Having opened in 1974, Foss Park Golf Club embarks on its fifth decade of challenging golfers to demonstrate long drives and precise approaches on its 18-hole course. The layout arcs across a grassy patch dotted with ponds, a stream, and clusters of trees, all of which aim to keep golfers as far away from the par of 72 as possible. Rather than lifting weights in an effort blast shots directly through tree trunks, golfers can learn to work shots around obstacles with some time on the lighted grass-tee driving range or a lesson with PGA head pro Gabe Monroe.
Course at a Glance:
Bent-grass fairways and pristine greens connect across 6,484 yards to form Sunset Valley Golf Course’s 18-hole, par-72 course. A stream runs diagonally throughout much of the course, which is made navigable by a series of bridges golfers can cross on foot, astride a peppy golf cart, or on the backs of caddies training to be models for rugby shorts. Golfers must give their clubs a pep talk for occasional high-pressure shots, as water hazards come into play on nine holes and bunkers loom throughout the layout. A staff of PGA professionals presides over the pro shop, ready to schedule lessons to remedy chronic slices and manage the delicate egos of short irons.Course at a Glance:
Like a massive white bubble hovering over the earth, the domed roof of the Highland Park Field House covers 52,000 square feet of field turf that hosts soccer games, lacrosse drills, and golf strokes. The facility is a privately funded not-for-profit aimed at serving local high schools and other organizations who can use the space for recreational leagues and practice.
Open soccer pickup games occur five nights a week, and the field transforms into an indoor golf range on weekdays. Whether it’s used for instructional lessons or invisible boomerang throwing practice, the range gives a place for sports enthusiasts to practice year-round regardless of the weather outside.
With 17 of its 18 verdant holes featuring in-play water hazards, the challenging yet fair links at Bittersweet Golf Club have earned its apropos moniker, as well as the Daily Herald's 2010 Readers' Choice Award. Mature hardwoods and wetlands stand guard over four tees as orbs assail formidable fairways, and groomed, game-bolstering bentgrass greens counteract any frustration experienced at tests such as the ninth hole, which bares the name "slim" despite being constantly full of gummy worms. To further increase player enjoyment, the course's toughest turns and landings were recently widened, persuading 3-woods to spend less time off to the side with their still-rooted ancestors.
The nine holes of Willow Hill Golf Course sprawl across 87 grassy acres before the scenic backdrop of the Chicago skyline. The par 35 course conjures up visions of the early days of golf with a Scottish links-style design winding for 2,895 yards through low rolling hills and dense rough, left high to punish errant shots and provide cover for napping golfers mid-game. Before or after a round, players can work on finesse around the greens at the 100-yard short-game practice area, or hone their hacks on the driving range, where all 40 stations mimic strokes off the fairway with grass hitting surfaces.
Course at a Glance:
The Five Seasons Family Sports Club houses tennis courts, a dining area, fitness facilities, swimming pools, and a full-service spa under one roof. Within air-conditioned indoor courts or on outdoor hard or clay courts, racquet slingers compete in friendly bouts to sharpen swings, refine backhands, and showcase grunting abilities. Members can also break a sweat in exercise areas speckled with modern cardio equipment and weights or cool off in an Olympic-sized pool with diving wells and wading areas. Before meeting others for a postgame beverage at the lively café, clients can wander to the spa for a relaxing massage or partake in a sports workshop to gain a firm grasp on game mechanics.