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 $14
Orchards Golf Club
Tee Times
Belleville $17
Crab Orchard Golf Club
Tee Times
Carterville $13
Twin Oaks Golf Club Greenville $11
Tee Times
Cahokia $16
Yorktown Golf Course
Tee Times
Belleville $7
Jackson Country Club
Tee Times
Murphysboro $22
Clinton Hill Golf Course
Tee Times
Belleville $15
Gateway National Golf Links
Tee Times
Madison $23.35
Salem Country Club
Tee Times
Salem $18
Lawrence County Country Club Lawrenceville $30
Far Oaks Golf Club
Tee Times
Caseyville $26.99
The Hills Golf Club at McKendree University Lebanon $18 - $30
Grand Marais Golf Course
Tee Times
Centreville $12
Fairfield Golf Club
Tee Times
Columbia $13
Governor's Run Golf Course
Tee Times
Carlyle $17
Greenview Golf Club
Tee Times
Centralia $15
Annbriar Golf Course
Tee Times
Waterloo $23
Stonewolf Golf Club
Tee Times
Fairview Heights $21.35
White Oak Golf Course at Marissa Recreation Area Marissa $25
Hickory Ridge Public Golf Center
Tee Times
Carbondale $21
Governor's Run Par-3 Golf Course
Tee Times
Carlyle $17
Indian Hills Golf Course Mount Vernon $22
Waterloo Country Club Waterloo $10
Sunset Hills Country Club Edwardsville $51
Lake of Egypt Country Club Marion $29.50
Indian Mounds Golf Club Fairmont City $12
Bridges Golf Club Columbia $16 - $27
Shawnee Hills Country Club Harrisburg $16
Elmwood Golf Course Belleville $11.00
Green Hills Golf Club Mount Vernon $30
Jansco's Stardust Golf & Country Club Johnston City $8
Mt. Carmel Municipal Golf Course Mount Carmel $15
North County Country Club Red Bud $9
Saint Clair Country Club Belleville $69
Roland Barkau Memorial Golf Course Okawville $32
Carlyle Lake Golf Club Carlyle $18
Egyptian Country Club Mounds $20 - $30
Chester Country Club Chester $10 - $15
Columbia Golf Club Columbia $16 - $27
Carmi Country Club Carmi $18
Triple Lakes Golf Course Millstadt $24 - $27
McLeansboro Golf Course McLeansboro $10
Nashville Golf Course Nashville $17
Benton Country Club Benton $20
East Fork Par-3 Golf Course Olney $8
South/East at Rend Lake Golf Course Whittington $48
Pyramid Oaks Golf Course Percy $15
Tamarack Country Club Shiloh $14 - $20
Kokopelli Golf Club Marion $29
Pine Lakes Golf Course Energy $15 - $25
Franklin County Country Club West Frankfort $40
Cedar Brooke Par 3 Golf Course Sumner $12
Red Hawk Country Club Tamaroa $18 - $28
Colonial Golf Course Sandoval $21
Union County Country Club Anna $15
Bent Oak Golf Course Breese $20
Arlington Greens Golf Course Granite City $25 - $31
River Lakes Golf Course Columbia $20
Cardinal Creek Golf Course Scott AFB $30
Sparta Country Club Sparta $10 - $15
Richland Country Club Olney $19 - $35
East/West at Rend Lake Golf Course Whittington $48
Flying M Ranch Golf Club Centralia $12
Keller's Crossing at Stone Creek Makanda TBA
Legacy Golf Course Granite City $18
Summertime Nine Golf Course Salem $10
Crooked Creek Golf Links Mt Vernon $20
Saline County Golf & Country Club Eldorado $22
Flora Golf & Country Club Flora $27
Metropolis Country Club Metropolis $30
Wayne County Golf Course Fairfield $30
West/South at Rend Lake Golf Course Whittington $48
Hardin County Golf Course Cave in Rock $5
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