St. Andrews Golf and Country Club -- located on Route 59 in West Chicago -- has been a challenging golf course offering to Chicago's western burbs since 1926. Built as a nod to the world famous Scotland course bearing the same name, St. Andrews offers two challenging 18-hole courses and one of the best practice facilities in the Midwest. Course No. 1 -- also nicknamed the 'St. Andrews Course' -- was designed by John McGregor of the Chicago Golf Club in 1926. The opening hole is a quaint par-4 with a slight dogleg to the left. Better players will hit a long iron or fairway wood off the tee as it only measures roughly 351 yards from the championship tees. Don't let this opening hole fool you; this course reaches nearly 7,000 yards from the tips and can be quite challenging overall. This course features a 71.8 rating and a 124 slope from the back.
Course No. 2 -- nicknamed the 'Joe Jemsek Course' -- is another challenging track that can be played up to 6,800 yards from the back tees. Like the St. Andrews course, the opening hole on Jemsek is a short par-4 that offers the golfer hope right from the start. Massive hills and undulating greens await you from that point on, which can become quite challenging when the greenskeepers decide to place the hole location on a slope or mere paces off the fringe. This course features a 72.0 rating and 122 slope from the championship tees.
Between the two courses, I preferred the Jemsek course due to its scenic holes and overall playability. I did not particularly care for the dogleg-ridden St. Andrews course, but that is more a matter of personal preference than anything else. The Jemsek course is pretty straightforward and every hole is right in front of you; there are very few surprises and the course just dares you to play well.
However, one downside to the 36-hole layout is how many of the holes seem crammed together throughout the property. There are multiple locations on the course where you can see five or six different greens or tee boxes at a time, which can be downright dangerous when you consider wayward tee shots from neighboring golfers. You will want to keep you head on a swivel playing this track.
The gem of St. Andrews G&CC, in my opinion, is their practice center. With over 80 grass tees spread out over 36-acres of land, this range is one of the largest I have ever seen. The range balls are of a high quality (no cracks or scuffs), the putting green is large and can accommodate multiple players and the range even features flood lighting for evening practice sessions. You will be hard pressed to find a better range anywhere in the Midwest.
To learn more about St. Andrews Golf and Country Club, including rates and directions to the course, visit their website by clicking this link.