At most driving ranges, players can smash golf balls off of tees to their heart's content, but are unable to prove the results of their hard work on an actual hole. Then again, most driving ranges don't have a staff as seasoned as the one found at Chicago Players Club in Grayslake. The 20-acre property has all the features of a typical driving range—20 grass hitting stations, 5 target greens, and 20 separate mats. The difference lies in the men overseeing the operation. PGA teaching professional Mike Mandakas is available daily by appointment, ready to dole out advice on everything from how to correct a problematic backswing to which clubs make the best back-scratchers. He's joined by a team of instructors, who lend their expertise to players willing to journey to the course, which is conveniently located at the corner of Route 120 and US-45.
Flying High Sports & Rec Center started out small, but after over 20 years of business, the family-friendly center now boasts more than 1,000 students and has grown into two facilities that house a wide variety of programs. Inside, the qualified instructors lead gymnastics, martial arts, and dancing for all ages, mentoring tykes as young as 18 months old. In the cheer program, youngsters learn choreography and tumbling moves, and in gymnastics courses, kids learn to execute eye-dazzling flips and to navigate balance beams and the uneven bars, depending on their skill level.
Flying High also hosts open-gym sessions and birthday parties. Additionally, two foam pits, a rock wall, four trampolines, and an inflatable obstacle course await those looking to burn off some energy or to network with potential lemonade-stand partners.
PGN Fun Center's two adventure-themed miniature-golf courses wind through several levels of tall hedges, boulders, waterfalls, castles, and caves. Rope bridges, slopes, and stairs lead putters along each course, which eventually meet at the fun center's main playhouse. Inside, flashing lights and sirens radiate from an arcade full of ticket-spewing skill-stoppers, skee-ball games, and classic video arcade consoles. A three-tiered indoor playground provides pintsize guests with several slides, tunnels, and ball pits to explore, and the onsite kitchen fires hot dogs, pizzas, and chicken wings to keep growling stomachs quieter than a miming church mouse. PGN Fun Center also hosts two levels of hitting stations on its outdoor driving range.