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: * 18-hole, par-71 layout * Length of 6,581 yards from the farthest tees * Course rating of 71.3 from the farthest tees * Slope rating of 121 from the farthest tees * Three tee options * Scorecard
Lincoln Oaks Golf Course challenges long- and short-gamers who navigate its 6,186 yards of bentgrass fairways and relatively small greens. Built in 1927, Lincoln Oaks stood as one of four original courses at the Lincolnshire Country Club, resplendent with a layout designed by renowned course architect Tom Bendelow, who also lent his fairway-carving skills to all three courses at Medinah Country Club and his own immaculate backyard. Since then, it has gone public and undergone extensive renovations, including new cart paths and reshaped tees and fairways. The site of a PGA Tour event in the 1960s, the course has hosted U.S. Open Qualifying Tournaments throughout the years as well as multiple golf cart drag races. Before taking to the links, clubbers can spruce up swing mechanics at Lincoln Oaks' range and practice facility.
Located approximately 35 minutes from downtown, Lincoln Oaks is a convenient cruise away from the urban bustle. Upon completing their round, duffers can kick back in the comfort of Oaks Bar and Grill, where icy beverages, piping-hot pub fare, and three flat-screen televisions caddy your cravings for post-putting leisure time without badgering you about your botched lay-up.
Course at a Glance: * Designed by Tom Bendelow * 18-hole, par 71 course * Length of 6,186 yards from the farthest tees * Course rating of 69.0 from the farthest tees * Slope rating of 120 from the farthest tees * Three tee options * Link to scorecard
Founded in 1901 and given a facelift by prolific course architect Donald Ross two decades later, Ravisloe Country Club's 18-hole, par 70 course cleaves through tree-lines and sandtraps for a challenging, 6,321-yard layout. Golfers should spend extra time at the driving range or golf-cart-lifting area to prepare for the round: they'll face the course's most difficult hole at the second tee box. A 535-yard par-five, number two threads a narrow fairway through mounded rough, fairway bunkers, and trees. The same hazards pop up again throughout the layout, which also features water hazards on three holes.
The ancient course is not the only feature that speaks to Ravisloe's rich history. The Club's Spanish Mission-style architecture winds the clock back to the 1920s—when it was constructed—with stucco walls and a roof constructed of adobe shingles.
Designed in 1960 by John Ellis, the Tuckaway Golf Club course is located 40 miles from downtown and features 6,225 yards of greens, fairways, and sand traps. Though only one par 5 exists on the front nine, the back nine challenges players to make up for lost scoring opportunities with three par 5s and cups not covered with cellophane. Gently sloping fairways bob and weave through beautifully forested acreage, bending around majestic pines and stately oak trees and opening up onto small greens. Prior to tee times, players can practice their hacks on the driving range's 20 grass tees or work on greenside feel at the chipping and pitching green.
Course at a Glance: Par: 72 Length: 6,225 yards Rating: 69.7 Slope: 117