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Best Public Golf Courses in Chicago

By Kris Hart

Chicago is a great market for golf and one of the most avid fan followings in the game. Many professional golf tournaments are held in the Chicago area due to the big golf fan market. Getting around to golf in Chicago can sometimes be a challenge with traffic, but the good news is there are an abundance of courses for you to choose from. Golf fans from outside Chicago know the city for some amazing private golf courses like Medinah, Chicago Golf Club and Rich Harvest Farms, but the city has some amazing public golf courses too. This article will highlight some of the best public golf courses in Chicago. To be considered for the list, courses need to be at most 45 minutes from city center since that is our barometer on how far someone would drive on a normal day to play a round of golf.

1) Cog Hill Golf & Country Club (Dubsdread) – Lemont, IL - 36 minutes from city center – “Dubs” as this course is often called is not just one of the best public golf courses in Chicago, but best public golf courses in the United States. This golf course has hosted many significant golf tournaments such as the US Amateur, US Publinks and was a stop on the PGA Tour for the BMW Championship for years. This golf course might be most famous for being part of the Tiger Woods video game series when it was popular in the early 2000s. One of the major goals of this golf course and Cog Hill (4 courses) is to provide an amazing golf facility with world class service. Dubsdred is a very challenging course and from the black tees has a rating/slope of 78/153. For those of you who do not know what this means; it is REALLY HARD. The course does provide numerous sets of tees for the enjoyment of any golfer however. Given this course is so highly-rated and a great layout, the cost to play is priced at $159 minimum, but usually in the $200+ range to play. The course is located just southwest of the city center. Learn more about Cog Hill

The Glen Club golf course near Chicago

2) The Glen Club - Glenview, IL - 34 minutes from city center – The Glen Club is conveniently located just north of city center in Chicago and is a semi-private facility. This course allows restricted public play during certain times of the week and has been ranked by many golf sources such as Golf.com and Golf Digest as one of the top public golf courses in the state of Illinois. The course was designed by Tom Fazio and was built on a naval air force base. Greens fees cost around $99 if you are able to get a tee times as a member of the public, but the course also offers a very reasonable membership. The course is often very busy which is one of the downsides, but does provide fantastic service and amenities which makes up for any potential slow play on the course. Learn more about The Glen Club

Want To Play Tournaments At Great Courses Like Cog Hill? >> Check out the  Chicago City Tour >>

3) Mistwood Golf Club – Romeoville, IL - 44 minutes from city center –If you are looking for a private club experience at a public golf course, Mistwood Golf Club is about as close as you will come. This golf course is known for a fantastic facility and white glove service. The course is inspired by Scottish culture and even has about (20) St. Andrews style pot bunkers on the course. Recently, Mistwood Golf Club was selected as Golf Magazine’s “Renovation of the Year,” one of Golf Digest’s “Best New Course,” and one of Golf Range Magazine’s “Top 50 Public Ranges.” The amenities at the course include a great golf course, large dining facility, and even a golf dome to practice all year round. The course is a little bit further from the city, but is worth the drive. As you can read in google and golf advisor, reviews of this course are typically 4-5 stars and people describe the higher price tag as worth every penny. Greens fees are about $70 on a weekday and $110 on the weekend. Learn more about Mistwood Golf Club

Cantigny Golf Club near Chicago

4) Cantigny Golf Club – Wheaton, IL - 40 minutes from city center – With 27 great holes of golf, Cantigny is always in the conversation as one of the best public golf courses in Chicago. Located directly west of city center, Cantigny offers a scenic golf course that is known for being beautifully maintained. The golf course is fun for players of all abilities given there are numerous sets of tees, but also known for the challenge it can present. The course has many accolades including hosting numerous local, regional and state events like the Illinois State Amateur most recently in 2019. Beyond a great golf course, Cantigny is a family friendly facility that offers a tremendous golf academy, many junior golf programs and even a large caddie program to introduce younger players into the game. If you want to play Cantigny, expect to pay $81 on weekdays and $100 on weekends to walk the course. Learn more about Cantigny

We hope you enjoyed this article highlighting some of the best public golf courses in Chicago. Worthy of mentioning, but located over an hour north of city center is Thunderhawk Golf Club. Thunderhawk is a great track and perfect stop if you want to get in 18 holes on your way to or from a weekend trip to Milwaukee. Given the winter weather in Chicago, you might enjoy checking out our list of the best indoor golf in Chicago for those cold winter months. 

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