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.
Since 1976, Riedy's Tee Time Golf Range's PGA professional instructors have helped people shave strokes from their games on an outdoor driving range. Ultramodern mats anchor golfers as they grace Riedy?s well-manicured grass tees with golf balls plucked from a bucket or the throat pouch of a pelican. Always onsite, Reidy?s instructors can aid players in achieving the ideal arch for their swing or understanding the basics of swing mechanics during personalized lessons.
Of the 58 acres that make up River Bend Golf Course, nearly 10% lie within federally protected wetlands, which course architect William J. Spears incorporated into eight of the course's nine holes. When water isn't a concern, the par 36 course and its bent-grass tees, greens, and fairways challenge players to make decisions involving course management, club selection, and which divot to bring in to the office for show-and-tell.
As the cartoon mascot for Miner Mike's Adventure Golf, Miner Mike has a pretty good gig, as far as the mining industry goes. Rather than scrounging precious minerals from underground tunnels, Miner Mike spends his days in the sun on an 18-hole mini-golf course that blends natural beauty with man-made accents. Packing this range of scenery into a small area, the course winds through whimsically designed greens landscaped with rocks and logs, as well as a waterfall, a waterwheel, and an old mining cart affixed to a track. Before or after rounds, players can replenish at a concession stand that serves hot pretzels, nachos, pizza, and ice cream to cool down especially hot putters.
Golfsmith's online and in-store showrooms house an almost endless list of golf gear for men, women, and children alike. Clubs, balls, and accessories from brands such as TaylorMade, MacGregor, and Callaway give players precise control over their game, and polos and long-sleeved shirts from Nike and Snake Eyes garb players in course-appropriate attire now that tuxedo T-shirts no longer qualify. Along with the extensive collection of equipment and golf bags, Golfsmith also carries GPS systems to give players a high-tech edge.
Although there are 26 other greens, one parcel of bentgrass stands out at Hilton Chicago/Indian Lakes Resort’s golf complex. It is a true island green that is approachable only by bridge or conveniently placed hovercraft. This is one of many spectacular course details that populate Blackhawk Trace Golf Club’s three 9-hole courses, each of which comes in at more than 3,400 yards and challenges golfers to a par 36. Renowned golf-course architect Rick Jacobson extensively renovated the links in 2002, and rather than cover blades of grass in mascara and call it a makeover, he decided to transform the 1960s-era bunkers into dramatically sloping sand traps and install four tee options at nearly every hole. Jacobson also switched the greens, tees, and fairways to bentgrass and incorporated fescue grasses to add texture and flavor for grazing golf carts.
Before conquering the courses, players can stretch out swings at the club’s extensive practice facilities, which include 46 all-grass hitting stations, two large putting greens, and practice bunkers. Golfers looking for guidance or a professional friend can employ the talents of onsite PGA instructors for lessons. After a long day of strutting after putts, players can head to the Masters Clubhouse to refuel with sandwiches and flatbreads.
Course at a Glance: