Crafted with a plethora of sand bunkers, precisely placed mounds, and billowing grass, Golf Club of Illinois' classic 18-hole course challenges ball swatters of every skill level. The par 71 course lets links-loving quartets start by chipping away 9-irons at hole one and end plotting a course through the deceptively shallow green of hole 18. Cruise the Nugent- and Borland-designed playing field with a golf cart for each duo, providing easy travel between holes and quick getaways from the seventh hole's irascible wildebeest population.
Marengo Ridge's congenial director of instruction and the coach of more than 3,000 lessons, Greg Baresel prioritizes fun as well as golf fundamentals to develop consistent, powerful swings. Baresel's relaxed coaching style and custom improvement plans have helped to banish embarrassing bogies from the games and noses of beginner and professional athletes. After fleshing out goals, bodies and minds focus on the three graces of golf—grip, stance, and alignment—to lay a foundation for future par chasing. Finely tuned positions promote coordination and sidestep swing flaws, and budding kinesthesia fosters insight into correcting errant club paths or safely picking up bindles. Hone a newly acquired swing on the course's driving range ($5 for 50 balls; not included in this Groupon) or indoors in the event of weather.
Designed by famed golf-course architect Joseph L. Lee, Plum Tree National Golf Club delights par pursuers with a picturesque, 18-hole course intertwined with more than 200 acres of unspoiled McHenry County forestland. Host to numerous Illinois PGA events and national qualifying events, the verdant fairways challenge club swingers with 105 sand traps, demanding water obstacles, and distractingly seductive grass. More than 4,000 trees stand perched along the rolling terrain, and players can rely on well-kept fairways and greens thanks to a recently completed maintenance-and-drainage program that required no less than 17 hedge trimmers and one very large wet/dry vacuum cleaner.
The Golf Club at Waters Edge presents golfers of every stripe with a nine-hole layout that puts iron accuracy and short-game touch to the test. The Randy Wirkus design extends to 1,700 yards for a par of 33—an ideal setup for beginners who want to focus on fundamentals and ex-players who want a reason to sport their bygone golf fashions. After the round, golfers can unwind at the onsite restaurant, which offers a full-service bar, a Friday fish fry, and a pool table.
Sheltered within the picturesque expanse of the Lake County Forest Preserves, Countryside Golf Club gives players a choice between two courses that roll through scenic terrain certified as an Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary. Before taking to either course, golfers can tee off on the driving range, where 30 hitting stations are trimmed with natural turf and synthetic grass grown fresh each season from seedlings of recycled sneakers. The club’s Prairie course and Traditional course are each marked by unique terrain features and challenges. The Prairie course is the longer of the two and eschews trees for wispy shrubbery and open vistas. It demands both hearty drives and accurate approach shots to greens hugged by sand bunkers and unemployed yetis. Through slightly shorter, the Traditional course tasks players with striking precise tee shots from bentgrass tee boxes overlooking tree-lined fairways.
Staffed by experienced golfing professionals and computers who’ve sworn allegiance to the three laws of golfing robotics, GolfTEC’s motion sensors and high-speed cameras monitor swings and break down each individual’s form on a high-definition video display. Sensors chirp with approval whenever they detect the perfect stroke or an especially witty golfing joke. GolfTEC’s certified personal coaches will point out flaws and strengths while providing golfers with tips on how to permanently improve their game from tee to green.