Like a massive white bubble hovering over the earth, the domed roof of the Highland Park Field House covers 52,000 square feet of field turf that hosts soccer games, lacrosse drills, and golf strokes. The facility is a privately funded not-for-profit aimed at serving local high schools and other organizations who can use the space for recreational leagues and practice.
Open soccer pickup games occur five nights a week, and the field transforms into an indoor golf range on weekdays. Whether it’s used for instructional lessons or invisible boomerang throwing practice, the range gives a place for sports enthusiasts to practice year-round regardless of the weather outside.
Bent-grass fairways and pristine greens connect across 6,484 yards to form Sunset Valley Golf Course’s 18-hole, par-72 course. A stream runs diagonally throughout much of the course, which is made navigable by a series of bridges golfers can cross on foot, astride a peppy golf cart, or on the backs of caddies training to be models for rugby shorts. Golfers must give their clubs a pep talk for occasional high-pressure shots, as water hazards come into play on nine holes and bunkers loom throughout the layout. A staff of PGA professionals presides over the pro shop, ready to schedule lessons to remedy chronic slices and manage the delicate egos of short irons.Course at a Glance:
The six-week Baseline tennis program at Five Seasons Family Sports Club infuses beginners ages 18 and older with a passion for the game through energetic weekly lessons. Racket rockers learn from a team of experienced pros at both the Northbrook and Burr Ridge locations, each boasting climate-controlled indoor courts and adventurous outdoor courts completely at the mercy of the climate. Students harness basic footwork, forehand, backhand, and behind-the-back no-look slam dunks in a group setting. Social events let fellow net apprentices compare notes throughout the course, including a welcome reception, a member-appreciation party, and a graduation mixer. Any student not born with rackets for arms—or who simply doesn't own one—can borrow one from the club. Classes are generally held Monday through Thursday and on Saturday, with morning, afternoon, and evening sessions available; students should call the club of their choice for complete scheduling information and sweatband fashion tips.
The nine holes of Willow Hill Golf Course sprawl across 87 grassy acres before the scenic backdrop of the Chicago skyline. The par 35 course conjures up visions of the early days of golf with a Scottish links-style design winding for 2,895 yards through low rolling hills and dense rough, left high to punish errant shots and provide cover for napping golfers mid-game. Before or after a round, players can work on finesse around the greens at the 100-yard short-game practice area, or hone their hacks on the driving range, where all 40 stations mimic strokes off the fairway with grass hitting surfaces.
Course at a Glance:
Old Orchard Country Club came into existence in 1932, when the Wickersham family purchased the land and began to manicure it. Over the decades, the club became such a community staple that the Prospect Heights Park District bought it in 1999, with a promise to provide the same level of country-club service to the general public. The park district's landscapers maintain the golf course's gently rolling, narrow fairways, which shoot and snake between trees and numerous traps. The course features lots of dangerous water, with hazards between the golfer and the hole on at least nine occasions. The ninth hole—a par 5—bends right around the forest, only to reveal a longer stretch of fairway hemmed in by triple water hazards leading to an equally narrow green. The 17th hole also presents a challenge, with the fairway bisected by a wide river, making the safest shot a long drive straight to the green, which sits framed by a pair of sand bunkers.
Course at a Glance:
Formerly known as the Frank Govern Memorial Golf Course, Evanston Wilmette Community Golf Course awakens the competitive spirit of golfers of all abilities with an 18-hole, par 60 executive layout. With a total distance of 4,000 yards, the fairway chain invites players to attack each hole from the tee box, as the bulk of the course's difficulty awaits in the form of challenging greens and scorecards that hypnotize anyone who attempts to read them. Trees also loom on the edges of most holes as the layout winds along the edge of the North Shore Channel. Requiring a considerably shorter playing time than its full-length counterparts, Evanston Wilmette's abridged links cater to workers squeezing in a quick, after-hours round or 9-irons trying to get in 18 before their date with a dashing pool cue.