The 2012 Ryder Cup will take place at Medinah Country Club later this month and folks traveling to Chicago for the event are in for a real treat -- and not just the golf. Chicago has so much to offer -- from its sites, sports, blues and food -- that you'll want to make a return trip. Where to begin? Dave Berner has some suggestions on what to do, see and where to stay in the Windy City.
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- Flying into Windy City gives golfers first-class options
Cantigny Golf is one of the premier courses in the Chicago area, but golfers have an awful time pronouncing its name. But playing the course is nothing like trying to pronounce it. Sure, the course is challenging, but the beauty of this 27-hole layout can easily erase any unease one might have with correctly articulating its name. The trio of nine-hole courses is nestled into a 500-acre park, teaming with gardens, old-growth trees and several lakes. Cantigny Golf is not just a golf course; it's a nature retreat.
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- Schaumburg Golf Club is a muni near Chicago that lives up to the hype
- A great clubhouse and good golf await at Bowes Creek Country Club near Chicago
Illinois Golf Destinations
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.