Sportsman's is considered one of the best public golf complexes on the North Shore, with the redesigned and nationally recognized Classic 18; the East 9 full-length course with renovated bunkers; and a lighted, 30-stall Practice Range.
When Director Tony Youhanna and George Solomos founded Little Legends Soccer Academy in 2009, they found themselves filling a niche. At the time, the North Shore offered no quality soccer coaching for youngsters interested in the game. Their first session was a success, drawing thirty eager players, but it didn't prepare them for the popularity that was to come. Since that day, the academy has ballooned: more than 300 children ages 24 months to 8 years old are currently enrolled in its various programs.
Each clinic helps kids build soccer fundamentals such as foot skills, passing, and receiving in an environment that encourages fun and teamwork. Very young players—24 to 36 months—start off in the Born to Kick program, which couples soccer skills with mind-nurturing topics such as shapes, colors, and vocabulary. As children get older and their skills progress, they move into clinics aimed at more advanced techniques, eventually putting them to work in games. The academy's Space program—standing for speed, agility, core, and endurance—does away with the soccer ball altogether, focusing instead on exercises to improve footwork, speed, and balance.
Inside an open-floor gym stocked with treadmills, weights, and bikes, Body Empowered Fitness's personal trainers bolster clients' bods with custom workout regimes and specialized exercises. The gym's staff, including owner and NASM–certified corrective-exercise specialist Sylvia Knilans, constructs fitness plans that utilize Simultaneous Functional Training, a fusion of strength and stamina exercises, to slim figures and build muscle without radioactive spider bites. Trainers share their knowledge with up to four participants at various points throughout each workout and catalogue the day's progress for future exercise regimes.
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:
Since 1926, the 18-hole golf course at Mission Hills Country Club has withstood long drives and pin-seeking approaches as players pick their way through the undulating layout. The course stretches 6,180 yards across a 130-acre plot of land that incorporates a gently rushing stream, ponds on five holes, and plenty of foliage throughout. Once players hop the final pond on the 18th hole and victoriously spike their golf gloves, they can head to the outdoor patio at the Copper Lounge for post-round libations sandwiches, and snacks.
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.