9 Defining Golf Adventures

Golf courses that are beautiful and challenging are among the gems in our region. These unique golf courses offer the perfect combination of scenery and adventure.

Golf courses and snowflakes share one thing in common: no two are the same.

Some courses have island greens and long, extended fairways, while others are built on the shoreline and frame some amazing scenery.

Every course, no matter its design, leaves you with a sense of adventure fulfilled. These nine Midwestern courses are sure to provide the right combination of scenery and adventure.

(Rockford Park District photo)

Aldeen Golf Club, Rockford

Rockford’s premier public course is a challenge even for the best golfers, with 62 sand bunkers, including three beach bunkers and water on 12 of 18 holes. The dreaded No. 8, with its island green, requires a pinpoint-accurate shot. Warm up or cool down at the 26-acre practice center equipped with a driving range, two short-game areas with sand bunkers that mimic the actual course, and a 14,000-square-foot putting green.

Chalet Hills Golf Club, Cary

Recognized by Golf Digest with a “4.5” star rating for public courses in the state, this pristine golf course provides a championship layout with well-maintained fairways that’s built among strategically placed hardwood trees and stunning wetlands. Beautiful lakes and ponds created by ancient glaciers signal the rugged terrain that forces golfers to carefully consider each shot on these 18 holes.

(Woodbine Bend Golf Course photo)

Woodbine Bend Golf Course, Stockton

This is the only links-style course in the Driftless region of Northwest Illinois. It’s natural terrain and landscaping helped create each hole on this par-72 course. This course has very few trees, but it boasts rolling greens, pot bunkers and native grasses. Because it’s a links-style course, Woodbine takes a lot of pride in maintaining its great turf, bunkers and greens.

Bowes Creek Country Club, Elgin

Rated as Golf Advisor’s No. 1 course in Illinois and 21st in the nation, this course combines wide-open, links-style layouts with sprawling hills and strategically placed foliage on 18 long, challenging holes.

The heartbeat of a residential country club, this course offers member-for-a-day access to the public, in addition to a full practice area with a, elevated, 30-bay driving range, practice areas and private lessons. Five sets of tees accommodates golfers of all skill levels.

(Lake Lawn Resort photo)

Majestic Oaks Golf Course at Lake Lawn Resort, Delavan, Wis.

Set along 250 plush, tree-lined acres, this nearly 100-year-old course weaves in and out of the resort’s two miles of Lake Delavan shoreline, with the scenic No. 12 hogging some of the best views.
Don’t let the course’s relatively straight fairways deceive you. Re-engineered in 1990 by golf architect Dick Nugent, this course has many stately oaks and deep bunkers to keep you guessing. Bring the kids out for family golf nights on Saturday and Sunday.

(Tanna Farms Golf Club photo)

Tanna Farms Golf Club, Geneva

From the time you leave the rustic barn-like clubhouse, bring your game. The first hole is an island green par-3, and although it’s the shortest hole, it’s also one of the hardest ahead of you.

You’ll also meet two par-5 holes each covering more than 600 yards and two par-3s that require a near-perfect shot across the water – not to mention the dastardly No. 10 that requires an opening drive onto the green (361 yards away) or a thin patch of fairway more than 100 yards from the black tees.

(St. Charles Park District photo)

Pottawatomie Golf Course, St. Charles

It’s just nine holes and a par of 35, but this scenic course set on the banks of the Fox River has many surprises up its sleeves. On at least four holes, you’ll be playing on the riverbanks, and across the course you’ll be playing wide, tree-lined fairways. While you’re on the course, be sure to check out a wooden sculpture made from a dying white oak tree by the practice green. A vintage golf bag and native wildlife, such as hawks and foxes, is carved into the sculpture.

(PrairieView Golf Club photo)

PrairieView Golf Club, Byron

Set among the rolling hills of Byron, this public par-72 course boasts a varied terrain with open, links-style holes as well as tree-lined fairways. You’ll encounter 63 bunkers, ample prairie foliage, and ponds and streams along five holes. Construction began this summer on a new TopTracer driving range that integrates ball-tracking technology and augmented reality to make a more engaging experience. The year-round space is expected to open around Thanksgiving.

(Destination Kohler photo)

The Straits at Whistling Straits, Kohler, Wis.

One of the premier championship courses in the United States, The Straits at Whistling Straits has played host to three PGA Championships and the U.S. Senior Open; the Ryder Cup comes to the course in 2020. One of two courses at this Kohler destination, the Straits delivers a classic links-style layout built right into the Lake Michigan shoreline. Accordingly, this rugged, tree-sparse layout is windswept and challenging, even to the pros.