Destination Guide

Destination: Southern Illinois

Way down at the southern tip of Illinois, you might be surprised to be offered grits with your meal. You might also be surprised to find that, in any given year, golf is being played year-round. Golfers itching for an early-season escape or an out-of-the-way vacation will find several other surprises in "down-state" Illinois.

First on the list of surprises is a list of close to 25 wineries. Blue Sky Vineyard and Winery in Makanda is so lovely, you might think you're in Napa Valley (try the sangria!).

Next on the list is some unexpectedly fine dining. One of the best is Christophe's at The Gambit in Vienna. An option here for groups of six to eight is reserving the Chef's Table, where for about $100 per person you enjoy a seven-course meal with seven different specially paired wines.

Opportunities for hiking, biking, hunting, camping, and fishing abound in and around Shawnee National Forest, Giant City State Park and Cave-in Rock State Park (where the movie "How the West Was Won" was filmed). The Cache River is excellent for canoeing.

Antique stores are plentiful, and the largest collection of them is in Benton Square in Benton. Makanda is home to a small but vibrant artist colony. The Southern Illinois Miners minor league baseball team, whose excellent stadium is in Marion, has been a boon to the local economy. In Carbondale, the Southern Illinois University Salukis are also a perennial powerhouse in NCAA Division I basketball and baseball, and Division II football. At the very southern tip of the state, you'll find Metropolis, home of both Superman and Harrah's Metropolis riverboat casino and hotel.

Golf courses include Hickory Ridge Golf Center, Stone Creek Golf Club in Makanda, Kokopelli Golf Club in Marion, Crab Orchard Golf Club in Carterville, and The Gambit Golf Club in Vienna.

These golf courses have in common incredible value, and friendly Southern-style service you just won't find at most courses in and around big cities. For these reasons, golfers are beginning to flock to the area from not only nearby St. Louis, but also Indianapolis and Chicago.

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Course City Rates from
Course City Rates from
Far Oaks Golf Club
Tee Times
Caseyville $21.99
Orchards Golf Club
Tee Times
Belleville $32
Gateway National Golf Links
Tee Times
Madison $22.5
Mystic Oak Golf Course
Tee Times
Waterloo $15
Acorns Golf Links
Tee Times
Waterloo $15
Stonewolf Golf Club
Tee Times
Fairview Heights $19
Clinton Hill Golf Course
Tee Times
Belleville $13
Grand Marais Golf Course
Tee Times
Centreville $20
Fairfield Golf Club
Tee Times
Columbia $12
Hickory Ridge Public Golf Center
Tee Times
Carbondale $13
Governor's Run Golf Course
Tee Times
Carlyle $13
The Hills Golf Club at McKendree University
Tee Times
Lebanon $10
Mt. Carmel Municipal Golf Course
Tee Times
Mount Carmel $11
Salem Country Club
Tee Times
Salem $12
Crab Orchard Golf Club
Tee Times
Carterville $13
Governor's Run Par-3 Golf Course
Tee Times
Carlyle $12
White Oak Golf Course at Marissa Recreation Area
Tee Times
Marissa $25
Lawrence County Country Club
Tee Times
Lawrenceville $30
Annbriar Golf Course
Tee Times
Waterloo $22
Twin Oaks Golf Club
Tee Times
Greenville $15
Indian Hills Golf Course
Tee Times
Mount Vernon $22
Egyptian Country Club Mounds $20 - $30
Legacy Golf Course Granite City $18
Carlyle Lake Golf Club Carlyle $18
East/West at Rend Lake Golf Course Whittington $45
Red Hawk Country Club Tamaroa $27
Shawnee Hills Country Club Harrisburg $25
Nashville Golf Course Nashville $17
Midland Hills Golf Course Makanda $13
Green Hills Golf Club Mount Vernon $30
Kokopelli Golf Club Marion $49
Prairies Cahokia $30
Elmwood Golf Course Belleville $11.00
Franklin County Country Club West Frankfort $40
TTI Hardin Golf Club Cave in Rock $11
Star Dust Golf Course Johnston City $26
Stone Creek Golf Club & Resort Makanda $25
Waterloo Country Club Waterloo $10
Richland Country Club Olney $19 - $35
McLeansboro Golf Course McLeansboro $16
Pyramid Oaks Golf Course Percy $15
Sparta Country Club Sparta $28
Jackson Country Club Murphysboro $25 - $38
Saint Clair Country Club Belleville $69
East Fork Par-3 Golf Course Olney $6
Carmi Country Club Carmi $18
Tamarack Country Club O Fallon $15 - $20
Colonial Golf Course Sandoval $21
Meadow Woods Golf Course Centralia $13
Arlington Greens Golf Course Granite City $25 - $31
Benton Country Club Benton $20
Triple Lakes Golf Course Millstadt $24 - $27
Flying M Ranch Golf Club Centralia $12
Yorktown Golf Complex Belleville $15 - $25
Summertime Nine Golf Course Salem $10
Wayne County Golf Course Fairfield $30
Crooked Creek Golf Links Mt Vernon $20
Greenview Golf Club Centralia $25
Gambit Golf Club Vienna $25
Sunset Hills Country Club Edwardsville $51
Chester Country Club Chester $20
Cedar Brooke Par 3 Golf Course Sumner $8
Pine Lakes Golf Course Energy $32
West/South at Rend Lake Golf Course Whittington $45
Highland Country Club Highland $18
Bridges Golf Club Columbia $16 - $33
River Lakes Golf Course Columbia $20
Cardinal Creek Golf Course Scott AFB $30
South/East at Rend Lake Golf Course Whittington $45
Union County Country Club Anna $25
Flora Golf & Country Club Flora $27
Columbia Golf Club Columbia $16 - $33
Saline County Golf & Country Club Eldorado $22
Metropolis Country Club Metropolis $30
North County Country Club Red Bud $22
Lake of Egypt Country Club Marion $29.5
Indian Mounds Golf Club Fairmont City $12
Bent Oak Golf Course Breese $20
Stonebridge Golf Club Maryville $25
Roland Barkau Memorial Golf Course Okawville $29
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