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
Coyote Run Golf Course’s 18-hole course stretches across 6,478 yards of bentgrass fairways and greens, all manicured to country-club standards, hemmed by pristine waterways and native wetlands. A lighted driving range with both bluegrass and artificial hitting areas hosts practice sessions and pre-round pep talks to nervous 9-irons before players take to the first tee, where shaky swings may succumb to the pressure of an immediate forced carry. Rippling waters loom ominously on 11 holes, placing a high premium on course management, shrewd club selection, and bags that double as flotation devices. A coterie of 54 sand traps peppers the emerald landscape, further complicating course play as clubbers snatch pars and evade bogeys. Alongside the picturesque par 71 rests a three-hole practice course, where aspiring aces will likely find one of Coyote Run’s ace instructors divulging golf wisdom in a variety of lessons.
Coyote Run’s fully stocked pro shop sells apparel and equipment from the game’s top brands, and the onsite Wiley's Grill, open year-round, hosts post-round revelry with a social bar, as well as a newly appointed lodge with a 30-foot fireplace nestled under a rustic, timber ceiling. Golf-simulator sessions enable players to partake in rounds on famous golf courses throughout the year. An outdoor patio provides a sweeping view of the course and a keen vantage point for taking in sunsets.
Course at a Glance:
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.
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.
Cleaved through 66 acres of emerald forest, the course at Alsip Park District's Fountain Hills Golf Club challenges players to control their shots down narrow fairways and avoid the bounty of sand traps strewn throughout. Golfers navigate the Bob Lohmann–designed course aboard carts equipped with GPS navigation systems, which help determine a lie's distance to the green or how many strokes it would take to make par into a moon crater. On the first hole, golfers must split a narrow fairway from the tee and keep their golf balls away from the out-of-bounds regions that run alongside, where errant golf balls flaunt hedonistic lifestyles with lethargic naps in the rough.
The practice center at Fountain Hills encompasses a lighted driving range with 30 hitting stations and a short-game practice area with a putting and chipping green. On the range, swingers have the option of hitting off a synthetic mat or real grass.
Course at a Glance:
Fountain Hills Golf Club's rates fluctuate throughout the day and week.