2 dirt cheap architectural gems are spring valley and kankakee elks. Both have there issues with but they can be played for nothing and you can see all of Bill Langford design work on display. I always make a couple of trips a year to see both these places. My favorite is highlands of Elgin and ravisloe for courses actually in Chicagoland.
Completely forgot about Kankakee Elks. Some of the best par 3’s in the area.
I third the Ravisloe recommendation. Sweet track, amazing greens. I remember playing it for the first time in an IJGA tournament when I was a teenager and I was blown away. It was my first experience with golden age design, and I totally fell in love
I highly recommend Tom Powers in Plainfield. I’ve took my first lesson with him when I was 12 and never looked back. I don’t know where you are located in the western suburbs so it might be a little bit of a hike, but he teaches primarily out of his indoor golf shop (Playin Thru) in Plainfield, right off of I-55.
Thanks for the response but that is a bit to much travel for me. I am looking into the teaching staff at Cantigny right now.
Not sure I saw it mentioned much but Big Run in Lemont is a fun track. Also, frequent Ruffled Feathers, if you are looking for a 36 hole day an early tee time at Big Run and an afternoon tee at Ruffled can be done for roughly $120 which makes for an awesome day!
North side of city joining late. Can’t go wrong with Cantigny, especially now that post management switch, they’ve started more variation on pricing (was previously junior, senior, and full rate - no matter day or time). Their practice facilities are top notch.
Village Links is a great deal for non-residents, Arrowhead is way overpriced unless you are a park district member. Really enjoy Prairie Landing, but if not a strong wind player, can really toughen up on a strong day. Staying out west, Klein Creek frequently has really cheap rates, but the greens are typically pretty rough - the course in general is getting scruffy and hopefully new management helps.
Regular at Marovitz, but definitely have to go on dew patrol on Fri-Sun or not at all. They started to improve the bunkers, but in odd order (like 9th and 7th fairways first), then stopped to redo Black. Hopefully that resumes. Speaking of Black, it is quite short, but they keep improving conditions and the price is right.
From the city, Water’s Edge is a decent course with good deals and easy to get on.
I’ll miss Highland Park, an easy drive from the city that used to have great Fri twilight deals.
Would definitely be interested in a NLU outing.
Totally right about traffic being better going south. Any tips on Marovitz? Every time I go there feels like I am in for a 3 hour round.
EDIT - Should have kept reading. Thanks everyone for your answers!
Grew up playing that course and saw the regression first hand. Cannot wait to get out there again this summer with all of the work being put into it.
I foolishly tried a twilight at Marovitz two years ago. Something like 2 hrs for 6 holes and darkness settled in. A lot of pitching around the tee boxes to pass the time.
I’d be curious how much it’d cost to upgrade the heating and insulation at Diversey range, if enough return on how many more buckets they’d sell. That was not designed by a golfer or anyone that spends any amount of time outdoors in the cold. That plot would kill with a Top Golf, but would overprice it for basic practice.
Diversey is pretty much unmanageable in the cold unless you get a spot far to the left where the wind blockers are wrapped around the back and the side. Half of the lower level doesn’t even have the wind blocker on the back and the heaters do practically nothing.
Canal shores is coming along great. I’ve recently started attending the monthly meetings and am looking forward to helping out on the grounds committee this summer. While I’m not a resident I like what they’re doing. And those greens in the summer are smooth and fast.
I’ve been thinking about getting involved with the work at Canal Shores. Did you just show up at the meetings or do you need to be a resident? I’m pretty sure I remember seeing that their aren’t any requirements for involvement, but would appreciate any feedback.
Just show up. Don’t have to be a resident. Only thing you have to be a resident for is to be on the board and to vote on decisions for the club. Email them and they will give you the info. The board is pretty stuffy neighborhood types but the grounds crew/committee is solid.
Good to see the guy continuing to invest in Ravisloe. Who would have thought golden age architecture in Chicago would be saved by a veterinarian!
For that, I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt on the change to #12. Would love to hear more details. @thefriedegg – you have any details? Know that Esler was a friend of the pod…
Each year, I think they reduce the wind blockers installed by 20%. So we’re almost at 0 at this point. I’m off to domes and better heating in the burbs until they resolve. As long as Chicago Park Dist focuses on continuing cleaning up the courses though, fine by me.
Another tangent, I do wish Marovitz put in some pitching or putting areas, they have patches that could be done (lakeside of first green, behind 5th tee, or clear out the crap overgrowth brush on the park side of 9 - add tree cover/netting for righty slices that go beyond the already 20 yd wide rough).
Would give a +1 to Cantigny. Awesome practice areas. Rarely have pace of play issues. I’ve had the rangers come out and tell me to speed it up even when I didn’t see a single other person out there. So they don’t mess around out there. I prefer the lakeside / woodside 18.
I set up a site to share the Chicagoland yardage books, check it out: bigbrim.wordpress.com
So far I’ve got Jackson Park, Marovitz, Ravines, Dunne, and Ravisloe. Hoping to add Mt Prospect, Shepherds Crook, Beverly and Thunderhawk before the season kicks off.
these are awesome, thanks for sharing
Funny story about rangers at Cantigny. First off, I really enjoy Cantigny. As an over all facility its pretty awesome. I would not say they are my favorite golf courses to play but I digress. I have played in my dads 4some at the NIU Athletics playday for several years, its always at Cantigny. We go off as a shot gun start, at least 2 groups off every tee. All the par threes have gimmicks set up, I am sure most of you guys have played in one of these types of things. Basically it was a slow round, lots of waiting on people signing up for shit, donating to different causes, listening to pitches. About 3 or 4 years ago we were on the Hillside 9 and waiting on the 4 some in front of us to play a shot. A ranger pulls up to my cart and asks if I can “pick up the pace?” I laugh, I think he is joking. He looks at me dead serious in the eyes and tells me our group is 35 min behind pace as we are waiting on a group on the green. He must have just gotten in and no body briefed him? It was super weird and we all had a good laugh.