11 amazing courses that prove Illinois is underrated as a golf destination

Skokie Country Club

Illinois boasts an incredible array of courses across multiple metropoles and might just be a contender for the most underrated golf destination.

The state has some great public and private golf courses, meaning visitors certainly won’t lack for a good round.

Here we look at a sampling of the best courses in Illinois.

Medinah No 1

The remodeling of the No 1 course at Medinah in 2014 was heralded as the beginning of a new era for the club and Tom Doak delivered a masterwork.

A great walking course with generous fairways and challenging greens, Medinah No 1 is a major Illinois drawcard and a stunning parkland course.

The course plays at a good pace, although some members still don’t like the challenge level of the greens.

Flossmoor

Another classic parkland course that attracts visitors from all over the world is Flossmoor.

Founded in 1899, Flossmoor was one of the first golf clubs established in the Midwest.

Ray Hearn redesigned the course in 2006 with the historic layout largely preserved although certain unpopular elements were removed.

Medinah No 3

Medinah No 3 is scheduled to host the 16th edition of the Presidents Cup in 2026.

Originally laid out as the ladies’ course at the club in 1928, it has been significantly altered over the years.

Another Illinois parkland marvel Medinah No 3 is the club’s real gem.

Black Sheep

The ancient 285-acre property on which the 27 holes were routed was covered with 140 acres of native prairie grasses and wildflowers.

The goal was to reconstruct the terrain to resemble Native Americans’ pre-settlement environment, and the outcome is striking.

The laidback atmosphere of the club is a plus with the natural beauty of the setting a real highlight.

Beverly Country Club

The original golf course at Beverly was designed by architect Tom Bendelow and the club’s first professional, George O’Neil, when it was founded in 1908.

After 10years, Donald Ross altered the course, and the rest is golfing history.

Unusually, the course is divided into two rectangular parcels because it is surrounded by Windy City suburbs on all sides. Beverly is a great example of a designer making the most of the land available to build a course.

Olympia Fields North

The No 4 course was created by Willie Park Junior and is currently referred to as the North.

Although Mark Mungeam extended the course and enhanced the bunkers throughout the 1990s, the current layout—which also held the 2003 US Open Championship—remains essentially a Willie Park Junior design.

It makes sense that one of Jim Furyk’s favourite courses is Olympia Fields after his heroics at the course.

Butler National

The course was created by George Fazio and his nephew Tom Fazio and was first playable in the early 1970s.

The majority of the holes are lengthy and bordered by trees, and a few artificial water hazards increase the level of difficulty.

The tiny, strangely shaped greens, many of which are offset to the fairway, provide the true danger to par at this location. Approach and recovery shots are therefore crucial.

Skokie

The original Skokie Country Club was a nine-hole course that Thomas Bendelow built in 1904. Following the renowned architect’s 1914 visit to the club, Skokie was given the Donald Ross brand, which included the addition of archetypal bunkering and domed greens.

Of the Bendelow layout, he retained just the eighth hole.

William Langford and Theodore Moreau were hired to remodel Skokie in the late 1930s once additional property was acquired, keeping in mind Donald Ross’s initial goals. They kept about half of the Ross holes. Although Rees Jones made a few minor adjustments in the early 1980s, the course that is now being played at Skokie is mostly based on the style and resemblance of Langford and Moreau.

Old Elm

Built by Donald Ross and designed by Harry Colt, Old Elm is in immaculate shape and has some of the best green spaces in North America.

An underrated gem among an underrated golfing state’s very best courses, this a treat for anyone who gets to play.

It is one of the more challenging courses on the list with smaller greens that are also very tough to read.

Shoreacres

If you like a course that plays firm and fast then Shoreacres will be your kind of place.

The route is distinct and difficult, with several streams and ravines that must be navigated.

At Shoreacres, accuracy is more crucial than length due to the course’s huge, fast, heavily bunkered greens and tight fairways flanked with trees.

Chicago Country Club

The granddaddy of Illinois golf is Chicago Country Club, a venue that demands a visit.

Unfortunately, you’ll need to be in the know to play Chicago CC as it is now a private club.

It is a place that is truly a dedicated shrine to golf in the city.

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