Sculpted into the rolling hills of western Illinois, Clinton Hill Golf Course’s undulating fairways flow into large, challenging greens across two distinct, nine-hole layouts. Mature arbors pepper the landscape, threatening the autonomy of airborne balls while providing scenic, shady plots in which golfers can pause to gawk at the layout’s lush greenery and herbivorous golf carts grazing on native grasses. A longer layout and a higher concentration of bunkers supply the bulk of the difficulty on the front nine, and water hazards await at seven holes on the course’s back nine, placing a high demand on confident swings and deft club selection. Those looking for new gear can peruse Clinton Hill’s pro shop, which peddles golfletic apparel and accessories from the game’s top brands. After a round of aggressive pin-hunting, players can retreat to Big Mama’s BBQ & Casual Dining, where guests can enjoy live sporting events on one of several TVs or revive sleepy golf bags with an icy beverage.
Stonebridge Golf Club challenges and entertains beginners and old pros alike with its picturesque rolling hills, changes in elevation, and tree-lined fairways. Before embarking on their 18-hole journey, players may practice on the expansive practice and chipping greens to perfect their wedgework, putts, and celebratory shimmies. Meticulously manicured bent-grass tees serve as launch pads for sky-bound balls, and verdant bermuda grass clings to the fairways. The par 72 course ensures golfers have a chance to employ every club in their arsenal, from the pitching wedge to the 3-wood to the rarely used Gatling driver. A golf cart helps players zoom from hole to hole with motorized grace and efficiency, rather than wasting precious minutes saddling, mounting, and cajoling surly bactrian golf camels. Although food and equipment are not covered by today's Groupon, Stonebridge is also home to a pro shop and Putter's Bar and Grill, making it easy for golfers and their bags to stay well-fed.
The Emerald Greens Golf Course is tucked away in the abounding woods and quiet, sun-drenched fields of North St. Louis County, allowing players to replace workaday worries with bent-grass greens and scenic vistas. The par 70 course is divided into distinctly different front and back nine's, with outward fairways cutting confounding doglegs through thick forest, and an inward route strewn with water hazards demanding precise tee shots and modest ransom to Poseidon. Four sets of tees make the course challenging for players of all abilities, from a first hole marked by a troublesome right-hand side to the 18th hole, a 506-yard par 5 bound by ponds on either side of its narrow fairway. As the 6,000-plus-yard course winds through the club's 365 acres of wilderness, golfers are often greeted by deer, fox, and feral golf carts flocking from the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers.
Staffed by experienced coaches 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 to get results. 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 through a detailed, diagnostic gameplan.
Designed by Scottish course architect Robert Foulis and sculpted into the dramatic hills of St. Louis in 1901, Normandie Golf Club’s 6,534-yard par 71 course artfully appropriates a links-style layout into the rolling topography of the Midwest. A pre-round warm-up session at Normandie’s driving range prepares swings for a daunting first hole: a 446-yard narrow par four whose treacherously tight tree lines have daunted slow-starting legends such as LPGA forebear Babe Didrikson Zaharias and renowned sausage enthusiast Babe Ruth. The rest of the round is characterized by elevated greens and tees connecting across the kempt tundra of bermuda-grass valleys, particularly on hole seven, a par 5 dogleg right, and hole 13, a par 56 hedge maze.
Winner of the Places to Play-4 Star Award from Golf Digest, Belk Park Golf Course presents challenging play across 234 acres of well-manicured grounds. Water in play on five holes and a fair number of doglegs make the course difficult for players who don't pay close attention to club selection, shot trajectory, and perfectly timed spitballs. On the 5th and 14th holes, fairways veer sharply around water hazards and reward errant shots with an unfavorable lie on the lake bottom.
Course at a Glance:
The rolling Missouri countryside serves as the backdrop for Eagle Springs Golf Course, where players test their swings across a 27-hole golf complex. A par 72 when played from the back tees, Eagle Springs' 18-hole course stretches across 6,549 yards of undulating fairways, tricky sand-trap placements, and relatively large, hard-to-read greens. Though it has a predominantly parkland-style layout, ponds come into play on five holes, keeping golfers on their toes and tempting underused caddies to dive after balls in hopes of earning respect. Eagle Springs' nine-hole, par 3 course invites golfers to hone their short-game skills across a 1,270-yard layout.
Views of the course abound from the Clubhouse Restaurant, which serves a full lunch and dinner menu. For golfers hoping to snag a bite at the turn, a snack bar provides fairway smoothies and snacks including danishes, muffins, hot dogs, and egg sandwiches.
Championship Course at a Glance: