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
Mystic Oak Golf Course
Tee Times
Waterloo $15
Acorns Golf Links
Tee Times
Waterloo $24
Stonewolf Golf Club
Tee Times
Fairview Heights $31
Orchards Golf Club
Tee Times
Belleville $32
Gateway National Golf Links
Tee Times
Madison $27
Clinton Hill Golf Course
Tee Times
Belleville $18
Far Oaks Golf Club
Tee Times
Caseyville $18.99
The Hills Golf Club at McKendree University
Tee Times
Lebanon $14
Hickory Ridge Public Golf Center
Tee Times
Carbondale $16
Grand Marais Golf Course
Tee Times
Centreville $20
Tee Times
Cahokia $11
Governor's Run Golf Course
Tee Times
Carlyle $25
Governor's Run Par-3 Golf Course
Tee Times
Carlyle $12
Greenview Golf Club
Tee Times
Centralia $13
Fairfield Golf Club
Tee Times
Columbia $15
Jackson Country Club
Tee Times
Murphysboro $18
Salem Country Club
Tee Times
Salem $16
Crab Orchard Golf Club
Tee Times
Carterville $13
Yorktown Golf Course
Tee Times
Belleville $7
Indian Hills Golf Course
Tee Times
Mount Vernon $22
White Oak Golf Course at Marissa Recreation Area
Tee Times
Marissa $25
Annbriar Golf Course
Tee Times
Waterloo $15.95
Twin Oaks Golf Club
Tee Times
Greenville $11
Lawrence County Country Club
Tee Times
Lawrenceville $30
Crooked Creek Golf Links Mt Vernon $20
Meadow Woods Golf Course Centralia $13
Flora Golf & Country Club Flora $27
East Fork Par-3 Golf Course Olney $8
Elmwood Golf Course Belleville $11.00
East/West at Rend Lake Golf Course Whittington $45
Roland Barkau Memorial Golf Course Okawville $32
North County Country Club Red Bud $22
Red Hawk Country Club Tamaroa $27
Waterloo Country Club Waterloo $10
Flying M Ranch Golf Club Centralia $12
Wayne County Golf Course Fairfield $30
Green Hills Golf Club Mount Vernon $30
Mt. Carmel Municipal Golf Course Mount Carmel $15
Sunset Hills Country Club Edwardsville $51
Metropolis Country Club Metropolis $30
West/South at Rend Lake Golf Course Whittington $45
Union County Country Club Anna $15
Saint Clair Country Club Belleville $69
Pine Lakes Golf Course Energy $32
Jansco's Stardust Golf & Country Club Johnston City $8
Shawnee Hills Country Club Harrisburg $16
Bridges Golf Club Columbia $16 - $27
South/East at Rend Lake Golf Course Whittington $45
Chester Country Club Chester $20
Summertime Nine Golf Course Salem $10
Triple Lakes Golf Course Millstadt $24 - $27
Nashville Golf Course Nashville $17
Hardin County Golf Course Cave in Rock $5
Arlington Greens Golf Course Granite City $25 - $31
Midland Hills Golf Course Makanda $13
River Lakes Golf Course Columbia $20
Cardinal Creek Golf Course Scott AFB $30
Cedar Brooke Par 3 Golf Course Sumner $8
Saline County Golf & Country Club Eldorado $22
Bent Oak Golf Course Breese $20
McLeansboro Golf Course McLeansboro $10
Keller's Crossing at Stone Creek Makanda TBA
Sparta Country Club Sparta $28
Benton Country Club Benton $20
Lake of Egypt Country Club Marion $29.50
Tamarack Country Club Shiloh $14 - $20
Carlyle Lake Golf Club Carlyle $18
Gambit Golf Club Vienna $25
Kokopelli Golf Club Marion $29
Egyptian Country Club Mounds $20 - $30
Columbia Golf Club Columbia $16 - $27
Pyramid Oaks Golf Course Percy $15
Indian Mounds Golf Club Fairmont City $12
Colonial Golf Course Sandoval $21
Legacy Golf Course Granite City $18
Franklin County Country Club West Frankfort $40
Carmi Country Club Carmi $18
Richland Country Club Olney $19 - $35
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