Marshall, IL Golf - Canyata Golf Course
It's my sincere pleasure to welcome you to Canyata.
Our goal was to create a golf course that players of all abilities could enjoy - a world-class golf course that compliments its natural surroundings - with more than 7,200 yards of golfing perfection, including lakes, waterfalls, streams, bent grass tees, fairways, and greens. Our Marshall, IL golf course is a true hidden gem.
We hope you will always remember your visit to Canyata.
- - Gerald Forsythe
|TEE||COURSE RATING||SLOPE RATING|
|White - Ladies||73.8||135|
|White - Ladies||310||538||147||325||345||456||252||145||336||2854|
|White - Ladies||483||378||156||264||363||508||250||139||325||2866||5720|
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Marshall, IL Golf Facts
|Location: ||Located in rolling farmland countryside of east central Illinois. |
|Address: ||Canyata Golf Club Road |
|Description: ||Wide bent grass fairways (averaging more than 50 yards wide) and large bent grass greens (averaging more than 7,000 square feet) accentuate the natural beauty of woods and streams which are prevalent around the course, first experienced by explorer George Rogers Clark on this land in the late 18th century. |
|Par: ||Front Nine: 36 |
Back Nine: 36
|Yardages from Tees: ||Gold: 7,226 |
|Rating/Slope: ||Men's |
|Tees - bent grass |
Fairways - bent grass
Greens - bent grass
Rough - blue/rye grass combination
|Golf Course |
|Michael Benkusky |
|Opening: ||Front nine holes were opened in Fall 2001 |
Back nine was completed in Fall 2004.
|Recognition: ||Golf Digest rated Canyata "Best New Private Course (#2) of 2005", #43 America's Top 100, #4 Best in State, both by Golf Digest |
|Golf Course |
|Michael Boudreau |
|Gerald Forsythe |
Golf Club History - Creating a Masterpiece on the Prairie
What was intended to be a three-hole golf course on a section of a family farm has grown into one of the most talked-about and celebrated new private golf courses in the United States Canyata Golf Club.
Just outside the quintessential American farm town of Marshall, Ill., Canyata (pronounced can-YAY-tuh) is a 7,200-yard stunner molded from of the rugged and rolling farmland of east central Illinois by golf course architect Michael Benkusky. Named the No. 2 Best New Private Course in the United States in 2005 by Golf Digest magazine (January 2006 issue), Canyata begins its second full season of play in summer 2006.
Membership at Canyata Golf Club is restricted only to those invited to join by owner Gerald Forsythe.
Originally Mr. Forsythe wanted to build only three golf holes (a par 3, par 4 and par 5) designed for the recreational use of his family and friends. But it didn't take long for him and course architect Benkusky (who worked as the lead project designer for Bob Lohmann) to see that this lush farmland was hiding a gem of a golf course. A spectacular nine-hole course opened in fall 2001, with the additional nine completed in fall 2004.
"It was an exciting project from the beginning," said Benkusky, who now operates his own course design company, Michael J. Benkusky, Inc., in Crystal Lake, Ill. "Mr. Forsythe obviously wanted the best golf course he could have."
And "the best" is what was delivered to Mr. Forsythe, from Canyata's wide bent grass fairways (averaging more than 50 yards across) and large bent grass greens (averaging more than 7,000 square feet) to the natural beauty of woods and streams that explorer George Rogers Clark first experienced in the late 18th century.
"We wanted the course to complement the site," Benkusky said. "Tight fairways and small greens would have looked out of place. We weren't going to trick up this golf course."
Indeed, there were no tricks needed to compose Canyata. The land's unique mix of pristine pastures, rocky ravines and soaring woods were all Benkusky needed to create a masterpiece on the central Plains of Clark County. The ravines come into play, for example, at the second hole, a 583-yard, par 5. A forced carry (of 170 yards from the back tees) makes this a difficult driving hole. The green on the second hole has a huge swale through the middle, reminiscent of the green of C.B. Macdonald's famed ninth hole at Yale Golf Club.
The 221-yard, par-3 third hole plays from one of the more picturesque spots on the golf course: high atop a hill overlooking the green, playing some 40 feet downhill and most often into a prevailing wind.
The seventh (360, par 4), eighth (234, par 3), 11th (480, par 4) and 16th holes (325, par 4) were each sculpted out of level pieces of farmland ï¿½ sharp contrasts to a hole such as the 247-yard, par 3, 12th hole that is all carry over a ravine covered in shrubs and fescues.
Actually, most people can't even see a world-class golf course on the property at all, despite the fact Canyata is only four miles off Interstate 70.
"Mr. Forsythe wanted to block off everything from around the property," Benkusky said. "We started building mounds (from the dirt dug to create the lakes) and kept building them higher and higher around the edges of the property."
Some of the mounds are 25 to 30 feet high, with several coming into play on the golf course, mostly to create corridors between the holes.
"From most of the holes you don't see another hole that might be next to you because were able to create those large mounds," Benkusky said. "We had so much room on the property we were able to spread out the fairways. We have corridors where there are two holes, whereas on other courses you might have four holes. We were able to spread out those holes with the use of the mounding to kind of recreate the land form."
...And in the process, create a masterpiece on the prairie.
Gerald Forsythe - Golf Course Owner, Developer
Gerald and Jean Forsythe are the founding benefactors of the Marshall Educational Trust Fund, which provides no-interest loans to students needing financial assistance. Mrs. Forsythe is an active community leader, participating in her church and charity organizations.
In addition to Canyata Golf Club, Mr. Forsythe also owns Ironhorse Golf Club, a public facility in Tuscola, Ill., 50 miles from Canyata.
Under Mr. Forsythe's leadership, the Indeck Group has grown into North America's largest supplier of emergency and back-up steam generating source and has expanded into designing and fabricating water treatment equipment and renting generator sets, chillers, and compressors.
Among Indeck Group's holdings is New Frontiers Capital, LLC, which specializes in sports, entertainment and recreation developments throughout North America. Those properties include the Mountain Grand Lodge and Spa & Avalanche Bay Indoor Waterpark in Boyne Falls, Mich., which offers four seasons of activities: snow sports, golf, spa, indoor and outdoor water recreation and convention services. Mountain Grand Lodge and Avalanche Bay are owned and operated by Boyne USA Resorts and New Frontiers Capital, LLC in partnership as Boyne Mountain Management, LLC and Boyne Mountain Recreation, LLC.
Michael Benkusky - Golf Course Architect
As Senior Project Architect for Lohmann Golf Designs, Michael Benkusky was the lead designer for Canyata Golf Club. In 2005 Benkusky founded his own golf course design company, Michael J. Benkusky, Inc., based in Crystal Lake, Ill.
A member of the American Society of Golf Course Architects since 1997, Benkusky was raised in suburban Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where he began his study of golf course architecture at an early age by working and playing on the Donald Ross-designed Cedar Rapids Country Club. In 1983, Benkusky entered Iowa State University to study Landscape Architecture with an emphasis in golf design.
Benkusky was a member of the Cyclones' golf team, which played its home matches at the Perry Maxwell-designed Veenker Memorial Golf Club. Upon graduation from ISU, Benkusky joined Lohmann Golf Designs, where he quickly rose to Senior Project Architect. He created more than 15 original designs and directed dozens of renovations, including courses originally laid out by such legends as Ross, Maxwell, Seth Raynor, Jack Nicklaus and Pete Dye.
Canyata Golf Club is the most significant achievement of Benkuskyï¿½s young career, a perfect example of his philosophy to conceive beautiful and challenging golf courses while preserving and enhancing their environment.
"I like to create wide fairways and wide landing areas so the average golfer can get the ball out there and into play," Benkusky said. "And it allows the better players a chance to set up the strategy as to what side of the fairway they want to hit in order to have the best approach to the green."
Canyata's fairways average more than 50 yards across. Its greens average more than 7,000 square feet, with contours and rolls that carry through the back.