bogies and bogies to doubles. Hookers beware! Most of the real trouble is left. Breakfast on the little clubhouse’s porch is a favorite neighborhood treat. Par 37, 3,230 from the tips, rating: 35.5, slope: 130. Call 815-987-8838.
1401 North Second Street, Rockford, IL 61107 - Directions
Website: Sinnissippi Golf Course
Visit Anderson Japanese Gardens - 318 Spring Creek Rd, Rockford - and go for a tour. While you’re there, visit the new visitors center and restaurant for a captivating meal.
#1. Sinnissippi’s opening hole, a 434 yard par 4 dogleg left, is deceptively tough. Large, old-growth trees guard both sides of the fairway and attract many tee shots. Although the fairway off the tee appears to run downhill forever, it actually flattens out about 170 - 180 yards from the green. Sinnissippi’s lush, bluegrass fairways offer little roll and most tee shots bounce once or twice and come to rest in the flat section, seemingly prematurely. In fact, lack of roll seems to be one way this par 37, 9-hole course protects par. Don’t forget to ring the bell on the right side of the fairway after you hit your approach - it’s the all-clear signal for those behind you, who cannot see down to the valley below #1 tee. On quiet mornings, the bell’s pleasant notes can be heard many blocks away in North Highland and Brown Hills neighborhoods. The green is spacious, but requires a firm touch with the short stick. Words to the wise: don’t be disappointed with par on this seemingly simple par 4!
#6. All 190 yards of this par 3 run steeply downhill. But, this is a hole at which many players take too little club. So, choose your club carefully, trust your swing and be loose. But, there’s more; watch the OB behind the green. Making matters even worse, the woods to the left are a ball magnet - and plenty of trouble if you hook your tee shot badly. Be careful on right-side pin positions because fading balls that hit the right side of this green often end up on #7 tee. Needless to say, hitting into the group ahead of you makes the walk down the hill seem considerably longer! Many subtle breaks exist on this green, particularly for middle pin positions. Most of Sinnissippi’s greens break less than you think they might, but #6 is an exception to that rule. It breaks quite a bit . None of Sinnissippi’s greens challenge the upper reaches of the Stimpmeter, so commit to your line and putt firmly.
#9. Talk to old timers and many of them will sniff, “you think #9’s tough now? You should have played it back in the day when it was a par 4!” Well, those days are gone and #9 is now a test 470 yard par 5 that offers many golfers a decent chance at birdie. Even if you’re not a long hitter challenging the green in two, the fairway is spacious and forgiving for both drives and approach shots. There are no sand bunkers at Sinnissippi, but the green is crowned and gently guarded by mounds that surround almost the entire circumference of the putting surface.