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Reviews of Chicagoland Golf Courses

The Course at Aberdeen - Reviewed May 2013

This week's featured course is The Course at Aberdeen.  Located in Valparasio, IN., Aberdeen offers an extremely challenging course with a sheer gorgeous layout.  Slight elevation changes offer dramatic views of the surrounding area.  Each hole is carved into the heavily wooded and marshed land that makes you feel as if you're the only foursome on the course.  No need to yell fore!!! because there are no adjacent fairways.  If this course were in Illinois it would be a $70-$90 weekend w/cart course.  Most times you can find deals online for less than $40 w/cart on weekends.

Balmoral Woods Golf Course - Reviewed June 2015
Although it didn't rain on us Saturday, it did rain on Friday night, and Balmoral was soaked on a perhaps the hottest day of the year.  I walked the first 10 holes and the sweat was dripping from the bill of my cap.  

The green fee was only $48 to ride. (normally $54)  That's the kinda money Ruffled Feathers should be charging.  (More on that later).  Balmoral also sells a dozen pro v1's with green fee for only $35. 

There were water tanks spaced out around the course, and the halfway house was open which is located near the 8th and 13th tees.  There was no cart-girl on Saturday however, and I can't understand why not.

The course was in excellent shape and despite being rain soaked, the greens were rolling.  Balmoral Woods offers bent-grass fairways and tee boxes, with the most undulating greens in the south suburbs.  I'd like to see them add a tee box, extending the 6600 yard course to 7000 from the tips.

The layout is spectacular with some slight elevation changes and several dogleg holes.  There is ample seating in the clubhouse with reasonably priced food and drinks.  The biggest problem, if you want to call it one, is the driving range which is not very big and located adjacent to the 7th hole, nowhere near the clubhouse.  There is a large putting green by the first hole and they do allow chipping.  

Overall, Balmoral Woods offers a true test of golf, at a reasonable price and is very easy to get to.

Big Run Golf Course - Reviewed July 2016

Unlike most Chicago area golf courses, Big Run offer steep elevation changes on several holes.  The course is always in tremendous condition with outstanding greens, (Some of the best in the area).  The undulation on the greens, tall trees, hazards, changes in elevation, dog-leg holes, and sand traps makes Big Run one of the toughest test of shot-making in Chicago.  

I played there last week with the 3G's Golf Organization, and because they use a PA system, I had the guy to announce the following, "On the tee, the 2004 Stroker's Golf Association Player of the Year, 2010 and 2015 Chili Dip Open Champion, Chuck Dogg!!"  

Big Run doesn't have a driving range and is a little pricey, but other than that, there are no negatives.  

Bittersweet Golf Club - Reviewed April 2015
The name, Bittersweet, tells you what you need to know about this course.  Leave the driver in the bag, especially if you ain't hittin it straight.  The course is tight and very tough.  In fact, a few years ago it went through changes just to make it easier. $55 to walk or ride on the weekend.  (Only $30 with the golf membership mentioned above), and it's well worth it.  The clubhouse is not very big, but well maintained and very modern.  The course contains a large practice area, great for chipping, putting, and a full service driving range.  The greens are immaculate and it's hard to find a flat putt.  

Bittersweet is not long, only 6700 from the Black tees.  But with a slope of 135, (Big Run is 134, George Dunne blue tees is 133, Aberdeen 134), lets you know how tough this course is.  Unless you're a single-digit handicap, I do NOT recommend you play it from the tips.  6300 yards from the Blue tees is long and difficult enough.  

There are several things I like about this course, one of which is the exclusivity of each hole.  There are no adjacent fairways, so each hole is like it's own individual course.  

Bottom Line:  If you want a good challenge, and to play a course that should cost you about $80 but is almost half of that, go to Bittersweet.

Bolingbrook Golf Club - Reviewed May 2015
Need your shoes cleaned?  Need new spikes??  Bring your shoes to Bolingbrook, drop them off with Jose, and pick them up after your round they'll look like new.  Cell phone battery low??  Well the carts at Bolingbrook actually have outlets for you to charge your phone.

Bolingbrook's clubhouse rivals any in the Chicago area.  With a complete full-service pro shop.  Shirts, shorts, shoes etc., are always on sale.  The professionalism is top notch.  Just walking around the course, practice area, and clubhouse provides a sense of awe.  For practice, there two driving ranges, as well as a large green for chipping and putting.  The golfballs are always out on the range and set in a triangle stack, which only adds to the ambiance.

Get to the first tee and you're greeted with FREE tees and ball markers, FREE lemonade and apples.  Coolers which are located on your golf cart are filled with ice and two complimentary bottles of water.  There is also a golf ball/club cleaner on the golf cart, which also comes with a rain hood to cover your clubs in case of inclement weather.

The course itself is spectacular and includes an island green.  They grounds crew takes great care of this course keeping it in outstanding shape.  

You better look for a deal though because non-residents pay a standard rate of $105 on weekends with a cart.  I played it yesterday using my Chicagoland Golf Club Membership.  it cost me only $50 w/cart.

Cinder Ridge Golf Course - Reviewed June 2014
Located in the southwest corner of Will County in unincorporated Wilmington Township, Cinder Ridge Golf Course offers a supreme test for any golfer.  With a slope of 139 from the tips at 7,000 yards you better bring your game.  Water, trees, bushes, and marsh surrounds just about every hole which is meticulously carved out of what used to be a coal mine.
Water comes into play on 14 holes strategically located to add a picturesque charm and a challenge for every golfer.  Only three bodies of water require a carry shot -- most run laterally along the fairways to heighten the challenge and the beauty of the course without unfairly testing the average golfer.  Like Bittersweet Golf Club, each hole gives you the feeling as if you're on the course by yourself.  You really don't see other golfers while on this course.
For only $45 w/cart on weekends, you cannot beat it. If you're looking for a good test and don't want to spend a lot of money take the drive out to Cinder Ridge.

Crane's Landing - Reviewed July 2015
Crane's Landing located in Lincolnshire, offers the best greens I've played on this year; so smooth it was like putting on an artificial surface.  The fairways and tees were immaculate.  Golfing at Crane's Landing provides a country club level experience.  The bunkers contained soft sand similar to what is used on some Florida courses.

At under 6200 yards, Crane's Landing is  about the same length as Coyote Run, But with a slope of 130 and a rating of 71.1 it's much tougher.  Water comes into play on 15 of the 18 holes and there are some extremely tight fairways.  

The course is part of the Lincolnshire Marriott Resort so there may be some "Stay and Play" deals.  otherwise the green fee on weekends with a cart is $70.  I didn't visit the clubhouse so my rating for the clubhouse will be less than average, and there is no driving range.  There are some adjacent fairways which is to be expected on a Resort course. But for a good test of shot-making ability, try Crane's Landing.

Coyote Run Golf Course - Reviewed June 2015

If you're looking for a a leisure round of golf, on a well maintained course and not have to worry about a lot of hazards and OB, then Coyote is your course.  

The practice facility at Coyote is top notch, with a large putting green that you can chip on,and even a few practice holes.
The designers did the most with the land they have to provide local golfers a convenient place to play.  At only 6400 yards from the tips and many adjacent fairways, Coyote is an excellent course for the novice golfer.  Low handicappers however, may look for more of a challenge.  The course is very well maintained and the greens are on par with many of your more "Hi-Line" courses.  The green fee of $62 w/cart on weekends is absurd, and should be about half that.  Of the courses in that area, (Tuckaway, Balmoral, Lincoln Oaks, Deer Creek, University), none are priced this high.


Deer Creek Golf Course - Reviewed May 2016
Outside of George Dunne, I cannot think of a course with three tougher finishing holes.  The par 4-16th is a 420 yard hole with water guarding the right side of the fairway and OB on the left.  Trees line the left side which do come into play and guard against you going to far left trying to avoid the water.  The green is huge perhaps the largest green on the course.  The par 3-17th is a 200 yard par 3 with a large sandtrap in front of the green and water off to the right which does come into play.  The par 4-18th is a 90 degree dogleg right.  Long hitters may be able to carry the water on the right but it's risky requiring a carry of over 240 yards.  Overall, Deer Creek is not a very challenging course with many adjacent fairways.  The course itself is not in the best of condition although the greens were.  The bunkers are made of dirt and are very thin, making it difficult to get your club into it.  But if you're looking to play golf, don't want to spend a lot on the green fee, and are not concerned with the quality of the course then Deer Creek is for you.

Klein Creek Golf Course - Reviewed May 2015

Located in Winfield, IL (Really close to Carol Stream) is Klein Creek GolfCourse. There are several things to like about Klein Creek.  The greens are smooth and very fast.  They aren't as fast as those at Makray Memorial, but they up there.  

The course itself is in excellent shape.  The bent-grass fairways are manicured well, and the rough is generous (Not really thick like Prairie Landing or Thunderhawk).  There are several holes that I like, that represent a true challenge to your golfing ability.  The par 4-2nd hole is one of them.  It plays 411 yards from the tips with water all the way down the right side, and OB all the way down the left.  The green is protected by two bunkers on the left with water guarding the right.  On Saturday, we had a group of about 16 golfers.  No one parred the hole.  Another hole I really like is the par 4-10th.  It plays only 280 yards from the Blue Tee (One up from the tips),  But water runs all the way down the left side, and OB all the way down the right.  In fact, water comes into play on 15 of the 18 holes at Klein Creek.

Keep your ball in the fairway, because if you do go in a bunker, be prepared for trouble.  The sand is not really sand but more like dirt and is not very deep. You can easily skull a sandshot because your club may bounce right off the hard dirt keeping you from hitting the sand/dirt before the ball.  At $79 for a green fee on weekends with cart, no driving range, no amenities (Free Tees, bottled water, ball markers, etc), there may be better options in the area.  The group I played with on Saturday paid $50 green fee.  It is part of the Chicagoland Golf Club Card so I paid $5.  Yeah only $5. So if you're going to Klein Creek, let me know.  It may not rate as high as the others, but the layout of this course is fantastic!!!!

Lost Marsh Golf Course - Reviewed May 2015
Located in Hammond, IN Lost Marsh is a gem of a course.  If you can get by the first 5 holes without trashing your round, you're in for a treat.  But those first five holes are a terror!  Not only is there water everywhere, but there are NO TREES to block the wind, so playing Lost Marsh on a Windy day spells trouble. The par 4-3rd hole (475 yds from the tips) made my list of the top 18 toughest par-4's in the Chicagoland area.  a 100 yard carry over water, with water on both sides of the fairway, just to get off the tee.  Then if you do happen to make the fairway, there is still the water on the left to deal with, plus another pond on the right, with OB if you go to far, and a small creek about 100 yards before the green.  Two bunkers catch all approach shots that try to stay clear of the water on the right, and the green is severely slopped.  

Overall Lost Marsh is a very challenging course and is always kept in great shape.  There is a halfway house located near the center of the course, and the clubhouse is first class all the way, and rivals Bolingbrook for the best clubhouse in the area.  
Lost Marsh also offers a large practice area, and a small six hole par three course for practice as well.  Green fees are normally around $60 -$65 with a cart on weekends so it can be a bit pricey.  But there are deals on golfnow, and other discount golf websites.  
Bent grass fairways and tee boxes along with smooth rolling greens puts Lost Marsh in the upper echoleon of courses. 

Orchard Valley Golf Club - Reviewed July 2015
Located in Aurora, Orchard Valley is a lengthy ride for most.  The course provides a large driving range, but every time I've been there, grass tees where unavailable.  The practice green is horrid, and only good for working on your form. I was told that they couldn't cut the practice green.  Speaking of greens, Orchard Valley probably has the worse greens in the Chicago area.  Putts were not smooth and most bounced a few times before stopping.  The speed of the greens were good though.
The layout of the course is a strong point with a mixture of long and short holes.  Water comes into play on about half the holes.  The fairways, tee boxes, and bunkers are all up to standard.  The clubhouse is one of the best in the area with locker rooms in the basement and a pro shop separated from the rest of the clubhouse.  
I played on a Sunday with a group of 20 golfers who paid only $45 w/cart and a small bucket of range balls, which is a good price.  Overall, if you can put up with the greens you'll like Orchard Valley.

Prairie Landing Golf Course - Reviewed July 2015
One of the sweetest courses you'll play in the Chicago area.  It's not very long but extremely challenging and beautiful.  The clubhouse, practice area, putting greens, parking lot, and everything else about this course is top notch.  It's a links style course with amenities and looks that are similar to Harborside.  Green fees are in the $75-$100 range.

The course is short only like 6,700 yards from the tips.  Prairie Landing doesn't use 150 yard markers, but uses 125 yard markers instead.  They probably do this because few people come there and play the tips so if you play forward tees, your drives will generally surpass the 150 yard mark.  

If you want to treat yourself to a nice course, go to Prairie Landing.

Ruffled Feathers Golf Club - Reviewed June 2015
Located in Lemont, IL about a mile from Cog Hill is Ruffled Feathers.  Surrounded by perhaps the prettiest houses of any public course in Illinois Ruffled Feathers offers a magnificent test ofgolf.  The course is gorgeous, with a spectacular layout.  But the price is rather steep.  At $85 for a weekend round w/cart, many find other more reasonably priced courses to play.  I recently went there just to practice.  It was after 5pm and all I wanted was a bucket of range balls....The cost $16, GTFOH!!!

But Ruffled brings a first class practice facility with a spectacular clubhouse, and amenities that some courses don't think of.  Despite not having a gps on the golf carts, there are usb ports that can be used to charge a cell phone.  If playing the course, the green tee boxes should represent enough length, while allowing you to play a round without too much frustration.

This meticulously managed course with its sculpted fairways, strategically placed bunkers and water, and beautiful framed & contoured greens, Ruffled Feathers gives you all that you want in a golf course.

Settler's Hill Golf Club - Reviewed June 2015
Truly living up to it's name, Settler's Hill has some of the steepest elevation changes of any course in the Chicago area.  With very fast undulating greens, super tight fairways, and bunkers guarding every hole, you have to bring your game.  Settler's Hill is very well manicured with bent grass fairways and tee boxes. 

It's not long (6600 yards from the tips), but as we proved at Woodruff Golf Course, accuracy is far more important than distance.  The layout of the course provides you with the feel of having it all to your self, and there are only a couple adjacent fairways.  There are two par three that require you to hit to greens that are over 100 feet below, as well as the par 4-18th hole which is a dog-leg left to an uphill green.  The only negative I can find with Settler's Hill is the lack of a driving range.  I can't understand this, because there does appear to be room for one to be built on the course.  I'd also like to see red or white stakes around the course to identify OB and hazards.  We will make these designations for our tournament and provide this information to you before you tee off.

Overall however, Settler's Hill is a gem of a course.  If you want to experience a different golfcourse with a supreme layout, then Settler's Hill comes highly recommended.

Tamarack Golf Club - Reviewed May 2016
On a Tuesday, late morning, we went to Tamarack as a five-some.  We played the entire course that day as 5.  Tamarack was in immaculate condition.  The greens were rolling nicely and the fairways and tee boxes were well manicured.  There is water, which comes into play on just about every hole.  So you have to be straight off the tee.  The tee boxes had all been moved up.  (The box where the tips would normally be located was moved up to the next tee box thus adjusting all others as well).  So the course was not playing as long as normal.  Which is a good thing, with the large number of hazards, sandtraps, OB, and undulation of the greens, the distance is not what is going to kill your score.  

There is no driving range at Tamarack.  There is a large green to chip and putt however.  If you'd like to hit balls before playing, you can stop at Bolingbrook or Naperbrook which are both on the way if exiting I-55 at Weber Rd. 

Green fees are $55 with cart on weekends.  Well worth it.  The only negative I can squeeze out of this course is the lack of driving range.  If you've never played Tamarack take advantage of the coupon and go!!

University Golf Club - Reviewed May 2015
Located in University Park across from Govenor's State University, University Golf offers golffor a great price.  The course has/is going through some changes made to either toughen it up or save money.  They are growing fescue, on a few holes, that actually comes into play.  The par 5-2nd, is a good example of this.  In addition to the fescue, creeks of rocks (I guess they couldn't afford water) have been installed in strategic places on the course, and come into play on the first and second holes.  The greens are well taken care of, and are not very fast.  The course itself is in pretty good shape.  Most fairways are adjacent which allows you to hit bad shots off the tee, but recover quickly enough to still put up a good score on the hole. 

There is a driving range located directly across the street.  One negative is the distance between the Gold and Silver tee boxes.  In some cases there is more than 100 yards between them.  Black (Tips) tees have been installed to add another layer of toughness.  But if you're looking for a tough test of golf, University is not the answer.  If you want to play golf and you're cost-conscious then you won't be disappointed with this course.  

Whisper Creek Golf Course - Reviewed May 2015
The course is similar in design to the Links of Carillon, as it is also built in a Del Webb Community.  That's where the comparison ends though.  Whisper Creek is much tougher, and prettier.  Very well maintained with near perfect greens.  They aren't as fast as those at Makray, but they are in outstanding shape.  There is a lot to like about Whisper Creek including the price, because they always offer deals.  Weekend rates are normally around $60 with a cart. I think it's priced that way because of the older golfers who tend to play there.  

The clubhouse offers first class service and fairly inexpensive meals.  This past Saturday, after raking my buddies for skins money, I ordered a scrumptious Cajun Chicken Sandwich which came with fries and a bowl of soup for only $8.  The sandwich was huge, I stuffed myself trying to finish it.  There is also a large practice area, and putting green. 

Tee boxes, fairways, greens, and bunkers are all above standard and the layout of the golf course keeps you from yelling fore as the fairways are not really adjacent.  

Whitehawk Country Club - Reviewed June 2015

Located in Crown Point, Indiana, White Hawk is a gem of a course.  If it were in Illinois, it would easily approach the $75-$100 green fee that some courses charge.  The layout here is tremendous with hardly any adjacent holes.  Hit an errant tee shot, and you won't be going into another fairway for your second shot, you're gonna be dropping a provisional and hitting three.  

Whitehawk offers four sets of tee boxes on each of the four nine hole courses.  The course provides a real challenge with water, fescue and OB everywhere.  The houses surrounding much of the course are spectacular and many times you'll find yourself looking in awe at them.  Especially the one with the underground tunnel on hole 9 (Gray Course).  

The greens, fairways, and teeboxes are all top of the line.  The only negative, I can give about the course is the sandtraps, as many were marked as unplayable.  

Upon parking your car, an attendant comes out to remove your clubs from the trunk, and take them, and you, to the pro-shop.  
Green fees at Whitehawk are $59 w/cart on weekends.  And as I stated earlier.  Put this course anywhere in Illinois and its $89...easily!!  

Nothing's wrong with playing University, Deer Creek, Lincoln Oaks, or Coyote Run.  But if you want a treat, go to Whitehawk!!