Spotlight

Stonewall Orchard Golf Club

Field of dreams: Stonewall Orchard Golf Club springs from the cornfields in Grayslake, Ill.

For most golfers, it will take some planning and travel time to get to Stonewall Orchard. Good courses are worth the extra effort, however. Take the time, spend the day, enjoy the experience, and make up your own mind about that devious 18th hole. Dave Berner has more from Grayslake, Ill.
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Lick Creek Golf Course - hole 1

Licking your chops at Lick Creek Golf Course in Pekin, Ill.

If you plopped Lick Creek Golf Course into a major metropolitan area, it could be a hoity-toity private club. But be grateful that it is not, because the muni atmosphere only adds to the fun of this course located in Pekin, just outside Peoria.
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Indian Boundary Golf Course

Quickie golf rounds in Chicago: Perfect courses for golfers on the go in the Windy City

You can't call yourself a golfer if you haven't tried to sneak in a round between client calls. Thing is, there are a lot of cities that are not the best choices for conducting the art of what one might call "squeeze-in" golf. However, Chicago -- one of the nation's most active business-convention towns -- might be the best place in America for both sealing the deal AND sinking a putt. Here's your one, two, three strategy for getting it done.
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Illinois Golf Destinations

  • Chicago

    It's a special town that shares the love of Frank Sinatra, the Blues Brothers and Michael Jordan, but Chicago is just that: special. From Wrigley Field to the Lincoln Park Zoo to the Navy Pier, the Windy City offers something for the entire family. Golfers will have a blast in Chicago, with its abundance and diversity of public golf courses.

    Prairie Landing Golf Club has received acclaim ever since first opening in 1995, including a four-and-a-half-star rating from Golf Digest. This West Chicago course will make you feel as though you've been transported to a seaside links course in Ireland. The prairie-style layout closely follows the tradition of classic links golf courses. Robert Trent Jones II designed the course, fully utilizing the rolling terrain.
    ThunderHawk Golf Course covers a diverse terrain of mature forests, marshland, and prairie. Designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr. who made a commitment to preserving the natural terrain as much as possible, it was the first public course in Illinois to be certified by the Audubon Society.
    Tanna Farms Golf Club in Geneva offers some of the best golf that the Fox Valley has to offer. The layout meanders across prairies covered with wildflowers and weaves through lush wetlands.
  • Quad Cities

    Looking for a "sure bet" on a Midwest destination? You might want to roll the dice on The Quad Cities – Moline and Rock Island, Ill., and Davenport and Bettendorf, Iowa. Standout golf courses include the TPC at Deere Run, Emeis Municipal Golf Course, Byron Hills, Highland Park C.C., and Glynn's Creek.

    With a convenient location that is easily accessible from any of the quad cities, Indian Bluff is one of the premier golfing destinations for both eastern Iowa and western Illinois. The 18-hole golf course offers a challenging but fair round that players of all skill levels can enjoy.
    The 18-hole Kewanee Dunes in Kewanee, IL is a private golf course that opened in 1970. Designed by William J. Spear, Kewanee Dunes measures 6731 yards from the longest tees and has a slope rating of 120 and a 71.8 USGA rating. The course features 4 sets of tees for different skill levels.
    Fyre Lake Golf Club boasts the only Nicklaus Design golf course in the Quad Cities. Water, grass, and sand were seamlessly combined to create a diverse and challenging course. The layout features winding fairways that snake their way through mature hardwoods and the lush emerald greens contrast beautifully with the lakefront setting.
  • Southern Illinois

    Golfers itching for an early-season escape or an out-of-the-way vacation will find several other surprises in "down-state" Illinois. In addition to a 12-month golf season, the courses here have in common incredible value, and friendly Southern-style service you just won't find in and around big cities.

    The 18-hole Acorns Golf Links in Waterloo, IL is a public golf course that opened in 1997. Designed by William Ebeler, Acorns Golf Links measures 6701 yards from the longest tees and has a slope rating of 125 and a 72.3 USGA rating. The course features 5 sets of tees for different skill levels.
    The Orchards Golf Club in Belleville offers an 18-hole championship course designed by Belleville native and former Masters winner Bob Goalby. With four sets of tees, the course appeals to a wide range of skill levels. The golf course has an interesting and diverse mix of holes, with the seventh through the 14th being a particularly notable stretch.
    Far Oaks Golf Club in Caseyville has a unique layout with a front nine that is designed in a Scottish-links style and a back nine that plays through rolling woodlands. The links holes are framed with native prairie grasses and wildflowers while mature oak trees line the fairways on the back nine.
  • Bloomington-Normal

    Golfers in Bloomington-Normal are abnormally blessed with affordable, quality golf, along with a host of other entertainment options. You can't hardly swing a rusty sand wedge without hitting a great course at a great price. Standouts here include Weibring Golf Club, home of the Illinois State Redbirds; The Den at Fox Creek, probably the lowest priced Arnold Palmer design anywhere; Highland Park; Ironwood; and Prairie Vista.

    The 9-hole Links At Ireland Grove in Bloomington, IL is a public golf course that opened in 2005. Links At Ireland Grove measures 1590 yards from the longest tees.
    The 18-hole Den at Fox Creek in Bloomington, IL is a public golf course that opened in 1997. Designed by Arnold Palmer and Ed Seay, Den at Fox Creek measures 6926 yards from the longest tees and has a slope rating of 128 and a 72.
    The 18-hole El Paso Golf Club in El Paso, IL is a semi-private golf course that opened in 1920. Designed by William J. Spear, El Paso Golf Club measures 6052 yards from the longest tees and has a slope rating of 122 and a 70.
  • Galena

    Located on the banks of the Galena River, Galena boasts rolling hills, scenic roads, historic charm and a quaint, old-fashioned Main Street. The city also offers 10 beautiful golf courses within a 20-mile radius including the award-winning Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa and Galena Golf Club.

    Situated just outside of Galena, Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa offers three 18-hole championship courses and one nine-hole course that are nestled amongst rolling, wooded hills. The General, North, and South Courses are the championship layouts while the East Course is the nine-hole course. The East is not long at 2,648 yards but don't underestimate its level of difficulty.
    The 18-hole Lake Carroll Golf Course in Lanark, IL is a semi-private golf course. Lake Carroll Golf Course measures 6418 yards from the longest tees and has a slope rating of 126 and a 71.2 USGA rating. The course features 3 sets of tees for different skill levels.
    The 18-hole Galena Golf Club in Galena, IL is a semi-private golf course that opened in 1925. Galena Golf Club measures 6613 yards from the longest tees and has a slope rating of 128 and a 72.6 USGA rating. The course features 3 sets of tees for different skill levels.
  • St. Louis

    Sure, St. Louis is in Missouri, but this border city is close enough to Illinois that five southern Illinois counties make up the Metro East suburbs of St. Louis. Golfers have a lot to choose from here, including Emerald Greens Golf Course, Gateway National, and Stonewolf Golf Club, a Jack Nicklaus design.

    The 18-hole Acorns Golf Links in Waterloo, IL is a public golf course that opened in 1997. Designed by William Ebeler, Acorns Golf Links measures 6701 yards from the longest tees and has a slope rating of 125 and a 72.3 USGA rating. The course features 5 sets of tees for different skill levels.
    Gateway National Golf Club is the top public golf course in St. Louis. The course sprawls across gently rolling pasturelands crossed with ribbons of tall native grasses and sprinkled with mature cottonwood trees. There are also several sparkling lakes that dot the course, providing challenges on several holes.
    Lockhaven Country Club in Godfrey is situated on the bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River. The golf course sprawls across wooded hills that provide a scenic and secluded environment. It has a classic design that favors strategy over strength.
  • Peoria

    It speaks volumes about your city when it has become a metaphor for wholesome Americana. Just a few hours from Chicago, Peoria is full of small-town charm and Midwestern flavor packed into a suddenly bustling metropolis. Naturally, golfers have plenty of options here, including standouts Quail Meadows Golf Course and WeaverRidge G.C.

    The 18-hole Quail Meadows Golf Course in Washington, IL is a public golf course that opened in 1970. Quail Meadows Golf Course measures 6956 yards from the longest tees and has a slope rating of 124 and a 72.9 USGA rating. The course features 4 sets of tees for different skill levels.
    The 18-hole Lick Creek Golf Course in Pekin, IL is a public golf course that opened in 1976. Designed by Larry Packard, Lick Creek Golf Course measures 6909 yards from the longest tees and has a slope rating of 128 and a 72.
    The 18-hole Parkview Golf Course in Pekin, IL is a public golf course that opened in 1920. Designed by Fritz Woll, Parkview Golf Course measures 6002 yards from the longest tees and has a slope rating of 102 and a 66.4 USGA rating. The course features 2 sets of tees for different skill levels.
  • Springfield-Decatur

    Springfield, Illinois is where Abraham Lincoln made his name as a lawyer and politician, and it's where he lies at rest today. Not only does Springfield claim this most revered of native sons, it also boasts (along with nearby Decatur) a bevy of excellent public-access golf courses and lots to do off the course as well.

    Scovill Golf Course is the most visited Decatur Park District facility by out-of-town golfers. The target-style layout has often been called a shotmaker's course where you can triple bogey just as easily as you can get a birdie or an eagle.
    Red Tail Run Golf Club is situated on the south side of Decatur, Ill. The course stretches across open, gently rolling land where the bird that the club was named after, the Red Tail Hawk, circles freely overhead. Designed by PGA Hall of Famer Raymond Floyd, the golf course features large, undulating greens and wide, rolling fairways.
    Hickory Point Golf Course in Decatur is one of central Illinois' most popular courses. It has a player-friendly layout that appeals to a wide range of skill levels. The course features flat, wide fairways that make it ideal for beginners while the lengthy holes and blustery winds provide enough of a challenge for more advanced players.
  • Champaign-Urbana

    Champaign-Urbana or Urbana-Champaign? Locals just call it Chambana. Whatever you call it, bargain-priced yet quality golf courses abound. The University of Illinois Orange and Blue courses are home of the perennial Big 10 powerhouse men's team. Stone Creek in Urbana is the most expensive in the area, but also the best groomed. Other area standouts include Brookhill and Willow Pond in Rantoul; Lake of the Woods in Mahomet; RailSide in Gibson City; and Ironhorse in Tuscola.

    The 18-hole Turtle Run Golf Club in Danville, IL is a public golf course that opened in 1970. Designed by William J. Spear, Turtle Run Golf Club measures 6771 yards from the longest tees and has a slope rating of 127 and a 72.
    The 18-hole Willow Pond Golf Course in Rantoul, IL is a public golf course that opened in 1955. Designed by Brent Wadsworth, Willow Pond Golf Course measures 6826 yards from the longest tees and has a slope rating of 115 and a 71.
    The 9-hole Legends of Champaign in Champaign, IL is a public golf course that opened in 2008. Legends of Champaign measures 1489 yards from the longest tees. The course features 3 sets of tees for different skill levels.