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 $17
Acorns Golf Links
Tee Times
Waterloo $22
Clinton Hill Golf Course
Tee Times
Belleville $17
Far Oaks Golf Club
Tee Times
Caseyville $16
Stonewolf Golf Club
Tee Times
Fairview Heights $19
Gateway National Golf Links
Tee Times
Madison $19.5
Crab Orchard Golf Club
Tee Times
Carterville $19.5
Orchards Golf Club
Tee Times
Belleville $18
The Hills Golf Club at McKendree University
Tee Times
Lebanon $19
Grand Marais Golf Course
Tee Times
Centreville $25
Salem Country Club
Tee Times
Salem $22
Governor's Run Golf Course
Tee Times
Carlyle $26
Mt. Carmel Municipal Golf Course
Tee Times
Mount Carmel $20
Governor's Run Par-3 Golf Course
Tee Times
Carlyle $12
Hickory Ridge Public Golf Center
Tee Times
Carbondale $25
Stonebridge Golf Club
Tee Times
Maryville $22
Lawrence County Country Club
Tee Times
Lawrenceville $14
White Oak Golf Course at Marissa Recreation Area
Tee Times
Marissa $25
Indian Hills Golf Course
Tee Times
Mount Vernon $22
Annbriar Golf Course
Tee Times
Waterloo $28
Fairfield Golf Club
Tee Times
Columbia $26 - $31
Twin Oaks Golf Club
Tee Times
Greenville $12
Stone Creek Golf Club & Resort Makanda $25
Flora Golf & Country Club Flora $27
Triple Lakes Golf Course Millstadt $24 - $27
Saline County Golf & Country Club Eldorado $22
Fairfield Country Club Fairfield $25
Waterloo Country Club Waterloo $10
Sparta Country Club Sparta $28
Saint Clair Country Club Belleville $69
McLeansboro Golf Course McLeansboro $16
Egyptian Country Club Mounds $20 - $30
Midland Hills Golf Course Makanda $13
Carlyle Lake Golf Club Carlyle $18
Nashville Golf Course Nashville $17
Prairies Cahokia $30
Green Hills Golf Club Mount Vernon $30
Gambit Golf Club Vienna $25
Pine Lakes Golf Course Energy $32
Chester Country Club Chester $20
Shawnee Hills Country Club Harrisburg $25
Carmi Country Club Carmi $18
Bridges Golf Club Columbia $16 - $33
North County Country Club Red Bud $22
Richland Country Club Olney $19 - $35
Highland Country Club Highland $18
Tamarack Country Club O Fallon $15 - $20
Pyramid Oaks Golf Course Percy $15
Star Dust Golf Course Johnston City $26
Legacy Golf Course Granite City $18
Arlington Greens Golf Course Granite City $25 - $31
Indian Mounds Golf Club Fairmont City $12
Flying M Ranch Golf Club Centralia $12
Red Hawk Country Club Tamaroa $27
East/West at Rend Lake Golf Course Whittington $45
Meadow Woods Golf Course Centralia $13
Metropolis Country Club Metropolis $30
Summertime Nine Golf Course Salem $10
Greenview Golf Club Centralia $25
Lake of Egypt Country Club Marion $29.5
Columbia Golf Club Columbia $16 - $33
Bent Oak Golf Course Breese $20
Kokopelli Golf Club Marion $49
Franklin County Country Club West Frankfort $40
Elmwood Golf Course Belleville $11.00
East Fork Par-3 Golf Course Olney $6
Cardinal Creek Golf Course Scott AFB $30
West/South at Rend Lake Golf Course Whittington $45
Jackson Country Club Murphysboro $45
Yorktown Golf Complex Belleville $15 - $25
Roland Barkau Memorial Golf Course Okawville $29
Benton Country Club Benton $20
Crooked Creek Golf Links Mt Vernon $20
TTI Hardin Golf Club Cave in Rock $11
Union County Country Club Anna $25
South/East at Rend Lake Golf Course Whittington $45
Colonial Golf Course Sandoval $21
Cedar Brooke Par 3 Golf Course Sumner $8
River Lakes Golf Course Columbia $20
Sunset Hills Country Club Edwardsville $51
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