Holy shit, it’s already the Fourth of July.
America’s impending three-day birthday party, paired with some (finally) beautiful weather in Chicago, make this weekend an ideal one to log some hours on the golf course.
And even if you’re busy this weekend with family things, lake house activities, or you’re just too lazy – the weather seems poised to take a turn for the better and permanently stay, well, summer-worthy.
Ergo, don’t worry if you can’t hit the links this weekend. There are at least two more months to get a farmer’s tan and work on that handicap. Cities like Chicago don’t exactly have room for (many) golf courses, but there are plenty of gems within driving distance.
We’ll add courses as summer wages on, but for now – here’s our starting lineup broken down by region. Feel free to drop any additions in the comments or at firstname.lastname@example.org – but for now, hit ’em straight.
Actually “In” The City
Anyone who’s played Harborside—either the Starboard or Port course—knows how truly breathtaking a golf experience it can be.
Harborside is as much about the golf as it is about the view you get while golfing, making it the ideal place to shoot 18 or 36 and snag a sweet Instagram in the Chicagoland area.
It’s not overly expensive either. A late-afternoon 18 during the week will only run you around $50 with cart, which works well if you want to impress a female golfer. Just make sure to hit it big off the tee.
Home of the Bartend Chicago Invitational, the Six Thirty crew got a taste of this course first hand until none of us could really stand by the 14th.
But seriously, this is a real solid public course located on the south end of Jackson Park right along the harbor. It’s wide open and maintained to perfection for being a park district course.
It’s also conducive to the novice/somewhat skilled golfer. Playing at only 5,500 yards, it’s a perfect course to kick back with a few brews.
This municipal course tucked between Lake Shore Drive and the lakefront offers unmatched views, but you get what you pay for. It’s a municipal course that’s got some wear and tear, although it’s significantly better than it used to be.
Also, if you’re lucky enough, it won’t take you a solid three-and-a-half hours to play the nine-hole course. Sydney Marovitz is the course you go to if you don’t have the means to venture out of the city, or if you’re wildly hungover and are looking for an excuse for fresh air on a Sunday afternoon.
It’s a hike, but outside of Harborside there’s no more picturesque golf course in the greater Chicagoland area than Stonewall Orchard.
To put simply, playing Stonewall Orchard is like playing a country club course for a public course price. It’s 7,124-yards long and manicured with over 65,000 trees and bushes.
Situated in Grayslake, Stonewall Orchard was made by professionals and respected by professionals.
The Glen Club
This Kemper Sports-run course is one of my favorite courses in the area (Probably because I got to play it for free as an employee).
In short, The Glen Club is an awesome course that’s very well kept. Located just off 94 W in Glenview, it’s basically the perfect balance of style and challenge. If you’re not playing well it’ll kill you – but a nice smooth swing should net you a score you can bring back to mom.
Pine Meadow Golf Club is nestled in nearby Mundelein, IL and has one of the best practice facilities in the area.
“The Pine” (I just made that up) is known most for its quaint, natural feel that houses an abundance of wildlife. But don’t worry, there aren’t any geese that will shit on your pretty new golf shoes or make the greens tougher than they already are.
I assure you, head to Pine Meadow if you want a challenge in a very relaxing setting.
I haven’t personally played Orchard Valley out in Aurora, but we’ll defer to good friend of the site and former collegiate golfer Chris Garcia (Millikin):
A good, beautiful, golf course. Maintained fairly well, not like a country club but better than your normal public course. Greens and fairways are in great condition despite getting a ton of play.
I would recommend it to anyone looking for a stressless day on the course.
Perhaps the most famous course on this list because it used to host The BMW Championship/Western Open, Cog Hill is a quick drive away in Lemont, Illinois.
You may even catch a glimpse of Scott Darling getting some work in on their top-notch driving range. Just kidding, he’s likely busy partying as a Stanley Cup champion.
If you do have a chance to play any one of Cog Hill’s four courses we highly suggest you do so. But if you’re going to play Dubsdread, I suggest you bring dad and his credit card.
Bolingbrook Golf Club
The Brook, as I like to call it, is a course that holds a special place in my heart. I mean, I worked there for three-plus years and have played it some 100 times. It’s long and meant to punish those who don’t hit it long off the tee.
Not to mention, you aren’t provided the luxury of tree cover, so windy days can become an absolute nightmare.
Bolingbrook is a little pricey, coming in around $110 per round with a cart—which you’ll want because the 7,100-yard course plays closer to 7,300 on a bad day.
It is home to this, though.
For our final golf course, you’re heading south to Homewood, IL and playing Ravisloe Country Club. Ravisloe flys under the radar compared to the northern courses, but 2014 had this gem ranked No. 6 of best courses you can play in Illinois.
It also has a very interesting name that reminds me of Ravenclaw from Harry Potter.