Best Golf Courses in Chicago Land?

Golfing the best in Chicagoland is very much a private affair. Checkout these clubs and dream of getting an invitation to play, although we did manage to mix in some very fine public courses.

1. Medinah Country Club

This top-rated course is also one of the most famous -- and exclusive. With three, world-renowned courses having played host to three U.S. Opens, two PGA Championships, a U.S. Senior Open and the 2012 Ryder Cup, your chance of running into legends from the world of golf, film, tv, politics or a professional athlete are usually pretty good.

Medinah Country Club Chicago IL

Phone: 630-773-1700

Cost: Private Membership

2. Butterfield Country Club

This course was established in 1920, during the Golden Age of Golf. It was designed by renowned golf course architect William Langford. Former Dallas Cowboys player and Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka is one of the club's most prominent members. During 2014, Butterfield was awarded elite Platinum Club status, which is presented to only 4% of the Clubs in the nation.

Butterfield Country Club Chicago IL

Phone: 630-323-1000

Cost: Private Membership

3. Butler National Golf Club

Designed by George & Tom Fazio, this club was home to the PGA Tour's Western Open from 1974-1990. The course policy of not allowing female members caused the club to lose the Western Open. Women are still not allowed. Golf Digest rates this course 54th on the "100 Greatest" list.

Butler National Golf Club Chicago IL

Phone: 630-990-3333

Cost: Private Membership

4. Olympia Fields Country Club

The club was founded in 1915. The North Course was designed by two-time British Open champion Willie Park, Jr., and Tom Benedelow designed the South Course. The North Course has been selected for 20 straight years as a Top 100 course by Golf Digest. The club has played host to 2 US Opens, 2 PGA Championships, 5 Western Opens, 1 U.S. Amateur Championship and a US Senior Open. Famous players such as Walter Hagen, Johnny Farrell, Jack Nicklaus, Sam Snead and Jim Furyk all have hoisted trophies on the North Course's 18th green. The club hosted the U.S. Amateur in August 2015, and will host the KPMG Women's PGA Championship in June 2017. The club's signature hole is the 444-yard par 4, 14th.

Olympia Fields Country Club Chicago IL

Phone: 708-283-7663

Cost: Private Membership

5. Chicago Golf Club

Home to the oldest 18-hole course in North America, this club was one of the five original clubs which founded the United States Golf Association in 1894. The club's founder, Charles B. Macdonald, won the first official U.S. Amateur Championship in 1895. Macdonald designed the links-style layout himself. And, since he was a chronic slicer, he routed the holes so that both nines would play in clockwise fashion to mitigate the effect of his slice. Once the private land adjacent to the course became developed, a new rule was needed for errant golf balls leaving the premises. The United States Golf Association Rule of Golf for "Out Of Bounds" (27-1) had its origin at Chicago Golf Club. The club’s members range from actor Chris O’Donnell, to former ServiceMaster chief executive Jonathan P. Ward, to former Amoco chairman H. Laurence Fuller. Chicago Golf Club hosted the first U.S. Open and first U.S. Amateur in 1897 and also hosted U.S. Opens in 1900 and 1911. The first U.S. Senior Women's Open, though, will be the first USGA event at the club since the 2005 Walker Cup matches and first individual national championship since the U.S. Senior Amateur in 1979. Chicago Golf Club, in Wheaton, was recently named as the first site of the U.S. Senior Women's Open. It'll be played July 12-15, 2018.

Chicago Golf Club Chicago IL
no website

Phone: 630-668-2000

Cost: Private Membership

6. Rich Harvest Farms

The ultra-private, members only facility is home to the Kids Golf Foundation of Illinois. Rich Harvest Links is also the home of the Northern Illinois University Huskies Men’s & Women’s Golf Teams. The course has earned many distinct honors including consistently being named one of Rolex’s “World’s Top 1,000 Golf Courses” and Golf Digest’s ”America’s 100 Greatest Golf Courses.” Golf Digest also honored Rich Harvest Farms in 1999, by naming it the 5th Best New Private Course in the United States The signature hole is the 545-yard, par 5 9th (Covered Bridge). The club will play host to the NCAA Division I National Championship for both men and women in 2017.

Rich Harvest Farms Chicago IL

Phone: 630-466-7610

Cost: Private Membership

7. Shore Acres

This course is ranked 92nd on Golf Digest's 2013-14 Top 100 Greatest Golf Courses in America and 7th in the state of Illinois. Signature Hole:  12th - 133 Yard Par 3.

Shore Acres Chicago IL

Phone: 847-234-1470

Cost: Private Membership

8. Thunderhawk Golf Club

Recognized as one of the finest public golf courses in the Midwest, perhaps the entire country. Through the years Golf Digest, Golfweek and Golf Magazine have written rave reviews of this Robert Trent Jones Jr.-designed masterpiece. The course is also recognized by the Audubon Society as a Signature Sanctuary Course, for all of the amazing wildlife found in abundance. Thunderhawk ends with its signature hole, a three-shot par-5 which cuts back to the left twice. The tee shot should be aimed to the right of the bunker close to 230 yards out. The second shot should be left, short of the hazard which crosses the fairway about 100 yards from the raised green. The small green awaits with bunkers to the right. Like the rest of the course, birdies here are tough to come by but are well rewarded.

Thunderhawk Golf Club Chicago IL

Phone: 847-968-4295

Cost: $55-$89

9. Cog Hill Golf & Country Club

In 1926-27, a golf course was built by manual labor and horse-drawn equipment. Men filled a scoop with two handles to move dirt and the horse would pull the scoop to an elevation they created and the men then molded and sculpted the dirt into a green. Mowers were pulled by horses. The back-breaking work produced the original Cog Hill No. 1. It opened on the 4th of July weekend in 1927. David McIntosh and Bert Coghill worked together to design and build the original Course No. 2, which opened on Thursday, Oct. 24, 1929, just before the Tuesday, Oct. 29 Black Tuesday crash of the stock market and the start of the Great Depression. Despite the twelve years the depression persisted, the golf course prospered. Over the years, many National Championships have been contested at Cog Hill.  They include the 1970 and 1989 USGA Men's Public Links Championship, the 1987 United States Women's Public Links Championship,  and the 1988 Western Junior.  In 1991, the Western Golf Association brought the Western Open to Dubsdread, bringing the top PGA Tour stars, such as Tiger Woods, a five-time winner. 

Cog Hill Golf & Country Club Chicago IL

Phone: 866-264-4455

Cost: $10-$26

10. Conway Farms Golf Club

Conway Farms Golf Club opened for play on August 3, 1991. The Tom Fazio award-wining course sits on 209 acres in Lake Forest, Illinois and is designed around the traditions of Scottish links golf.  Conway is dedicated to the protection and preservation of the game of golf, encouraging walking, fast play, and the strong support of amateur golf.  Our Founders and others who participated in the initial development of Conway Farms Golf Club were guided by sustaining golf's oldest and finest traditions.  Over the years, the Club has hosted and/or will host the following tournaments: 1998 Women's Western Junior, 1997 Men's NCAA Division I Championship, 1998 USGA Junior Amateur Championship, 2002 AJGA Canon Cup, 2006 Big Ten Championship, 2006 AJGA Canon Cup, 2007 Open Qualifier, 2008 US Open Sectional Qualifying, 2009 Western Amateur, 2012 US Mid-Amateur Championship, 2013 BMW Championship, 2015 BMW Championship, 2017 BMW Championship.

Conway Farms Golf Club Chicago IL

Phone: 847-234-6979

Cost: Private Membership

11. Skokie Country Club

In 1843, President John Tyler granted, through purchase, a large tract of land to a man named Marcus Gormley. In 1897 a piece of the property was purchased by a group of Chicago businessmen who had come together to form a golf club. The land stood atop a ridge and overlooked a broad oak savannah plain and in the distance, a wetland area. This portion, known as the “Skokie”, probably got its name from a Potawatomi Indian word for swamp or marsh. From this came “The Links of Skokie Country Club.” In 1922 Skokie was chosen to host the U. S. Open. Called the “National Open” at the time, a first-ever admission fee of $1 was charged. With the best golfers of the day including Walter Hagen, John Black and Robert Trent (Bobby) Jones, it drew 15,000 spectators, the largest crowd in Open history to that point. A 20-year-old former caddie named Gene Sarazen won the tournament with a birdie 4 on the par 5 18th hole. The signature hole is No. 3, 570 yards, par 5.

Skokie Country Club Chicago IL


Phone: 847-835-0600

Cost: Private Membership

12. Knollwood Club

Founded in 1924, located on 240 rolling acres in Lake Forest, Illinois, Knollwood Club is one of the premier country clubs in Illinois. The centerpiece of the Club is the H.S. Colt and C.H. Alison designed golf course, chosen several times as a championship level course for USGA and PGA events.

Knollwood Club Chicago IL

Phone: 847-234-1600

Cost: Private Membership

13. Merit Club

The course was founded in 1992 by Bert Getz Sr. and his family and was collaboratively designed by Getz, Oscar Miles, Bob Lohmann and Ed Oldfield. The course architect was Bob Lohmann. Merit Club hosted the U.S. Women's Open in 2000, won by Karrie Webb. It was ranked in the top 100 golf courses in the United States by both Golf Week and Golf Magazine. The Merit Club hosted the second edition of the LPGA UL International Crown on July 21 through July 24, 2016, won by the United States.

Merit Club Chicago IL

Phone: 847-918-8800

Cost: Private Membership

14. Beverly Country Club

The rich history of this club includes playing host to four Western Open championships (1910, 1963, 1967 and 1970) and one National Amateur championship (1931). Its champions includes legends such as Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Francis Ouimet and Chick Evans.  Beverly also holds the distinction of hosting three Women’s Western Open championships (1937,1960 and 1965). The women’s course record is 69 by Susie Maxwell, and previous holders of the record included Patty Berg and Babe Didrickson. Storied amateur champion Virginia Van Wie was a longtime member of the club.  Beverly also hosted the 1943 Chicago Victory National Open Championship, a wartime substitute for the National Open. Championship golf returned to Beverly in 1999 when the rejuvenated Chicago Open came to the South Side for a three-year run, with PGA Tour star Luke Donald winning in 2000. The competitive course record is 64, set by Tom Weiskopf in 1967, breaking Tommy Armour’s 65 which had stood since 1928.

Beverly Country Club Chicago IL

Phone: 708-636-8700

Cost: $110-$120

15. Flossmoor Country Club

Founded on July 8, 1899 as Homewood Country Club, Flossmoor was one of the first clubs in the Midwest. The course has played host to several PGA Championships and the 1923 U.S. Amateur tournament. The signature hole is No. 8, a par 4 of 461 yards.

Flassmoor Country Club Chicago IL

Phone: 708-798-4700

Cost: Private Membership

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