Oct 3, 2018

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20 WINDY CITY COURSES TO PLAY THIS FALL

October is a great time to visit some of the top courses in Chicagoland as the cool temps and falling prices are an ideal combination.  Click Here to see 20 courses that are on my list to play this fall...

RE-IMAGINED SUNSET VALLEY A WORTHY ADDITION TO NORTH SHORE PUBLIC GOLF 
The Highland Park Park District made a hefty investment in Sunset Valley GC, and architect Rick Jacobson fashioned a layout that is well worth the money.  Click Here for a picture tour of the new SVGC...

COURSE REVIEW - RENOVATION DONE RIGHT - MT. PROSPECT CHANNELS CLASSIC ERA OF GOLF DESIGN

Mt. Prospect underwent a $9M update in 2015 to revitalize the 1920's design, Was it money well spent?  Click Here for the full story on MPCG...

COURSE REVIEW - HIDDEN GEM STATUS FITS PRAIRIE ISLE

Prairie Isle is closer to Rockford than the Chicago Loop, but it's a course that packs a load of fun in its compact 135 acre footprint.  Is it worth the drive to the Northwest suburbs?  Click Here for a comprehensive review of this under the radar layout... 

SIGHTS AND SOUNDS FROM THE 2018 CHICAGOLAND GOLF SHOWS

I spent a day each at the 3 Chicagoland Golf Shows in February, a great way to get the buzz on all things golf for the upcoming season.  Click Here for my spin on the good, the better and the brst of the shows...

THE GLEN CLUB SUCCESSFULLY STRADDLES THE PRIVATE CLUB / PUBLIC ACCESS LINE
The Glenview golf club competes with traditional North Shore country clubs, while providing public fee golfers access to the Tom Fazio designed course.  Click Here to read how TGC has thrived in both domains... 


THE NEXT BIG THING - THE PRESERVE AT OAK MEADOWS OPENS FOR PLAY

The old 27 holes from the Oak Meadows 18 and Maple Meadows 9 has been re-imagined by architect Greg Martin into an upscale addition to the Windy City golf scene.  Click Here for a picture tour of the Preserve...

COURSE REVIEW - WIND SWEPT LINKS DEFINES PRAIRIE BLUFF

Prairie Bluff may not be in the conversation of top Windy City prairie links courses, but should it be?  Click Here for my thoughts on this solid southwest suburban track... 


COURSE REVIEW - AMENITY RICH BOLINGBROOK PROVIDES PRIVATE CLUB EXPERIENCE

This prairie links layout was once open farmland, but is the Hills-Forrest design worth the drive and price? Click Here for the skinny on this upscale southwest suburban facility...


CRANE'S LANDING POSITIONED TO BE NORTH SUBURBAN VALUE DESTINATION

The course at the Lincolnshire Marriott has scaled back green fees in 2017, making the George Fazio design all the more enticing for area public golfers.  Click Here to read about the changes at the Landing...

DON'T FORGET YOUR CLUBS...VALLEY OF THE SUN RIVALS THE WINDY CITY AS A PUBLIC GOLFERS DREAM

Thousands of Chicagoans will be heading out to Phoenix to watch the World Champion Cubs and rebuilding White Sox get ready for the 2017 season, but make sure you bring your clubs as golf in the morning and a ball game in the afternoon is the perfect way to spend a spring day in Arizona. Click Here for a detailed review of golf in sunny metro Phoenix...


MEN'S CLUB AT VILLAGE GREENS OF WOODRIDGE BUILT ON "BAND OF BROTHERS" BOND

The Men's Club at VGW has been in continuous operation since 1961, making it one of the oldest at a public course in the Windy City.  Click Here to find the story behind its successful run...


EAGLEWOOD SHORT ON DISTANCE, LONG ON CHARACTER

The resort course in Itasca barely crosses 6,000 yards, but the par 72 layout called "The Little Green Menace" is no pushover.  Click Here to find out why a trip to Eaglewood is worthwhile...


SMT EVENTS ADDS THE SPICE TO LOCAL GOLF OUTINGS

SMT Events has helped organizations raise over $6 million since 2009 by increasing the fun factor at local golf outings.  Click Here to read all about SMT and its founder, PGA pro Mike Tait...

THE MOST EXPENSIVE COURSES IN THE WINDY CITY...AND THE BEST TIMES TO PLAY

The Windy City boasts hundreds of public courses, but a handful are able to command over or near triple digit green fees from local golfers.  Click Here for a list of those select few, with the best times to play at rates far below prime time that will fit into most golf budgets...


FEATURED STORIES

NO "GIMME'S" HERE...WINDY CITY AMATEUR TOURS OFFER COMPETITIVE GOLF FOR ALL SKILL LEVELS

Several Amateur Golf tours operate in the Windy City, largely below the radar of most area golfers.  Click Here for a detailed review of 5 organizations that offer tournament golf using the USGA rule book to players of all skill levels...

LET'S PLAY TWO! 36 HOLES OF GREAT, BUDGET FRIENDLY WINDY CITY GOLF

To borrow a famous phrase from a Chicago sports legend, playing 2 rounds of golf on a beautiful summer weekday in the Windy City is a great alternative to a day at work.  Click Here to view an updated and expanded list of 29 combinations of courses from all corners of Chicagoland, all for under $90 (carts included) and within a short drive (less than 30 minutes) of each other, with plenty of time for lunch in between... 

UNDERAPPRECIATED TEE TIME INTERVAL KEY FACTOR IN PACE OF PLAY 

Mr Z brushed off his stats book and looked at the relationship between green fees and tee time intervals at metro Chicago courses, and reviewed several that have increased the spacing in an effort to enhance the customer experience.  Click Here to read an in depth analysis of tee times in the Windy City...  


Course Directory
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Latest Course Reviews                   

Crane's Landing
Harborside Starboard
White Pines (East)



Coming Soon

Cog Hill #3
Springbrook

20 WINDY CITY COURSES TO PLAY THIS FALL

Once the weather cools down and the leaves start to change, the green fees at many top Windy City courses are falling, making October the perfect time to visit some premium layouts at a bargain price.  Here is a list of 20 courses that are on my list to play before the end of the season.  All have published late season rates on their websites or are currently posting online fees significantly below summer rates for the 1st week of October. Many also use dynamic pricing models for even more potential savings.  All rates include cart unless otherwise noted. 

NORTH
OAK GROVE (Harvard) - It's a long drive but a beautiful layout awaits in the far northwest suburbs.  Online tee times are $39 weekdays and $49 weekends, with an extra bargain at $42 after 10 am.

PINE MEADOW (Mundelein) - Part of the Jemsek family group of courses, Pine Meadow was the #1 New Public Course in America when it opened in 1986 and has aged well.  Summer Weekends will cost $76 to walk or $93 to ride, but published Fall Rates are $52 / $69, good everyday.
SCHAUMBURG - Currently undergoing extensive renovation, the Tournament / Players nines are open, but all 3 (the Baer is closed until next season) are good tracks. Online rates are $50 during the week and $56 on weekends, a $18 savings from summer prime time. 

STEEPLE CHASE (Mundelein) - The Mundelein Park District course was designed by Ken Killian and is somewhat overlooked in the crowded North suburban golf landscape.  But $32 walk / $44 ride weekday rates and $40 / $52 after 11 am on weekends is a great price point.

STONEWALL ORCHARD (Grayslake) - This Arthur Hills design has 65,000 mature trees and rolling hills on a pristine piece of Lake county land. Online weekend rates with cart are currently $79, 20% below the $95 summer fee, and $65 after 11 am.  Weekdays M-TH are $65 (vs $84), and the $55 rate for 55 year olds before Noon is a top Senior rate.

THUNDERHAWK (Beach Park) - Just south of the Wisconsin border, this Lake County Forest Preserve facility was designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr. and is one of Chicagoland's finest courses.  It will cost $90 to play in July, but in October the rate is $69 SA-SU and $49 M-F, starting October 8.

WHISPER CREEK (Huntley) - A Greg Nash and Billy Casper partnership, Whisper Creek winds through the Del Webb mega-complex and is an Audubon International certified Sanctuary. Rates are as low as $29 with cart weekdays and $54 on weekends for online bookings.

WEST
BOWES CREEK (Elgin) - "Member for A Day" rates at this semi-private, Rick Jacobson signature design are currently $85 weekends or $69 weekdays, which includes unlimited golf and full use of the practice facility. If you only wish to play 18, the posted rates are $59 to Noon, $55 to 2 pm and $49 after 2 M-F. Weekends green fees are $69 to 10 am, $65 to Noon, $59 to 2 pm and $49 after 2.

HIGHLANDS OF ELGIN - An abandoned stone quarry is used to dramatic effect as the centerpiece of the prairie style course.  Weekday rates are only $35 w/cart and weekends are $49 ($45 after Noon), a great deal at this top Chicagoland facility.

OAK BROOK - Centrally located at York Rd and 22nd Street, Oak Brook is an entertaining track full of tricky doglegs and challenging greens.  Weekday early bird at $45 ride to 9 am ($55 afterwards), and weekend (F-SU) at $60 (50 after 1 pm) are fair fall fees.

PRAIRIE LANDING (West Chicago) - Big prairie links layout south of Dupage Airport is another RTJ Jr. design. Posted rates with cart are $56 mornings and $48 afternoons M-F and $72 to 11 am, $60 to 2 pm and $50 after 2 on SA-SU, but the online rates will vary widely from hour to hour and day to day.

PRESERVE AT OAK MEADOWS (Wooddale) - Greg Martin reconfigured the Oak Meadows 18 hole and the Maple Meadows 9 hole layouts into an 18 hole master class in course architecture.  Fall rates are $59 weekdays and $75 weekends, 15 - 25% below in-season fees, and SA-SU rates at Noon drop to $65.

SEVEN BRIDGES (Woodridge) - Monster Dick Nugent design is as intimidating as it is beautiful, so at least if you're playing poorly you can enjoy the scenery.  Posted fall rates are $59 M-F and $75 SA-SU and 2:30 twilight is $50.  Senior Rate (60+) is $47 M-TH and weekends after 1 pm.

ST. ANDREWS (West Chicago) - Both the Jemsek and St. Andrews layouts deliver similar experiences, traditional parkland courses at reasonable prices.  Posted weekend fall rates are $40 walk / $51.50 ride until 11 am, $34/45.50 to 1 pm and $28/39.50 after 1.  Weekday early bird special is $20/31.50 before 9 am, then $30/41.50 to Noon and $25/36.50 in the afternoon.

VILLAGE LINKS OF GLEN ELLYN - The Bears are playing great, but book a tee time during the game with 3 friends and pay $100 per foursome (carts are $20 per person extra) at one of the best muni's around.  Fall rates are 25% below in season fees, starting October 10. Play on M-TU at 50% off.

SOUTH

BALMORAL WOODS (Crete) - Heavily wooded layout is ideal for the fall colors and a solid play, but stay below the hole on the severely sloped greens.  Online rates M-F are currently $39, $35 after noon,  Weekends are $54, $39 after 1 pm.
  
BIG RUN (Lockport) - Big views and monster par 5's at a southwest suburban mainstay.  Listed Weekday rates are $49, Weekends are $59, and 1 pm twilight is a $40 deal, carts included.

ODYSSEY (Tinley Park) - Water is in play on almost every hole at this Curtis Strange design off I-80 and Harlem Ave.  Weekday green fees are between $30-35 and weekends around $45 at the Odyssey, which promotes programs that benefit Veterans.

PRAIRIE BLUFF (Crest Hill) - Wind swept, hilly links is a fun, playable track designed by Andy North.  Weekends rates are $52 to Noon, $43 in the afternoon.  M-F rates are between $38 - $42, cart included.

SANCTUARY (New Lenox) - Expansive driving range at 6,900 yard layout with water and wetlands on 14 holes.  Weekday green fees are $30 - $32 and weekends are a reasonable $42, and $30 after 1 pm.

About This Site

I am a life long Chicagoan and an avid golfer (or as much as my wife will let me!). And I am also a closet journalist who needed an outlet, so I decided to write reviews of the golf courses that I've played over the years in Chicago. Plus I've added detailed information on each course to help my fellow public golfers find the ones that best fits their skill level and budgets. So, read the reviews and use the comments to either give me a big "thumbs up" or tell me I'm full of crap, check out the courses and other pages, and let me know what you think... Mr Z