Hole #5: GolfScout's Take
Things get real spicy on hole 5. An elevated tee box, which is often in poor shape, provides a view of the challenge ahead. A small pond separates the narrow fairway landing area from the elevated green. The smart play, of course, is to lay up in the fairway and then approach the green with a short or mid iron.
I've played this course upwards of 30 times, and not once have I seen anyone successfully fly the water, let alone get on the green from the tee. At 317 yards from the back tees, it's a shorter par 4. A Google Maps measurement says it's only about 260 yards to the front of the green, but anyone not laying up regrets the decision in my experience. I suspect scientists will discover a golf ball magnet in the pond at some point.
Billy Caldwell is next to the North Branch of the Chicago River. Despite the best efforts of the Forest Preserve and BC staff, flooding can be a problem here after heavy rain as mother nature reclaims what's hers. Sometimes the tiny pond turns into a lake. Sometimes holes 5, 6, and 7 are totally submerged and closed entirely. And it's unfortunate, but the condition of the 5th fairway suffers as a result.
The elevated green is surrounded by both wooden and chain link fences, which hopefully you don't have to account for if your approach missed the green. Though, chipping over the wooden fence onto the green is a fun challenge you don't get at other courses too often.