Blackhawk Trace Golf Club's 27-hole layout can accommodate players of almost any handicap—nearly every hole has four separate tee boxes. But it's also challenged some of the world's best golfers as the host course of three NGA Hooters Tours events and qualifiers for the LaSalle Bank Open, a Nationwide Tour Event. Anyone who plays the course from the tips will get a taste of true Tour golf without having to lick the fairways at Augusta National.
The complex is divided into three nines called the Island, Woodland, and Highland Courses. At the second tee box of the Island Golf Course, golfers will stare down a 611-yard par-five that ends in an elevated green. It makes the mammoth hole even longer than its billing in the scorecard. But the layout doesn't just test a golfer's ability to grip-and-rip: the course's signature attraction might be its 155-yard par three with a true island green, which will challenge golfers' confidence with the shorter sticks. As a part of the Club's massive renovation 10 years ago, all tees, greens, and fairways are comprised of slick bent-grass. Dashes of fescue grass provide an eye-catching texture to the terrain but become less appealing when they get entangled with your irons.
Before taking to the course, feel free to warm up at the Club's practice facility, anchored by a 46-station driving range with four multi-tiered target greens. The facility also encompasses two large putting greens and sandtraps for practicing both greenside and fairway sand shots.
With iridescent miniature golf courses in malls throughout North America, Glowgolf adds elements of phosphorescent fun to shopping sessions. Courses contain sights such as light-defying blush corals, incandescent animals, and lush foliage reminiscent of the glowing trees on Neptune. Each pass is good for three 18-hole games, giving golfers ample opportunity to get familiar with each hole's obstacles. Equipment is available on the spot, so players won't have to carry around personal clubs or seek out a bioluminescent caddie.
Golfer’s Paradise’s friendly golfing confines foster year-round golfing within the indoor hitting stalls of their AboutGolf simulators. Using real clubs, players pulverize orbs into an immense screen that utilizes 3-D graphics to vividly emulate the immaculate greenery, calculated topography, and yellow-brick cart paths of some of the world’s most famous courses. Golfers can trace powerful drives into the windswept, simulated stratosphere of St. Andrews Old Course or evade the treacherous water hazards at Michigan’s Robert Trent Jones–designed course, The Heather. Along with technology that ensures each shot travels in a realistic manner, the simulators boast advanced swing-tracking sensors that collect data and even offer advice to correct unsound swings.
A staff of PGA-certified instructors oversees Golfer's Paradise's two executive-style lounges, offering expert advice to help transform swing imbalances into trustworthy motions. Pupils benefit from the instructors' hard-won wisdom combined with the computer-generated feedback of the simulators, which reveals detailed results of the position of one's clubface at impact and the effects of sweaty-palm syndrome.
PGA Class A instructor Mike Erwin has a resumé that sparkles with such gems as time spent working with PGA professionals, as well as a quarter century spent teaching the fundamentals of golf. During each of his lessons, Erwin focuses on the three core components of the swing: grip, posture, and impact position, drilling students in basic skills to build consistent, top-notch performance on the course. Lessons infuse old-school fundamentals with sophisticated technology, recording sessions with 3-D K-Vest apparatuses or digital V1 swing analysis that allows pupils to monitor their posture and correct common mistakes such as improper positions that cause loss of power instead of hitting it with the club. In addition to mentoring players one-on-one, Erwin fosters early development of fair play and concentration with junior golf classes and hones driving distances with winter golf skill seminars.
Champion angler John Angel knows the best spots to find large schools of largemouth and smallmouth bass throughout the scenic waterways of Illinois, Wisconsin, and Indiana. During fishing trips, he escorts groups to these prime locales aboard his trusty 22-foot pro erNitro bass boat, fully loaded with poles and artificial lures for use. Excursions range from a half-day on the water up to multiple-day trips, complete with transportation, gas, lodging, and meals included.
Bloomingdale Park District's The Oasis Water Park welcomes splishers and splashers with three separate playscapes dedicated to aquatic fun. 'Cuda Cove devotes itself to exercise with its eight-lane competitive lap pool, and the one- and three-meter diving boards that launch human cannonballs or real cannonballs that just want to know what it's like to be a human child. More leisurely pool-goers can saunter over to Mango Bay, where they'll find a zero-depth entry pool complete with geysers, spilling buckets, and water slides that send guests careening into the pool below from heights of ten stories. Otter Island invites tiny fun-seekers to run wild in a safe playground complete with water cannons and pint-sized slides.
For more than 40 years, the Bloomingdale Park District has been creating safe and healthy spaces for active families and energetic children. The park district oversees more than 160 acres of open space, as well as 2,400 exercise and enrichment programs for children, seniors, and Dorian Grays in need of a new hobby. Its central hub, the 21,000-square-foot Johnson Recreation Center, teaches agile arts of gymnastics and dance while hosting the furious bouts of roundball on four basketball courts.