The Best Public Golf Courses in Illinois

Published on 06/13/2023 · 8 min readLooking for somewhere new and exciting to golf this season in the state of Illinois? Check out these ten recommendations from Golf Expert Andrew Howard.
Andrew Howard, Golf Expert
By Golf Expert Andrew Howard

Photo by Dean Kiep

This list of the top public courses in Illinois is in no particular order. It is important to take into consideration that all golfers have different expectations of golf courses, as each has something unique to offer, and beauty is in the eyes of the beholders! That said, here are a few of the top public courses that Illinois has to offer, whether you are traveling or live here already. Note that each course has a practice range available for those who prefer to warm up before their round. Let’s get started!

Most Famous: Cog Hill Golf & Country Club #4, Dubsdread

Cog Hill Golf Course. Photo courtesy of Your Golf Travel

Course Stats

  • Location: Lemont (28 miles from Chicago)
  • Holes: 18 Holes (72 Holes, 4 courses total)
  • Par: 72
  • Rating: 77.8
  • Slope: 151
  • Yardage: 7554

The ever-so-famous #4 course at Cog Hill, known far and wide as Dubsdread, is a championship course that serious golfers near the Chicago area will need to play at least once. The rich history on these golf grounds includes five of Tiger Woods’ wins on the PGA Tour, including his 71st win at the ‘09 BMW Championship.

It is difficult not to think about the great names of golf while you are teeing it up at this immaculate golf course. It has a challenging layout with a high course rating of 77.8 and a slope of 151, featuring plenty of bunkers, tricky greens, trees, and tough pin positions. Take advantage of the front nine to get a low score in, as the back nine becomes increasingly more difficult with tighter tee shots. Enjoy!

Hidden Gem: PrairieView Golf Club, Byron

Course Stats

  • Location: Byron (97 miles from Chicago)
  • Holes: 18
  • Par: 72
  • Rating: 74.1
  • Slope: 138
  • Yardage: 7047

PrairieView Golf Club is a diamond in the rough that is worth the drive! While it is likely you will have an hour or longer drive, depending on where you are coming from, it does not take away from a great quality course. The quick greens coupled with some fairly challenging shots into par 5s could make for a challenging day. Target golf skills are important at this golf course because there is a fair amount of trouble you can get into on various holes. You won’t be disappointed making the drive out to find this hidden gem!

Best Value: Aldeen Golf Club, Rockford

Course Stats

  • Location: Rockford (82 miles from Chicago)
  • Holes: 18
  • Par: 72
  • Rating: 74.4
  • Slope: 141
  • Yardage: 7131

Aldeen Golf Club has long been a top public course that provides excellent value and a challenging course design that will have you coming back for more! The course is a testing one, starting with the first hole, where you’re faced with deciding if you need to layup or if you can go for the green in two shots. If the pin is in the back, it will be especially difficult to access due to the large shelf that is perched on. Because of the trickiness of the greens, it is important to put yourself in good positions on nearly every hole. As a bonus, the practice center is a large facility that offers a pair of chipping greens, a putting green, and a full range with plenty of targets to aim at. All in all, it’s a great golf experience!

Best for Day Trip with Friends: TPC Deere Run, Silvis

Course Stats

  • Location: Silvis (162 miles from Chicago)
  • Holes: 18
  • Par: 71
  • Rating: 74.8
  • Slope: 142
  • Yardage: 7066

Anytime TPC is in the name of the course you already know it is going to be an awesome course. TPC Deere Run hosts the John Deere Classic each year on the PGA Tour. You may remember a young Jordan Spieth holing out on the 18th hole to force a playoff in 2013; what a moment!

Even though the professional golfers tear this course apart, it can be a bit of a challenging course with some narrow tee shots and a fair amount of out of bounds. However, there are plenty of scoring opportunities, as the par 5s aren’t too long. This is great for a trip with friends on a Saturday or Sunday. Take advantage of their replay opportunities by playing a round in the morning and one in the afternoon! Enjoy!

Best New Course: The Glen Club, Glenview

Course Stats

  • Location: Glenview (23 miles from Chicago)
  • Holes: 18
  • Par: 72
  • Rating: 74.9
  • Slope: 141
  • Yardage: 7170

If you want to watch the Korn Ferry Tour pros play the Glen Club before you do, they are playing it from May 26th-May 29th (get your tickets now!). The golf course itself provides excellent aesthetics, great conditions, and is well manicured. It is a must-play and well worth the price—if you are questioning it, go out there and play it! It will provide a challenge to all golfers, but the most important thing is to enjoy this experience because you may only do it once or twice.

Course Stats

  • Location: Romeoville (30 miles from Chicago)
  • Holes: 18
  • Par: 72
  • Rating: 74.7
  • Slope: 144
  • Yardage: 7040

Are you looking for a Scottish links experience but don’t want to travel across the pond? I have the perfect solution for you: head to Romeoville and play Mistwood Golf Club! It is regarded as one of the top links-style golf courses in all of Illinois, and it provides an excellent challenge. At Mistwood, with its rolling fairways and sod bunkers, you need not look any further to get that Scottish golf feeling. Be sure to check out their Performance Center as well.

Best Practice Facility: Prairie Landing, West Chicago

Course Stats

  • Location: West Chicago (41 miles from Chicago)
  • Holes: 18
  • Par: 72
  • Rating: 74.0
  • Slope: 137
  • Yardage: 7042

Prairie Landing Golf Club is a links-style golf course that is always in great condition. It features a challenging design with plenty of water around the entire course. It is important to be strategic on your shots in order to manage your round wisely. Prairie Landing not only features a great golf course but also an extensive practice facility that is included in your purchase of range balls. Additionally, you get to play two practice par 4s for about three hours. Take advantage of the opportunity to practice at Prairie Landing before, after, or between rounds.

Best Views: Highlands of Elgin, Elgin

Course Stats

  • Location: Elgin (45 miles from Chicago)
  • Holes: 18
  • Par: 72
  • Rating: 73.8
  • Slope: 136
  • Yardage: 7000

The Highlands of Elgin is a fabulous links-style golf course that was built on a stone quarry. The topography makes for well-designed holes and picturesque views. This is a unique links-style experience that you simply can not pass up, especially if you are a golfer who loves a beautiful golf course with elevation changes and gorgeous views. It is right across from Elgin Community College, you can’t miss it!

Best Greens: Blackstone Golf Club, Marengo

Course Stats

  • Location: Marengo (57 miles from Chicago)
  • Holes: 18
  • Par: 72
  • Rating: 73.1
  • Slope: 140
  • Yardage: 6734

Blackstone is a great course out in Marengo that has quick greens that you need to be careful with. Don’t let this course fool you—even though it is not a long golf course, it can be a bit challenging. Carefully placed tee shots will be rewarded as this is not so much a bomber’s course. Accuracy is a huge key when playing Blackstone because without it you might be emptying your bag of golf balls! Once you get on the greens, you will appreciate the smooth quick surfaces that you are putting on. Enjoy the golf experience here at Blackstone Golf Club—but bring plenty of balls!

Most Family Friendly: Eagle Ridge – The General, Galena

Course Stats

  • Location: Galena (160 miles from Chicago)
  • Holes: 18 (54 for the entire resort)
  • Par: 72
  • Rating: 72.8
  • Slope: 137
  • Yardage: 6726

Not only is playing The General—the signature golf course at the Eagle Ridge Resort—a blast, but there are also plenty of summer activities and year-round activities for the non-golfers in the family too! In addition, the course is nothing to shrug your shoulders about either! There are plenty of picturesque views, as it is set within a vast amount of beautiful trees. This is a beautiful course that was carved out through nature, and a perfect weekend getaway for the whole family to enjoy!

If you and your friends are looking for new equipment be sure to check in with a Golf Expert here on Curated for the best prices and expert advice! Happy golfing everyone!

Andrew Howard, Golf Expert
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Andrew Howard
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