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.
Sheltered within the picturesque expanse of the Lake County Forest Preserves, Countryside Golf Club gives players a choice between two courses that roll through scenic terrain certified as an Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary. Before taking to either course, golfers can tee off on the driving range, where 30 hitting stations are trimmed with natural turf and synthetic grass grown fresh each season from seedlings of recycled sneakers. The club’s Prairie course and Traditional course are each marked by unique terrain features and challenges. The Prairie course is the longer of the two and eschews trees for wispy shrubbery and open vistas. It demands both hearty drives and accurate approach shots to greens hugged by sand bunkers and unemployed yetis. Through slightly shorter, the Traditional course tasks players with striking precise tee shots from bentgrass tee boxes overlooking tree-lined fairways.
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.