Golf with friends is the best kind of bonding. There's nothing like being out in the open air, hearing the wind blow through the beautiful old trees lining the fairways, and refusing to grant your compadres a mulligan. The satisfaction of a well-played hole is amplified by the amusement you get from your partner's three-shot spectacle in the woodsy rough. Today's Groupon gets you and a friend 18 holes with cart at River Oaks Golf Course for $40 (up to a $88 value, depending on the day you go). Your Groupon is good for any time Monday through Friday and after noon on weekends.
The 10 golf courses that comprise Forest Preserve Golf guide players on a tee-to-green tour of the greater Chicagoland area, offering an insightful glimpse into the city’s culture and history. Burnham Woods, for example, takes its name from the legendary architect and urban planner Daniel Burnham, credited with designing the city’s structural layout and its manmade river of mustard. The Chick Evans course is named after the first player to win both the US Open and US Amateur, who would later go on to found the popular Evans Scholarship for caddies. With each course densely forested, golfers walk among the area’s natural wonders, as the Highland Woods course perches upon the highest point in Cook County and the Little Calumet River winds through the River Oaks course. With the exception of the 9-hole Billy Caldwell and Meadowlark courses, all are full-length 18-hole tracks.
The Meadows Golf Club of Blue Island's 18-hole course winds over a 6,581 layout that showcases the inventive mind of course architect J. Porter Gibson. From the double doglegs on holes 10 and 15 to the back-to-back forced carries over water hazards golfers must face on 13 and 14, the layout enchants and challenges golfers without forcing them to read the Petrarchan sonnets a lonely flagstick wrote for a comely sand trap. Golfers can prepare for rounds at the club's on-site driving range and enhance their bag of trick sticks at the golf shop with gear from top golf brands such as Titleist, FootJoy, and Cleveland.
Course at a Glance:
Each alley offers easy scoring, optional bumper lanes, and high-octane levels of pin-smashing jubilance to bowlers of all ages. Corral three friends or a trio of mirrors for a two-hour session of strikes, turkeys, and attempts to defraud the automatic-scoring system. Wanderlusting feet can walk a mile in someone else’s more flamboyantly decorated kicks with a shoe rental, and hole-pinched fingers can cool their prints in a pitcher of soda or domestic beer. Each bowling alley offers league play for competitively minded rollers, along with snacks and special events for the more casual ball-heaver.
Castaways Bowl caters to its clients with 32 lanes, a full-service eatery, billiards, and other games while retaining the same family-run charm it’s had since 1950. They host competitive bowling tournaments as well as bowling programs that teach the game to children as young as 2, before they can develop the ability to feel empathy for maltreated pins. To fuel further pin-pummeling exploits, Windy City Pizza—an on-site eatery—cooks up a hefty menu of chicken, pasta, and pizza for famished bowlers.
FansEdge bestows sports enthusiasts with a selection of more than 1 million officially licensed NCAA, NFL, NBA, and NFL products to proclaim team loyalty. Cubs fans can brandish a personalized jersey ($99.99), and time-displaced youth can bask in the familiar glow of a Baltimore Colts Johnny Unitas T-shirt, emblazoned with an original logo ($21.99). Bulls fanatics can enshrine their laptops in bold Chicago colors inside a 15-inch laptop sleeve ($39.99) or seat a workplace mouse atop a Bulls graphic mouse pad ($9.99). Not content to outfit people and electronics alone, FansEdge also carries a selection of mantelpiece collectibles, including signed football helmets and the costumes of retired mascots.