If you’re looking for a list of the best golf courses in Chicago and the ‘Prairie State’ of Illinois, you have come to the right place.
It’s little known that Chicago is home to the pretty much the largest number of public golf courses in any one city within the entire United States.
Suffice to say the ‘Windy City’ has much to offer to tourists and golfers alike so, without further ado, let’s have a look at some of the best public courses to play in the Chicago area.
Cog Hill Golf & Country Club
If you’re looking for the pinnacle of the best golf courses in Chicago then look no further than Cog Hill Golf & Country Club’s Drubsdread course.
Regularly ranked as the top course in Chicago, and within the top 10 in the state of Illinois, you are unlikely to be left wanting if you decide to take the trip to the four-time BMW Championship host venue.
The Joe Jemesk design was more recently renovated by Rees Jones and provides a private-club experience within a public golf course. Given its name, expect a fearsome foe if you do tee it up – because that’s exactly what you will get.
This Tom Fazio design is located in the suburb of Glenview and was opened in 2001 to much acclaim. It features rolling terrain, dramatic elevation changes, tranquil lakes, meandering streams and stunning vistas on its 7,149-yard par 72 facility.
One of the more expensive public courses in the region, sometimes you get what you pay for and this is the most certainly one of the best golf courses in the Chicago area.
Cantigny Golf (Woodside/Lakeside)
The Lakeside nine is appropriately named with four different lakes that come into play on six different holes. Some of the views are truly stunning with the water playing its own part quite majestically.
The Woodside course offers a variety of shots played through the densest woods on the course. It offers two risk/reward par 5s, a par 3 of over 200 yards and another par 3 with the green completely surrounded by water.
Woodside/Lakeside will definitely test your golfing skills to their absolute limits.
Harborside International Golf Center (Port)
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Opened in 1995, the Port Course at Harborside has been previously voted the best golf course in Chicago. At 7,164 yards from the tips, this is a challenging links course and in the style of world-famous facilities dotted around the British Isles.
Take a trip to Port and you will be greeted with one of the most interesting holes of the 36 on offer at Harborside.
The par-3 13th hole has an anchor-shaped island of fairway surrounded by sand – truly a one-off. It’s also blessed with spectacular views of the Chicago skyline throughout.
Golfweek Magazine ranks the Port Course as the #47 "Best Municipal Course" in the United States and the 14th Best Course You Can Play in the state of Illinois.
ThunderHawk Golf Club
Designed by the great Robert Trent Jones Jnr, Thunderhawk Golf Club has been recognised as one of the finest public golf courses in Chicago.
This Heathland Parkland facility offers terrific views and challenging play for golfers at every skill level. You will not find two holes on this golf course which resemble each other in any way.
Pine Meadow Golf Course
Owned by the Jemesk family, the 7,238-yard golf course provides a fair test, while it’s also demanding of its visitors. The golf course sports unquestionable picturesque beauty and its fairways are lined with many blue spruce and pines.
Rated the No. 1 best “new public golf course” in America back in 1986, it is also regularly listed in the top 10 of best public golf courses in Illinois.
Well worth a look next you are in Northern Illinois.
Stonewall Orchard Golf Club
Slightly north of Chicago you will find the eminently beautiful Stonewall Orchard. Set in an enchanting isolated oasis, it takes advantage of its location away from the city by sporting a forest of 65,000 trees, rolling hills, varied wildlife and water hazards aplenty.
This golf course is by no means the most difficult on our list, but it does require that you play the right shot at the right time.
A beautiful course in a beautiful setting.
Harborside International Golf Center (Starboard)
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Starboard at Harborside was voted in at number three on a list of the “Best golf courses you can play” in the state of Illinois back in 2004 and number 13 in Golfweek Magazine’s “Best Municipal Courses” in the entire United States.
It provides a similar links experience to its sister course (Port) however it stands alone as a unique blend of exciting and challenging links holes.