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.
Odyssey Sweet Spot lets players unwind with cold beverages, sizzling pub fare, and a lineup of crisp HDTVs that funnel sporting events throughout the tavern. As bartenders sling drink specials, Golden Tee 2013 arcade games allow players to enjoy the game of golf while still giving misbehaving 9-irons the silent treatment.
A stable of 14 golf simulators lines the walls of Indoor Golf Links of America’s sleek facility, enveloping an open space that feels more like a lively sports bar than a posh country club. Each simulator occupies its own private stall with an adjacent sitting area and a table, where duffers can tend to succulent burgers, piping-hot pizzas, and drinks from the full-service bar a safe distance from whizzing golf balls and 6-irons that have a reputation for covertly unscrewing saltshakers. The simulators’ immense screens whisk duffers to digital reconstructions of legendary courses, allowing them to brave the coastal crags of Pebble Beach or the charging koala bears of Royal Melbourne Golf Club. Golfers struggling with their pendulous form can improve wrist movements at the foosball table, pinpoint precision during a round of shuffleboard, or live vicariously through the professional athletes broadcast on one of the studio’s 16 big-screen TVs.
Coyote Run Golf Course’s 18-hole course stretches across 6,478 yards of bentgrass fairways and greens, all manicured to country-club standards, hemmed by pristine waterways and native wetlands. A lighted driving range with both bluegrass and artificial hitting areas hosts practice sessions and pre-round pep talks to nervous 9-irons before players take to the first tee, where shaky swings may succumb to the pressure of an immediate forced carry. Rippling waters loom ominously on 11 holes, placing a high premium on course management, shrewd club selection, and bags that double as flotation devices. A coterie of 54 sand traps peppers the emerald landscape, further complicating course play as clubbers snatch pars and evade bogeys. Alongside the picturesque par 71 rests a three-hole practice course, where aspiring aces will likely find one of Coyote Run’s ace instructors divulging golf wisdom in a variety of lessons.
Coyote Run’s fully stocked pro shop sells apparel and equipment from the game’s top brands, and the onsite Wiley's Grill, open year-round, hosts post-round revelry with a social bar, as well as a newly appointed lodge with a 30-foot fireplace nestled under a rustic, timber ceiling. Golf-simulator sessions enable players to partake in rounds on famous golf courses throughout the year. An outdoor patio provides a sweeping view of the course and a keen vantage point for taking in sunsets.
Course at a Glance:
Founded in 1901 and given a facelift by prolific course architect Donald Ross two decades later, Ravisloe Country Club's 18-hole, par 70 course cleaves through tree-lines and sandtraps for a challenging, 6,321-yard layout. Golfers should spend extra time at the driving range or golf-cart-lifting area to prepare for the round: they'll face the course's most difficult hole at the second tee box. A 535-yard par-five, number two threads a narrow fairway through mounded rough, fairway bunkers, and trees. The same hazards pop up again throughout the layout, which also features water hazards on three holes.
The ancient course is not the only feature that speaks to Ravisloe's rich history. The Club's Spanish Mission-style architecture winds the clock back to the 1920s—when it was constructed—with stucco walls and a roof constructed of adobe shingles.
Water's Edge Golf Club's championship-style golf course flaunts bent-grass greens and fairways lined with canopy-grown trees along 18 challenging holes of picturesque greenery. Measuring 6,904 yards from the back tees and 5,332 yards from the forward tees, the playable holes allow golfers of all skill levels to enjoy engaging in a round or flirting with eligible sand traps. Jump into a golf cart to drive, chip, and putt your way across natural grasses, protected wetlands, and dense forest thickets for two rounds on the beautiful par 72 course. Sitting on the banks of the Cal-Sag Channel, the club is located 30 minutes outside of downtown Chicago, allowing players a peaceful reprieve from the hustle and bustle of the city and the ball-guzzling potholes that frequently spoil games played on Wacker Drive.
Cleaved through 66 acres of emerald forest, the course at Alsip Park District's Fountain Hills Golf Club challenges players to control their shots down narrow fairways and avoid the bounty of sand traps strewn throughout. Golfers navigate the Bob Lohmann–designed course aboard carts equipped with GPS navigation systems, which help determine a lie's distance to the green or how many strokes it would take to make par into a moon crater. On the first hole, golfers must split a narrow fairway from the tee and keep their golf balls away from the out-of-bounds regions that run alongside, where errant golf balls flaunt hedonistic lifestyles with lethargic naps in the rough.
The practice center at Fountain Hills encompasses a lighted driving range with 30 hitting stations and a short-game practice area with a putting and chipping green. On the range, swingers have the option of hitting off a synthetic mat or real grass.
Course at a Glance:
Fountain Hills Golf Club's rates fluctuate throughout the day and week.