By Jim Zuccarelli

October is here and most area courses are offering reduced green fees up to the end of the year, and the cool fall water is the perfect respite from the summer heat to enjoy the fabulous golf found in the Windy City.  Whether you’re looking to play one of the more expensive layouts at a budget friendly discount, or just want to get in a few final rounds at your local links, there is still plenty of time before winter takes hold.

Almost every course will have fall rates in play by mid-October, so check online or call for current prices.  Here are a handful of my personal favorites for late season Chicago golf:

NORTH/NORTHWEST

9th Hole Bonnie BrookBONNIE BROOK (Waukegan) – Classic parkland course dates back to the 1920’s and provides a refined, affordable far north shore round.  Current Online Fall Rates – M-F $29 – $40; SA-SU $20 – $44

FOXFORD HILLS (Cary) – This 7,000 yard par 72 layout seamlessly mixes prairie elements with thick woods and plenty of elevation change. Current Online Fall Rates M-TH $39 w/c, F-SU $50 – $69 w/c

GOLF CLUB OF ILLINOIS (Algonquin) – Once fearsome course has been softened by the removal of some of the fescue, but the par 71 layout still has plenty of bite and is a top fall play.  Posted Fall Rates – M-F $25 walk/39 ride to 1 pm, $16/30 after 1 pm  SA-SU $36/50 to 1 pm, $26/40 after 1 pm

OAK GROVE (Harvard) – Located on the outer fringes of the Windy City, but worth a drive to the Wisconsin border to experience this scenic 7,000 yard layout.  Current Online Fall Rates –  M-F $39 w/c, SA-SU $49 w/c

SCHAUMBURG – Baer, Player’s and Tournament Nines all make for an entertaining 18 holes at this refined park district facility.  M-F Mid $40’s w/c, SA-SU Mid 50’s w/c

SHEPHERD’S CROOK (Zion) – Prairie links style layout in the shadow of the Wisconsin border is an excellent fall choice.  Current Online Fall RatesM-F $35 w/c to Noon, $30 after Noon  SA-SU $40 w/c to Noon, $30 after Noon

18th Hole Whisper CreekWHISPER CREEK (Huntley) – Billy Casper designed this Audubon certified, championship 18 in the vast Sun City neighborhood in Huntley. Current Online Fall Rates –  M-F $39 & Under w/c; SA-SU $57 & Under w/c

 

WEST

EAGLEWOOD (Itasca) – The par 72 layout at the Eaglewood resort is short on distance but long on fun, and 65 deep bunkers and several ponds make it a worthy challenge for all.  Posted Fall Rates – $40 w/cart weekdays, $45 w/c weekends

HIGHLANDS OF ELGIN – Dynamic, top rated links layout at its best around the quarry lake centerpiece.  Posted Fall Rates – Weekdays – $30 walk / 49 ride, $20 / 39 after 2 pm;  Weekends – $40 / 59 to Noon, $30 / 49 to 2 pm, $20/39 after 2

INDIAN LAKES (Bloomingdale) – The renovated BlackHawk Trace facility at the Hilton resort features the interchangeable Island / Woodland / Highland nines, all good plays.  Fall Rates – M-F $40 w/c  SA-SU $51 w/c

17th Hole Orchard ValleyORCHARD VALLEY (Aurora) – Architect Ken Kavanaugh adds visual appeal with intricate bunkering and several risk/reward opportunities along the edges of the lake at this highly regarded layout. Current Online Fall RatesM-F $41 w/c, SA-SU $59 w/c

PRAIRIE LANDING (West Chicago) – Upscale Robert Trent Jones Jr. links course offers a perfect fall round.  Current Online Fall Rates – M-F $35 w/cart  SA-SU $54 w/cart

SETTLER’S HILL (Batavia) – Great variety with woodlands, prairie and plenty of elevation change on the far west suburban track.  Current Online Fall Rates – M-F $35 w/cart  SA-SU $45 w/cart

ST. ANDREWS (West Chicago) – Choose between the Jemsek and St. Andrews courses, both classic parkland layouts, at this old school facility on Route 59. Posted Fall Rates – M-F $20 walk / 31.50 ride to 9 am, $30 / 41.50 to Noon, $25 / 36.50 to 2 pm, $20 / 31.50 after 2 SA-SU – $40 / 51.50 to 11 am, $34 / 45.50 to 1 pm, $28 / 39.50 after 1 pm

VILLAGE LINKS OF GLEN ELLYN – New clubhouse adds to the ambiance of this excellent, tournament worthy west suburban layout.  Fall Rates – Contact course for current rates

6th Hole Willow CrestWILLOW CREST (Oak Brook) – The Oak Brook Hills Hilton resort course is a compact, par 70 layout with 6 top shelf par three’s.  Posted Fall Rates – Weekdays $58 w/cart, $48 after 1:30, Weekends $64 w/c, $48 after 1:30; After Oct 19th – $48 w/c, $38 after 1 pm Daily

 

SOUTH/SOUTHWEST

BALMORAL WOODS (Crete) – A top destination in the Far South suburbs is a winding, wooded odyssey.  The par five 7th hole is one you won’t forget.  Fall Rates – Contact course for current rates

BIG RUN (Lockport) – Dramatic elevation change and big vistas dominate at southwest suburban landmark.  Legendary 600 yard, uphill 9th hole is one of the hardest par 5’s in the Windy City.  Posted Fall Rates (starts October 12) – $40 w/c, $35 twilight, $33 Seniors (weekdays only)

15th Hole BolingbrookBOLINGBROOK – Respected architect Arthur Hills turned a corn field into an upscale prairie playground with all the bells and whistles, including a massive clubhouse.  Current Online Fall RatesM-TH $69 w/cart to 1 pm, $55 after 1 pm  F-SU $79 to 10 am, $65 to 1 pm, $50 after 1 pm

BROKEN ARROW (Lockport) – South / East nines is the regular 18 hole routing, but the quirky double green North nine is worth a play at this moderately priced 27 hole facility.  Fall Rates –  Contact course for current rates

COYOTE RUN (Homewood) – Greg Martin redesign of the old Cherry Hills layout is a huge upgrade and a personal favorite.  Fast and smooth greens are among best in south suburbs.    Posted Fall RatesM-F $30 walk / 44 ride, $23 / 33 after 2 pm   SA-SU $40 / 54, $28 /38 twilight

GEORGE DUNNE (Oak Forest) – One of the best designs in the Windy City is also one of the hardest on a beautiful slice of secluded, south suburban forest preserve.  Fall Rates – Contact course for current rates

16th Hole GlenwoodieGLENWOODIE (Glenwood) – Updated clubhouse adds to the ambience at this solid park district layout.  Monster 16th hole is commonly included in lists of toughest par 4’s in Chicagoland.  Posted Fall RatesM-F $20 walk / 29 ride to Noon, $17 / 23 after Noon SA-SU $27 / 36 to Noon, $21 / 28 after Noon

SANCTUARY (New Lenox) – Challenging links with large doses of prairie and water just north of Route 30.  Posted Fall Rates – M-F $20 walk / 30 ride  SA-SU $30 walk / 40 ride

SILVER LAKE (Orland Park) – Many South Siders (including myself) learned to play at this 45 hole, Orland Park favorite.  New driving range is a welcome addition.  Posted Fall RatesM-F $27 walk/44 ride, $16/26 twilight, Seniors $19/36  SA-SU $33/50

WATER’S EDGE (Worth) – Plenty of good holes at this south suburban track built on reclaimed land along the banks of the Cal-Sag canal.  Fall Rates – Contact course for current rates

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