(The following is a guest post from 9 & Dine Women's Golf.) The Chicago area is fertile ground for golf enthusiasts, with beautiful, world-class golf courses which inspire locals and draw visitors from all over the world. No matter what type of course one enjoys, from major championship venues to off-the-beaten-path gems, one can find what they are looking for without traveling far from Chicago. Really, it seems one can't shank a tee-shot in Chicago without their ball landing on another great course next door. So, without further ado, here is a list of some of the best-known, highly rated golf courses near Chicago, along with an extra hidden gem thrown in for good measure.
Founded in 1924 and one of the most storied clubs in the United States, Medinah is private, but getting in is worth the effort. The most famous 18 at the 54 hole club is known simply as Course 3, a track on which one can walk in the footsteps of legends like Gary Player, Byron Nelson, and Tiger Woods. Medinah hosted the 2012 Ryder Cup, along with two PGA Championships and 3 US Opens. With three separate courses designed by Tom Bendelow, ranging in length from 6,210 to 7,657 yards, Medinah has something to offer for every type of player. The perfectly manicured fairways at Medinah are bordered by a thick, lush treeline, making each hole feel almost like a world of its own.
Like Medinah, Cog Hill is a course frequently populated by the very best players in the world. As part of the PGA Tour's FedExCup playoff, Cog Hill hosted the BMW Championship in 2007, and from 2009-2011. Unlike Medinah, Cog Hill is open to the public, so one doesn't need a special connection to step onto the tee box. The club is home to four courses, including the crowned jewel, a championship course called Dubsdread.
Each 18 hole track offers a little something different – Course 1 an intricate, 1920s era design weaving through wooded terrain, Ravines a championship-style layout with plentiful water hazards and bunkers, and Course 3 a mix of challenging terrain and long distance. Dubsdread, opened in 1964, is the demanding layout which many are familiar with from the PGA Tour. The best part about Cog Hill? Greens fees for Course 1, Ravines, and Course 3 range from $53 to $73, cart included. Even Dubsdread, with all its history, doesn't break the bank, coming in at $155.
The Glen Club
The Glen Club, designed by legendary golf course architect Tom Fazio, is another Chicago area public course with a rich history. The rates are higher than at Cog Hill, starting at $90 during the “off months,” but The Glen Club offers quite an experience for the price. The course, playing 6,062 yards from the front tees and 7,160 from the back, features rolling terrain and links-style features, with tall fescue grass lining some fairways. In addition to world-class golf, The Glen Club offers luxurious lodging, fine dining, and a spacious, beautiful clubhouse.
Robert A. Black Golf Course
For a taste of something completely different, one can seek out this little hidden gem. The layout is nine holes, with immaculate greens, well-groomed fairways, strategically placed bunkers, and a challenging layout for golfers of all skill levels. It may not have the cachet or fancy amenities of the world-renowned courses above, but this nine hole, par 33 layout is perfect for an afternoon outing with friends. As a part of the Chicago Park District Golf system, it is also very easy for golfers in the city to reach.
Melinda Bailey is an avid golfer and Blog Manager of 9 & Dine Women’s Golf Apparel blog. You can connect with Melinda via Twitter @9Dine.