Old Orchard Country Club came into existence in 1932, when the Wickersham family purchased the land and began to manicure it. Over the decades, the club became such a community staple that the Prospect Heights Park District bought it in 1999, with a promise to provide the same level of country-club service to the general public. The park district's landscapers maintain the golf course's gently rolling, narrow fairways, which shoot and snake between trees and numerous traps. The course features lots of dangerous water, with hazards between the golfer and the hole on at least nine occasions. The ninth hole—a par 5—bends right around the forest, only to reveal a longer stretch of fairway hemmed in by triple water hazards leading to an equally narrow green. The 17th hole also presents a challenge, with the fairway bisected by a wide river, making the safest shot a long drive straight to the green, which sits framed by a pair of sand bunkers.
Course at a Glance:
TourBound Golf Academy fosters score-shaving improvement for golfers of all abilities with the latest PGA Tour simulators and professional instructors. The immense screens of simulators line the walls, vividly bringing to life the verdant landscapes of 50 of the world's most famous courses. To allow for realistic play, the highly detailed simulator experience takes into account factors such as wind currents, ball spin, and excessively sweaty palms to inform the outcome of each swing. Offering a more hands-on kind of swing sprucing, the academy offers sessions with the TourBound robot, which can correct common swing imbalances, such as having too steep a backswing or failing to transfer body weight through the swing. The long arms of the robot physically guide hands through the proper motions, giving players a feel for the proper technique while making sarcastic remarks about human mortality.
For those looking for less structured practice, the academy also offers hitting bays that foster rote swing mechanics. Between time spent peering into the murky depths of their golf swing, guests can relax amid plush leather seats and spacious locker room.
With founder and artistic director Jorge Niedas at the helm, the professional dancers at Tango 21 teach bipeds how to execute skillful ballet and tango moves. A Buenos Aires native, Niedas picked up tango in local dance clubs before moving to Chicago as a ballet dancer with the Lyric Opera. Now, he and his team draw upon that dual background to infuse tango's twirls, steps, and dips with classical grace. Burgeoning ballet and tango dancers can pirouette in private classes, take group classes, or attend a drop-in class, as long as they drop in with grace.
Studio master Alex Stepul first made a name for himself as a boxing champion in Ukraine, and later added Vietnamese martial arts to his skill set and became a Viet Vo Dao winner, as well. During his time in the Soviet Army, Stepul further honed his combat abilities as a self-defense instructor, and today, he fuses his talents with more than 25 years of teaching experience and a Master’s degree in boxing to develop his student’s skills. Stepul’s co-instructor Val Patseyevsky, was also a nationally recognized Ukrainian boxing champion who expanded his repertoire to include related disciplines. And like Stepul, he also holds a degree from the National University of Physical Education and Sports of Ukraine, and has been teaching since the mid-70s. Together, Stepul and Patseyevsky helm classes in boxing, kickboxing, and Viet Vo Dao.
Dolphin Swim Club’s faculty of professional First Aid– and CPR-certified lifeguards help children aged 2 and older learn how to swim in a safe and encouraging environment. They lead lessons within a pool comfortably heated to 89 degrees, keeping class sizes small to ensure individual attention. After trainers assess each child’s ability, they’ll place them in one of nine levels, which they can progress through in accordance with their budding skills. Very young splashers might learn bubble blowing and breath control in Level A, while older and more experienced children in Level 7 might refine stroke mechanics, build up endurance, or learn how to properly evade pool-dwelling Venetian merchants.
Dolphin Swim Club stresses child safety above all other concerns. Its founder, Tyler Brewer, was a founding board member of the Swim For Life Foundation, which stresses the Safer 3—Safer Kids, Safer Water, and Safer Response—to prevent children from drowning.