Illinois is a great place for golfers of all ages and skill levels. From championship courses that host professional tournaments to family-friendly short courses, there are plenty of options for everyone. Here we list 20 of the best golf courses in Illinois that should be on your considered list.
TPC Deere Run
TPC Deere Run is a championship-level golf course located in Silvis, Illinois, and is one of the most admired courses in the central United States. With a design that was calibrated to host professional events, TPC Deere Run is a place where the likes of tour pros compete week after week. The course is nestled along the Rock River, and the routing constantly switches directions, providing a challenging and dynamic experience for players of all skill levels.
Most holes on the course feature some degree of left-to-right or right-to-left movement, caused by doglegs and bunkers, making it an attractive test of golfing prowess. With winning scores often hovering around a remarkable 20-under, it is no surprise that the John Deere Classic continues to draw admiration from players and golf lovers alike.
Address: 3100 Heather Knoll, Silvis, IL 61282, USA
The Glen Club
Nestled in the charming Village of Golf, just a short distance from Chicago, lies Glen View Club. Established in 1897, this historic club boasts one of the country’s earliest 18-hole golf courses, offering players a challenging and rewarding experience. The course, designed by William Flynn, winds gracefully over 200 acres of rolling terrain, providing breathtaking vistas of the picturesque river and surrounding area. At the heart of the club is the grand Scottish Tudor Clubhouse, which has stood for over a century and continues to offer stunning views of the golf course.
Glen View Club has played host to a number of prestigious golf events, including the US Amateur and US Open tournaments. And for golfers looking for a unique challenge, the par threes, strategically placed to face in four different directions, offer an exciting test of skill and precision, tempered by the ever-changing winds that blow in from the nearby lake. Come discover the timeless beauty and unmatched history of Glen View Club.
Address: 2901 W Lake Ave, Glenview, IL 60026, USA
Mistwood Golf Club
Mistwood Golf Club stands out among the many prestigious public golf options available in the Chicago region. Designed by renowned architect Ray Hearn, the course takes inspiration from Scotland, evident in the 20 sod-faced pot bunkers dotting the landscape. These features provide a unique link feel to the course and present a challenge for players with wayward shots. The fairways are also shaped with plenty of contours and guarded by water hazards that add to the difficulty. Water is a constant companion throughout the course, thanks to its location based around a large lake.
Hearn’s return to the property recently to make renovations, including stretching the course beyond the 7,000-yard mark, is a testament to his continued commitment to delivering an exceptional golfing experience. One highlight of the course is the risk-reward par five at No.15, which forces players to attempt a hard dogleg left while navigating the corner of the lake. This 570-yard nail-biter presents a unique challenge for even the most seasoned golfers.
Address: 1700 W Renwick Rd, Romeoville, IL 60446, USA
Ravisloe Country Club
Ravisloe, located just 25 miles south of downtown Chicago, is a public Donald Ross design that has undergone a transformation from a private country club. This gem of a course measures in at a comfortable length of 6,300 yards and plays to a par of 70, featuring back-to-back par threes at the 6th and 7th and par fives at the 2nd and 3rd. Water only comes into play on occasion, with the pond up ahead of the 7th green and the creek meandering through the 14th and 15th holes being the only notable hazards.
The signature hole on the back nine, nestled within dense woodland, is the slightly right doglegged par five 13th. This hole is lined with bunkers on either side of the fairway and leads to an elevated green. The course concludes with three par fours, culminating in the last hole that presents more than a dozen bunkers en route to the home green. If you’re looking for a delightful round of golf, Ravisloe beckons golfers of all skill levels with its unique charm and challenging layout.
Address: 18231 Park Ave, Homewood, IL 60430, USA
Prairie Landing Golf Club
Prairie Landing is a challenging links-style golf course located in the Chicago area. Designed by renowned architect Robert Trent Jones Jr., the course features undulating greens, rolling fairways, and meandering creeks that come into play on many holes.
From the very start, players are greeted with water hazards, as the opening par four is guarded by a lake to the right off the tee and a pond to the left of the green. The fifth hole is particularly noteworthy, as players have the option to drive over the creek that runs along the left side of the fairway. With its beautiful scenery and challenging layout, Prairie Landing is a must-play for any golf enthusiast looking to test their skills.
Address: 2325 Longest Dr, West Chicago, IL 60185, USA
Stonewall Orchard Golf Club
Stonewall Orchard Golf Club, designed by renowned architect Arthur Hills, is a serene and picturesque course that offers a challenge to even the most seasoned golfers. With over half of its holes featuring water in play, players are forced to bring their A-game and demonstrate solid ball striking.
The course layout weaves its way around multiple small lakes, which add to the scenic beauty of the course. The course’s signature hole, No. 5, stands out as a reachable par five but is guarded by two centerline bunkers that require a strategic approach. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a beginner, Stonewall Orchard Golf Club’s breathtaking views, and challenging course will leave you with lasting memories.
Address: 25675 IL-60, Grayslake, IL 60030, USA
Cantigny, located in the scenic Chicago suburb of Wheaton, is a spectacular 500-acre estate that offers visitors a glimpse into Chicago’s rich cultural history. The parkland course at Cantigny, designed by the renowned golf architect Roger Packard, opened its gates in 1989 as a 36-hole facility and boasts three distinct nines: Woodside, Lakeside, and Hillside.
The course, which features intelligently-bunkered greens and spans over a dozen picturesque lakes and creeks, is a must-play destination for golf enthusiasts of all skill levels. The property’s name itself is reminiscent of the first sustained offensive that the US Army embarked on during the Great War in May of 1918 in the small French village of Cantigny. In short, Cantigny is a place where history, culture, and sport all converge into an exquisite and unique experience that visitors won’t soon forget.
Address: 27W270 Mack Rd, Wheaton, IL 60189, USA
Harborside International Golf Center
Alister MacKenzie’s famous “boomerang” green design has inspired countless golf architects to try their hand at creating their own versions. Dick Nugent was no exception, and he sought to bring his own interpretation of the concept to the Port Course at Harborside International. The crowning jewel of his efforts can be found at hole No. 15, where players are met with a 60-yard long green that curves around an enormous waste bunker. The anchor-shaped surface of the green adds to the course’s nautical theme and is a sight to behold.
This being a Cape-style par four course, it is fitting that water comes into play at the following hole, but interestingly, the pond is not necessarily the primary hazard. No. 17 is a short par four that relies more on a large sand hazard to test players’ accuracy and decision-making. It all makes for a challenging round of golf that will be cherished by experienced golfers and novices alike.
Address: 11001 S Doty Ave East, Chicago, IL 60628, USA
The Highlands of Elgin Golf Course
The Highlands of Elgin, located an hour away from downtown Chicago, is a golf course that offers a unique topography for its visitors. It boasts several interesting features, including a large lake situated in the middle of the property, with many holes sitting above it. Additionally, the course features numerous lakes and ponds, all of which come into play, and tall fescue that lines many of its holes. One of the most visually pleasing aspects of the course is the dunes-like atmosphere created for holes such as No. 4. This par three has a sizable green surrounded by bunkers and fescue, making it a challenge for golfers.
Moreover, the course’s elevation changes, which result from natural movements in the land, offer a challenging yet enjoyable golfing experience. Hole No. 11, the number one handicap, features a tee shot that requires golfers to navigate around a Cape-like layout, with the entire left side of the hole tumbling down to the property’s primary pond. Overall, the Highlands of Elgin is a beautiful course that offers a unique topography in the area, allowing golfers to enjoy a challenging game while also immersing themselves in picturesque surroundings.
Address: 875 Sports Way, Elgin, IL 60123, USA
ThunderHawk Golf Club
ThunderHawk Golf Club, situated between Chicago and Milwaukee, boasts a commitment to environmentally sustainable golf course construction that is evident throughout the course. Robert Trent Jones Jr. designed this picturesque layout offers generous fairways guarded by numerous bunkers and tall fescue, providing an exciting and challenging golfing experience.
Players can expect to encounter significant wind, making for a more open course than a typical Midwestern parkland layout. The signature hole, No. 2, offers players a choice between a safer option or a bold carry across a pond to get a better angle to the green. As the first public-access course in Illinois to receive Audubon certification, ThunderHawk Golf Club continues to set the bar high within the golfing community.
Address: 39700 Lewis Ave, Beach Park, IL 60099, USA
Shoreacres, located on Chicago’s north shore, boasts a topography that is perhaps the most fascinating upon which Seth Raynor ever created a golf course. The numerous holes that play along plateaus and over ravines that feed into Lake Michigan, such as No. 3 (Leven), No. 6 (Biarritz), No. 7 (Double Plateau), No. 8 (Eden), No. 10 (Road) and No. 14 (Redan), are unique and present a challenging playing experience. Additionally, the stretch of 11, 12, and 13, playing across a ravine, down into it, and back out again, is as unique a stretch of holes as can be found anywhere on a 100 Greatest course.
As you approach the clubhouse, you can almost feel a throwback in time to the 1920s. The course has several ravines and creeks that come into play, adding to its distinctive character. With its narrow tree-lined fairways and large, fast greens that are heavily bunkered, Shoreacres is a golf course that any true professional would relish.
Address: 1601 Shore Acres Rd, Lake Bluff, IL 60044, USA
WeaverRidge Golf Club
The WeaverRidge Golf Club, located in Illinois, is home to one of the most stunning courses to grace the United States. Designed by the talented duo of Michael Hurdzan and Dana Fry, they were able to craft a course that artfully utilizes the natural landscape of the area. With the land being a former family farm, the course transports players into a serene setting of wooded valleys, creeks, and pristine lakes. The quality of the course speaks for itself, as WeaverRidge is now ranked as one of the very best public courses in the country.
The course’s highlights include a unique start that offers two par fives within the first three holes, and an early respite in the short, par four 5th. It concludes with an unforgettable elevated tee shot on the par five 18th that is sure to leave players in awe. With exceptional attention to detail, it is no wonder why WeaverRidge Golf Club continues to be a prized gem of Illinois.
Address: 5100 N Weaverridge Blvd, Peoria, IL 61615, USA
Rich Harvest Farms
The Rich Harvest Farms course is a true gem, situated just 50 miles west of bustling Chicago and offering a peaceful respite from the city. The course is unique in that it features not only rolling hills, but also a lake, lagoons, and a creek that make for a stunning backdrop while players take their swings. The traditional nine-out, nine-back configuration of the par-72 design can be stretched to over 6,000 yards from the shortest tees, providing a true challenge for golfers of all skill levels. The course’s two driving ranges and practice areas are a testament to the dedication of the staff to creating the ultimate golfing experience.
Many have dubbed Rich Harvest Farms the “Augusta of the Midwest,” and with its meticulous polish and maintenance, it’s easy to see why. But what sets Rich Harvest apart from Augusta National is its flexibility; every hole can play differently each day, and some even offer options from different angles and pars. It’s truly a golfer’s dream come true.
Address: 2330 Granart Rd, Sugar Grove, IL 60554, USA
Shepherd’s Crook Golf Course
Shepherd’s Crook undoubtedly stands out among the courses in Top 100’s Illinois list. As one of the northernmost courses, it features the green of No. 13 coming within 40 yards of the Wisconsin state line. Beyond being a unique location, the course is also known for its challenging water hazards, which include several extended carries across ponds. However, what really makes Shepherd’s Crook stand out are the traditional burns that add an element of surprise and complexity to every game.
From the creek that sits close to the green on the 570-yard closer to the burn that crosses the fairway at par-five No. 14, players are sure to question their shots and strategy. Overall, set against the stunning natural landscape and with its blend of American and traditional design elements, Shepherd’s Crook is a must-visit golf course for any serious golfer in the Chicago area.
Address: 351 N Green Bay Rd, Zion, IL 60099, USA
The Preserve at Oak Meadows
Located just a few miles away from Chicago’s busy O’Hare Airport, the Preserve at Oak Meadows is a golf course designed to challenge players with its unique terrain. With its relatively flat layout and Salt Creek snaking through many of its holes, golfers will be required to make numerous forced carries over the surrounding marshlands. However, the course has undergone a redesign by renowned designer Greg Martin, which focused on the elevation of fairways and greens to address the past issue of over-flooding.
As a result, players can expect high-quality playing conditions on this 18-hole course. Hole number 12, for example, showcases Martin’s strategic tinkering with the property and forces players to make a tricky approach regardless of how close they come to carrying the second stretch of marsh. When playing at the Preserve, players will have to navigate these unique challenges but will ultimately be rewarded with a memorable round of golf.
Address: 900 North Wood Dale Road, Addison, IL 60101, USA
The Beverly Country Club
Established in 1908, Beverly Country Club has a rich history in golf architecture, thanks to George O’Neil and Tom Bendelow. A decade later, renowned designer Donald Ross revamped the original layout, laying the foundation for what is now a beloved course. Its popularity is not only due to the renowned designers who worked on it but also because of the unique design.
The course is set in two rectangular parcels, with the front nine holes to the north of 87th street and the back nine on the other side, bounded by Windy City suburbs. Ron Prichard’s 2002 renovation program further enhanced the course, removing trees, refurbishing bunkers and enlarging the putting surfaces. The efforts from all the designers who worked on Beverly show in the impeccable design that powers this professional-caliber golf course.
Address: 8700 S Western Ave, Chicago, IL 60620, USA
Designed by Bob Lohmann, the Merit Club is a stunning golf course with a rich history. Despite being only eight years old when it hosted the U.S. Women’s Open in 2000, it has quickly become a fan favorite. One of the unique features of the course is its gentle movement in the landscape. It offers spectacular views from various points on the layout, as the fairways have a generous width.
The course is not without its challenges because water hazards come into play frequently, and there are multiple bunkers on every hole. It’s worth noting that walking is actively encouraged, which is unusual for a modern set-up. Highlight holes include the 563-yard 3rd, which has a creek running diagonally across the fairway to connect ponds on either side of the hole. The 366-yard 6th drops twenty-five feet from tee to green. Finally, the 426-yard 14th is a favorite among golfers, with the hole doglegging right around the water.
Address: 1500 Merit Club Ln, Libertyville, IL 60048, USA
Chicago Highlands Club
Chicago Highlands has distinguished itself as one of the premier golf courses in the Chicago area, boasting one of the largest properties for an 18-hole course. Its unique feature is thanks in part to the property being situated on one of the highest points in the region. This advantage has been maximized by the course’s designer – Arthur Hills, who has utilized the terrain to craft a links-like aesthetic.
However, the most eye-catching aspect of this course is No. 9, a drivable par four perched at the highest point of the property. The alluring putting surface is set against the grandeur of America’s largest skylines, providing golfers with the bonus of magnificent views of downtown Chicago. With such an impressive course, golfers must not let the stunning views distract them from the task at hand.
Address: 2 Bluebird Trail, Westchester, IL 60154, USA
Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa
Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa boasts a stunning track in the heart of northwestern Illinois, and its General course is a standout among avid golfers. Designed by renowned architect Roger Packard, in collaboration with U.S. Open champion Andy North, the course is nestled in the rolling hills and offers breathtaking views.
The fifth hole is an amazing feat with its staggering 180 feet of elevation change. However, the signature hole of the General is the sixth, a challenging par-four that measures 440 yards. The rolling terrain defies the slope, presenting golfers with a fun and exciting challenge. With three other equally impressive courses on offer, Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa promises an unforgettable golf experience.
Address: 444 Eagle Ridge Dr, Galena, IL 61036, USA
Annbriar Golf Course
The Annbriar Golf Course is an impressive feat of design, with renowned architect Michael Hurdzan at the helm. To make this parkland facility possible, Hurdzan moved more than one million cubic yards of earth, resulting in some truly stunning features. The course boasts 115 bunkers, but don’t worry – the fairways are generally quite wide. It’s only if you’re taking a risky line that you might find yourself in one of those bunkers.
Water plays a minor role in the course’s defenses, but it does add to the aesthetic on certain holes. On the wooded areas of the course, fairways are elevated on stone walls, creating even more visual interest. And for those wondering just how long the course is, the final hole clocks in at over 600 yards. This top-tier facility is a golfer’s dream come true.
Address: 1524 Birdie Ln, Waterloo, IL 62298, USA
The courses mentioned in this article are just some of the many gems in Illinois, and they provide a nice mix of parkland and links-style options. Whether you’re looking for an opportunity to hone your skills or take in some stunning views, there’s something here for everyone. So grab your clubs and head out to one of these amazing courses to experience a truly unique golfing experience in Illinois.