Phillips Park Golf Course Overview
Phillips Park opened in the early 1920’s as a 9-hole course and was popular right away with the locals. Owned by the city of Aurora from the start, golf was completely free to play. In November 1923, an expansion from 9 to 18 holes was proposed. That month, the True Republican newspaper quoted an Aurora city council commissioner saying “Golf at the municipal course this summer became so popular that the nine hole course proved too small. Golf is a game for young and old and is becoming so popular that we must have room for them all next year.” In 1924, free golf was a thing of the past, and Phillips Park Golf Course started charging $0.25 to play.
Today, this 18-hole muni is still a great value to play and even has a 3-hole short course to the left of the driving range, great for kids and folks learning the game. The club runs 6,196 yards and has a par-71 layout, with four par-5’s and five par-3’s. Phillips Park is a tale of two nines. The front is on the southern half of the property, is mostly flat, and is more open. The back nine is definitely more charismatic. It feels classic, a throwback design with narrower fairways, more trees, and fun hills carved into the terrain. Throughout, the squared off tee boxes are a nice touch. Holes have interesting, whimsical shapes and require some planning to score well. The GPS-equipped golf carts aid in this. There’s not an abundance of water on the property, but four ponds attempt to trip you up along the way. My favorite hole is probably #13; a short par-4 with an elevated tee box and slight dogleg gives you risk/reward options. Something about the design makes the framing of the hole really enticing. Play it safe and lay up into a wide fairway, or try to bomb your drive into a narrow landing area. Execute correctly and you can score well either way. The course rating is 70.0 and the slope is 124.
The clubhouse, while not huge, is clean and modern, mostly made up of the restaurant area. They serve breakfast sandwiches, normal sandwiches, hot dogs, and brats, plus typical snacks. Phillips Park’s medium-size pro shop has a moderate amount of merch for sale, but they do sell clubs, bags, hats, shirts, and golf staples. The club boasts a robust practice facility. The driving range has both grass tees and mats. A nice touch is the sand trap next to the range for fairway bunker practice. There’s a practice green for chips & putts. And don’t forget the aforementioned 3-hole short course. The restaurant also has golf simulators.