Some consider golf a slow sport, perhaps even antiquated. But Golf Nation brings the traditional pastime into the modern age with the most contemporary technology and tools, including true-roll indoor putting and chipping greens. Golfers can also read up on the latest golf-training materials, perfect their game at true-roll indoor putting greens and multiple chipping short game areas; an indoor bunker area made of real sand ideal for green and fairway side shots; or they can venture outside for driving-range practice from heated bays.
With 25,000 square feet of space, Golf Nation also houses a fitness club stocked with quality cardio equipment and extra space for group yoga and spin classes. A café and lounge claims the remainder of the space, brimming with the aromas of healthy food and sound of convivial chatter.
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:
The 10 golf courses that comprise Forest Preserve Golf guide players on a tee-to-green tour of the greater Chicagoland area, offering an insightful glimpse into the city’s culture and history. Burnham Woods, for example, takes its name from the legendary architect and urban planner Daniel Burnham, credited with designing the city’s structural layout and its manmade river of mustard. The Chick Evans course is named after the first player to win both the US Open and US Amateur, who would later go on to found the popular Evans Scholarship for caddies. With each course densely forested, golfers walk among the area’s natural wonders, as the Highland Woods course perches upon the highest point in Cook County and the Little Calumet River winds through the River Oaks course. With the exception of the 9-hole Billy Caldwell and Meadowlark courses, all are full-length 18-hole tracks.
Staffed by experienced golfing professionals and computers who’ve sworn allegiance to the three laws of golfing robotics, GolfTEC’s motion sensors and high-speed cameras monitor swings and break down each individual’s form on a high-definition video display. Sensors chirp with approval whenever they detect the perfect stroke or an especially witty golfing joke. GolfTEC’s certified personal coaches will point out flaws and strengths while providing golfers with tips on how to permanently improve their game from tee to green.
Mature timbers and ponds surround the emerald corridors of Salt Creek Golf Club's executive course as the layout weaves across 3,985 yards of well-maintained terrain. Throughout the par 63 layout, nine par 3s nurture players' relationships with their mid- and short-irons, and nine par 4s—including a 381-yarder that measures as the course's longest hole—ensure that drivers and 3-woods don't file negligence suits. The course presents memorable shots in its scaled-down layout, such as the harrowing approach into an island green that awaits at the Blue Course's eighth hole. After the round, Golfers can retire to the Grill Room, serve savory sandwiches, burgers, and salads and pour sudsy libations. Guests can recap their rounds in the Grill Room's indoor diner with four TVs, enjoy breezes on the open-air patio.
Slice-prone swings and inconsistent putting strokes meet their demise at Green Valley Golf Range, where guests crush golf balls at an 80-station driving range and sends putts through a tricky mini-golf course. The range boasts towering lights and 20 covered, heated hitting stalls to furnish practice at night, during inclement weather, and through the eternal ice age of the future. The practice facility—which also encompasses a putting green, chipping area, and sand trap—replaces its golf balls every year, ensuring quality equipment for players' enjoyment. The practice facility also houses a virtual golf entertainment experience that allows golfers to play I-tee golf games in which they can compete on courses around the world.
A lighthouse, a pint-sized car, and other old-fashioned obstacles await players at the mini-golf course, a circuit best conquered with laser-like focus attained with the help of Green Valley's complimentary coffee. Clubbers can replenish energy stores zapped after a long day of practice or bench-pressing their driver with a soft-serve ice-cream cone, a slice of Rosati's pizza, or a hot dog, all of which are sold in the Green Valley Ice Cream Shoppe.