George W. Dunne National Overview
The crown jewel of the Cook County Forest Preserve golf circuit, this muni is a true test and puts up stiff resistance at every opportunity. It has an interesting history too. Construction started in 1978 and cost $3.1 million. It opened in 1982 to rave reviews. George W. Dunne was called Forest Preserve National back then. The July 1, 1982 Southtown Star said “how good is the new Forest Preserve National golf course in Oak Forest? It’s the kind of course that brings you to your knees. Then kicks you in the teeth. Without a doubt it’s the best public course in the south suburbs, maybe even the Chicago area.” When it opened, tee times were first-come first-served -- no reservations available. Golfers lined up in front of the pro shop starting at 3AM to get a 7AM tee time. Green fees were $8 in 1982. In 1983, the head pro at the time, George Kallish, said to the Chicago Tribune “This is the best municipal course in the US. Torrey Pines is a goat ranch compared to this. They could play the US Open here. It’s that good.” In 1991, the course was renamed to George W. Dunne, in honor of the former Cook County Board president, who advocated for and brought the course to life.
The par-72 track has a course rating of 75.4 from the back tees, second only to
in our course database. It just edges out Stonewall Orchard and The Glen Club in difficulty. This place is demanding on all aspects of a golfer’s talents. The slope rating of 142 is a signal that bogie golfers are in for a really long day. It’s 7,262 yards from the championship tees. Eight ponds on the property result in eleven holes with water in play. Most holes are lined with big, mature trees, the aforementioned water, bunkers, or a combination of all three. Speaking of bunkers, they’re everywhere, and they’re huge. Course architect Ken Killian designed no simple greens at the venue. They’re irregular shapes, mostly with narrow landing areas that require precision. Everything is designed to confound you. A sign at the first tee recommends only golfers with a handicap 3 or better attempt the track from the back tees.
George W. Dunne has a mats-only driving range you’ll see on the right as you drive in. It also has one long, thin practice green. The pro shop is a good size, with plenty of merch for sale. They sell packs of Forest Preserve used golf balls -- “quality guaranteed.” There’s a restaurant area in the clubhouse with lots of tables inside (and outside) for folks to relax and chat about how brutal the course is.