BY VALERIE HARDY
You don’t have to join a country club to enjoy a round of golf on a beautifully manicured course followed by beverages and bites at a quality clubhouse or onsite restaurant.
Whether you’re a scratch golfer or still growing your game, this list of local courses is sure to provide a pick with the perfect level of challenge and a stunning setting for your “nine and wine” outing or well-earned meal after playing 18. Not a golfer? Skip the greens, and head straight to the 19th hole!
Arrowhead Golf Club
With three nine-hole courses, yielding three separate 18-hole configurations, golfers will not get tired of golfing Arrowhead, a staple in the western suburbs for nearly a century. Arrowhead Restaurant & Bar features a comprehensive lunch and dinner menu, and its dining terrace overlooking the course offers breathtaking views, especially at sunset.
Belmont Golf Club
Formerly titled Downers Grove Golf Club, this historic nine-hole course reopened this season as Belmont Golf Club, a throwback to the site’s name in the late 19th and early 20th century.
Signage denotes the holes’ unique new names, each reminiscent of the course’s or golf’s origins or descriptive of the hole’s layout. For example, the third hole is “Tweedie” after the course’s early president, and the fourth hole is “Blind” since it contains a blind tee shot. A historic clock tower will round out the course’s refreshed yet classic vibe. After golfing, grab a drink in the recently renovated clubhouse or new pergola area.
The names – Woodside, Lakeside, and Hillside – of Cantigny’s three nine-hole courses say it all. The picturesque, rolling terrain and 27 challenging holes have drawn golfers from near and far over the past three decades. Enjoy seasonal, house-made fare in Fareways Grill’s dining room, lounge, or covered patio, which overlook the course and Swan Lake.
Cog Hill Golf & Country Club
This renowned club features four 18-hole courses. All are open to the public, including the nationally ranked Course No. 4, or “DUBSDREAD,” a long-standing stop on the PGA Tour. Cog Hill also offers 42 lighted and heated driving range bays with food and beverages available at the range.
For a more leisurely drinking or dining experience, visit Cog Hill’s Bar & Grill for locally sourced menu items and a glass of Cog Hill Long Drive Ale, brewed by Lemont’s own Pollyana Brewing Company.
Photo credit: Charles Cherney Photography
Mistwood Golf Club
Mistwood Golf Club features 20 St. Andrews-style sod-wall bunkers, making the 18-hole course in suburban Chicago feel straight out of Scotland. To continue to experience a taste of Scotland, literally, visit McWethy’s Tavern for a hearty dinner or lighter lunch from the “Pick Two” menu.
Seating is available in multiple dining areas and patios, and if you miss McWethy’s during the off-season, just join the Tavern’s SOUPscription service to receive four containers of the chef’s specialty soup each month.
Oak Brook Golf Club
This pristine 18-hole course beckons golfers of all levels. For those wanting to finesse their swing this season, driving range memberships ($1,000) allow for unlimited use of the club’s north range April-October. With indoor and outdoor seating and a range of refreshments, the Patio Bar is a perfect place to unwind.
Sugar Creek Golf Course
A nine-hole course owned and operated by the Elmhurst Park District and Village of Villa Park, Sugar Creek challenges experienced players yet is short enough to be accessible for beginning golfers. A three-acre pond comes into play on four holes. The clubhouse, featuring a banquet room, bar, and deck area, is an ideal setting to refuel after a round.
Village Links boasts both a nine-hole and an 18-hole course and is both beautiful and functional. Owned by the village, it has a sophisticated stormwater detention system incorporated into the property.
The course’s restaurant, Reserve 22 (named for the number lakes at the Links), was recently awarded the Diner’s Choice award for Best Outdoor Dining in the Chicago area, and with a bee apiary and greenhouse on site, the restaurant’s delectable dishes often feature its fresh honey and produce.
Photo credit: Village Links Golf Course
Willow Crest Golf Club
Located on the grounds of the Hilton Oak Brook Hills Resort, this 18-hole course features multi-tiered tees, providing a challenging golf experience for any player.
The property has two restaurants on-site, including the Tin Cup Bar & Grille, serving classic American fare. Visit Willow Crest to feel like you are on a golf getaway just minutes from home!