Since becoming a pro instructor in 1988, PGA teaching professional Michael Camastro has fine-tuned the swings of aspiring aces in more than 25,000 lessons. When Michael encounters a new swing, he looks for subtle adjustments he can make to improve it without disrupting the natural style of the students' form. To help reveal problematic swing habits or the translucent souls of any loitering poltergeists, Michael uses slow-motion video swing analysis in all private lessons, one of many technological teaching aids he calls upon to enhance his diagnostic powers. With a staff that consists of two head instructors and three assistant aces, Michael Camastro Golf Academy spreads score-shaving tactics and techniques in private, group, and imaginary golf lessons.
Home of the Illinois Women's Open, Mistwood Golf Club's idyllic greens provide challenges and triumphs to golfers of all skill levels. Their dream team of talented instructors transform golfbabies into hotshot spheroid-swatters through dedicated instruction. The one-hour lesson (a $100 value) gives players the opportunity to solicit tips from professional tip-givers, who will spill the beans on links secrets such as ideal putting stances and automatic hole-in-one passwords. After stocking up on wisdom, students can hone their chops on an unlimited supply of range balls (a $20 value). In addition to the private lesson and golf balls, swingers can pair up with an instructor for a nine-hole playing lesson (a $180 value, green fees and cart rental included), where they'll together navigate the myriad bunkers and water hazards that pepper the course, before settling down to discuss the volatile price of Bitcoins at lunch (a $15 value).
Designed in a country-club style by PGA professional Gordon Cunningham, Woodbine Golf Course welcomes linkspeople with 6,020 yards of challenging tracts populated with bentgrass tees, fairways, and greens. The layout’s five ponds, natural-grass preservation areas, and clusters of grabby-branched trees have beckoned both low- and high-handicap golfers for nearly a quarter of a century. A contorted fairway and aquatic hazard make the 14th hole the course’s hardest, and the 4th hole ranks second hardest with a tricky dogleg left whose elbow hosts a sand bunker that lures distractible golfers with a siren song of sandcastles.
After games, golfers can retreat to Woodbine's clubhouse. At the Timber Restaurant and Bar, flat-screen TVs flicker above a long wooden bar, diners feast on pasta and pot roast, and a stone fireplace provides the ideal backdrop for tales about 9-irons that transformed into 10-irons with hard work and a little gumption.
Course at a Glance:
18-hole, par 70 course
Length of 6,020 yards
Two tee options
See the scorecard
Tucked away in the wooded enclave of Mokena, Willow Run Golf Course invites duffer duos to linger over its nine holes of mature, tree-lined fairways. Seated behind the wheel of an electronically powered golf steed, golfers can jet from hole to hole, making sure to pop a wheelie in greeting fellow linksmen to ensure proper etiquette. Putter in hand, pairs of golfers can descend on Willow Run's array of demanding holes, with variable yardages ranging from 120 to 520, and scheme their way around multiple sand pits and two ball-hungry water hazards. After taming the 2,930 yards of green-graced canvas and then repeating the 9-hole course to play a full 18, sated sportsmen and women can sashay over to the Willow Run lounge for post-game drinks or stick around for the pro shop's after-hours craft class for making personalized terra-cotta golf tees.
Who said golf was a rich man's game? We didn't. It was a filthy, lying cyber-bully. You know which one we're talking about, the one with perfectly quaffed hair, a button-less future shirt, and a smug grin taunting you—almost daring you—to challenge him to an enunciation contest (he has never lost). But don't be intimidated by the way his eyes twinkle under the Canadian moonlight or how he stands on water as if he were Moses, he's incredibly self-conscious of his inability to inflect.