Suburban style golfing in the country
GIBSON CITY, IL -- You don't have to travel to the larger suburban communities to enjoy championship golf. The small farm community of Gibson City offers a golf experience that you might expect to find at a metro country club. Railside Golf Club is a privately owned-open to the public-golf facility located in the heart of Central Illinois between Champaign-Urbana and Bloomington-Normal.
The layout features an 18-hole Championship course with bent grass fairways, a large practice facility with three practice greens, and a 20-station bent grass driving range this is constantly in use. The clubhouse is equally impressive, and includes a pro shop, restaurant, a 200-seat banquet facility, and a lounge that is a perfect place to unwind after a day on the links.
The club is always busy, hosting everything from junior tournaments to corporate outings. The picturesque country surroundings make this an ideal getaway for family or business group outing. The club is able to handle both small and large groups. You can choose package deals that include golf and dinner or golf only events. Groups from 10 to 180 can unwind after a day of golf in the banquet room. The banquet room can be rented for an unbelievably low rental fee of $100 during the week and $150 on Saturday. The venue features everything from dance floors, linens, podiums, and a stage can all be added to meet your group needs.
The club may look like it was moved from the suburbs and planted squarely in a Central Illinois cornfield, but it is different from any club that you would find in the Chicagoland area. The price tag is the most glaring difference. You can expect to pay just a little over $30 for 18 holes with a cart that is equipped with a very modern GPS system.
If you're looking for the best deal in Central Illinois golf, you won't need to look any further than Mondays at Railside. Play all day with a cart with GPS for only $26.
Local golfers invade this course by the truckloads throughout the playing season, enjoying the great golf and well-equipped facilities. The popularity of this course can cause carts to back up from time to time, but the slower pace should not be a deterrent.
Hole No. 1 will give you a little confidence if you don't try to do anything fancy off of the tee. A fairway wood played left is a good move, setting up a short iron to the green on this short 368-yard par 4.
A birdie start is very realistic if you can get the putter going on this hole. No. 3 may not look difficult when you step out of the cart, but this length 185-yard hole can be quite tricky. You'll need to stay left, as a lake lurks just feet from the green on the right side of the hole. Par is a very good score for even the best of players on this par 3.
Length off the tee is the key for No. 6. At 599-yards, this par 5 not only brings the wind into play, it also is well bunkered. If your drive lands deep enough to clear the bunkers, you'll want to stay right on your second shot to avoid even more bunkers. You can get on in three if you stay on the playing surface and out of the moderate rough.
You'll close out the front nine with a 495-yard par 5 that is reachable in three if you have control off of the tee. By staying left, you'll have a shorter and more direct route to the green. A great second shot could set you up for an eagle, but many players find themselves pitching on in three. The green is fairly easy to read, with very little slope, making it a reasonable putting hole.
No. 13 plays on 313 yards from the back tee, but his par 4 is one of the more difficult holes on the course. Club selection off of the tee is very important when playing this hole. The best shot might be playing an iron or taking a medium swing with one of your fairway woods to get yourself in position to pitch onto the peanut shaped green that will make you earn your par.
You'll want to keep your driver handy as you prepare for the last few holes at Railside. The unique finishing stretch includes a lengthy 598-yard par 5 at No. 16, a 170-yard par 3 breather on No. 17, and another monstrous 583-yard par 5 to close out your round on No. 18.
Where to Stay
1900 Center Dr
Champaign, IL 61820
905 W Anthony Dr
Champaign, IL 61821
1707 W. Market Street
Bloomington, IL 61701
Take the IL-47 exit- exit number 172- toward GIBSON CITY/MAHOMET. Take the ramp toward GIBSON CITY. Turn RIGHT onto IL-47 N for 18 miles. Turn RIGHT onto IL-47/IL-9. Continue to follow IL-47 for 1.6 miles. Turn RIGHT onto W 19TH ST for ¼ of mile until you reach the club.
November 5, 2002