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
Clinton Hill Golf Course
Tee Times
Belleville $18
Gateway National Golf Links
Tee Times
Madison $32
Acorns Golf Links
Tee Times
Waterloo $14 - $30
Far Oaks Golf Club
Tee Times
Caseyville $35
Orchards Golf Club
Tee Times
Belleville $32
Mystic Oak Golf Course
Tee Times
Waterloo $15
Stonewolf Golf Club
Tee Times
Fairview Heights $28.99
Tee Times
Cahokia $19
Hickory Ridge Public Golf Center
Tee Times
Carbondale $23
Crab Orchard Golf Club
Tee Times
Carterville $13
Grand Marais Golf Course
Tee Times
Centreville $20
The Hills Golf Club at McKendree University
Tee Times
Lebanon $17
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 $29
Jackson Country Club
Tee Times
Murphysboro $20
Fairfield Golf Club
Tee Times
Columbia $17
Salem Country Club
Tee Times
Salem $22
Annbriar Golf Course
Tee Times
Waterloo $36.65
Twin Oaks Golf Club
Tee Times
Greenville $11
Yorktown Golf Course
Tee Times
Belleville $7
Lawrence County Country Club
Tee Times
Lawrenceville $30
White Oak Golf Course at Marissa Recreation Area
Tee Times
Marissa $25
Indian Hills Golf Course
Tee Times
Mount Vernon $22
Hardin County Golf Course Cave in Rock $5
Union County Country Club Anna $15
Gambit Golf Club Vienna $25
Pine Lakes Golf Course Energy $32
Columbia Golf Club Columbia $16 - $27
Lake of Egypt Country Club Marion $29.50
Wayne County Golf Course Fairfield $30
Metropolis Country Club Metropolis $30
Richland Country Club Olney $19 - $35
East Fork Par-3 Golf Course Olney $8
Flying M Ranch Golf Club Centralia $12
River Lakes Golf Course Columbia $20
Chester Country Club Chester $20
Mt. Carmel Municipal Golf Course Mount Carmel $15
Nashville Golf Course Nashville $17
Jansco's Stardust Golf & Country Club Johnston City $8
East/West at Rend Lake Golf Course Whittington $45
McLeansboro Golf Course McLeansboro $10
Pyramid Oaks Golf Course Percy $15
Arlington Greens Golf Course Granite City $25 - $31
Sunset Hills Country Club Edwardsville $51
Carmi Country Club Carmi $18
Bent Oak Golf Course Breese $20
South/East at Rend Lake Golf Course Whittington $45
Meadow Woods Golf Course Centralia $13
Bridges Golf Club Columbia $16 - $27
Cardinal Creek Golf Course Scott AFB $30
Benton Country Club Benton $20
Midland Hills Golf Course Makanda $13
Red Hawk Country Club Tamaroa $27
Franklin County Country Club West Frankfort $40
Roland Barkau Memorial Golf Course Okawville $32
Waterloo Country Club Waterloo $10
North County Country Club Red Bud $22
Tamarack Country Club Shiloh $14 - $20
Green Hills Golf Club Mount Vernon $30
Crooked Creek Golf Links Mt Vernon $20
Sparta Country Club Sparta $28
Shawnee Hills Country Club Harrisburg $16
Saline County Golf & Country Club Eldorado $22
Triple Lakes Golf Course Millstadt $24 - $27
Saint Clair Country Club Belleville $69
Summertime Nine Golf Course Salem $10
Colonial Golf Course Sandoval $21
Cedar Brooke Par 3 Golf Course Sumner $8
Carlyle Lake Golf Club Carlyle $18
Kokopelli Golf Club Marion $29
Flora Golf & Country Club Flora $27
Egyptian Country Club Mounds $20 - $30
Elmwood Golf Course Belleville $11.00
West/South at Rend Lake Golf Course Whittington $45
Legacy Golf Course Granite City $18
Indian Mounds Golf Club Fairmont City $12
Keller's Crossing at Stone Creek Makanda TBA
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