Illinois, often celebrated for its iconic skyline and vibrant city life, is also home to some of the best golf courses in the United States. While the state may not always be top of mind for golf enthusiasts, its rich and diverse golfing landscape offers a delightful surprise for those in the know. From classic courses with storied histories to breathtaking modern designs, these gems showcase the best of Illinois golf. Join us on this journey as we explore the top 20 best golf courses in Illinois, where lush fairways, challenging layouts, and scenic beauty converge to create unforgettable golfing experiences.
Address: 7S771 Dugan Rd, Sugar Grove, IL 60554
Rich Harvest Farms is undeniably one of the best golf courses in Illinois. Situated in Sugar Grove, this private golf course spans an impressive 1,800 acres and boasts an 18-hole championship layout. Golf Digest recognized its excellence by including it in the list of “America’s Top 100 Golf Courses.” One of its standout features is the challenging Devil’s Elbow, known for its intimidating tree-lined tee boxes and fairways. Rich Harvest Farms has also been a gracious host, welcoming prestigious events like the Solheim Cup and the Ryder Cup Captain’s Challenge. Beyond golf, the property holds a captivating collection of antique stagecoaches and vintage vehicles, making every visit a memorable experience.
Rich Harvest Farms is a hidden gem tucked away in Sugar Grove, Illinois, offering a sprawling 1,800-acre private golf course and country club experience (source: Golf Digest).
Address: 2800 Midwest Rd, Oak Brook, IL 60523
Butterfield Country Club’s White and Blue Nines is a private gem that exemplifies the best golf courses in Illinois. Founded in 1920, this club offers a challenging yet rewarding experience. Spanning 7,109 yards with a par of 71, this course has a rich history of hosting top-tier golf events. Designed by William Langford and later refined by architects Theodore J. Moreau and Steve Smyers in 2010, it presents a blend of classic and modern golfing elements. With top-notch facilities, including a driving range, teaching pro, and indoor practice area, it’s a golfer’s paradise.
Butterfield Country Club, nestled in Oak Brook, Illinois, stands as a timeless testament to the classic elegance of golf (source: Golf Digest).
Address: 18240 E 2150th Rd, Marshall, IL 62441
Canyata Golf Club earns its spot among the best golf courses in Illinois by offering a truly exclusive experience. This private course is accessible by invitation only, making it a true golfer’s haven. It’s known for its immaculate layout, pristine conditions, and once-in-a-lifetime golfing adventure. Located in the picturesque Illinois landscape, Canyata Golf Club exemplifies the essence of private, world-class golf.
Canyata Golf Club, located amidst the picturesque landscape of Marshall County, Illinois, is a golfing oasis accessible by invitation only (source: www.canyata.com).
Address: 1890 Knollwood Rd, Lake Forest, IL 60045
Founded in 1924, Knollwood Club stands tall as one of the premier country clubs in Illinois and one of the best golf courses in Illinois. Nestled on 240 rolling acres in Lake Forest, it offers a range of elegantly traditional facilities. The crown jewel is the H.S. Colt and C.H. Alison designed golf course, a frequent choice for USGA and PGA events. Knollwood Club’s rich history in amateur golf and its commitment to hosting top-tier tournaments make it a standout in the golfing community.
Established in 1924, Knollwood Club is a prestigious country club located on 240 rolling acres in Lake Forest, Illinois (source: Golf Digest).
Address: 425 Conway Farms Dr, Lake Forest, IL 60045
Conway Farms Golf Club, designed by Tom Fazio, has etched its name among the best golf courses in Illinois. Located in Lake Forest, this private club has hosted numerous amateur championships and the PGA Tour’s BMW Championship multiple times. With a course record that stood for years, Conway Farms offers both challenge and charm. Its rich history and notable players like Jim Furyk, who shot a 59 here, make it a must-visit for golf enthusiasts.
Conway Farms Golf Club, located in west Lake Forest, Illinois, is a private golf club that has carved its place in the heart of American golf (source: Golf Digest).
Address: 12294 Archer Avenue Lemont, IL 60439
Cog Hill Golf & Country Club’s Dubsdread course is renowned as one of the best public golf courses in Illinois and the country. Nicknamed the “Patriarch of Public Golf,” it was envisioned by Joe Jemsek to rival the finest country clubs. Designed by Dick Wilson and Joe Lee, it’s been consistently ranked since its opening in 1964. Known for its natural-style championship layout, it challenges golfers with tight landing areas and undulating greens. Over the years, it has hosted numerous PGA Tour and USGA tournaments, leaving an indelible mark on the golfing world.
Cog Hill Golf & Country Club, situated in Lemont, Illinois, boasts a legendary golfing history that spans generations (source: GolfPass).
Address: 1340 Glenview Rd, Glenview, IL 60025
North Shore Country Club, located in Glenview, Illinois, boasts a rich history and a stellar reputation as one of the best golf courses in Illinois. Founded in 1900, it features an 18-hole golf course that has witnessed significant events, including the U.S. Open. Designed by Charles Allison of Colt MacKenzie and Alison, it continues to be a host site for prominent tournaments, like the Encompass Championship. With its elegant legacy and challenging layout, North Shore Country Club remains a golfing treasure.
North Shore Country Club, located in Glenview, Illinois, is a historic gem in the state’s golfing landscape (source: Golf Digest).
Address: 1120 Crofton Ave N, Highland Park, IL 60035
Bob O’Link Golf Club, originally designed by Donald Ross in 1916, underwent significant improvements in recent years to enhance its allure as one of the best golf courses in Illinois. Jim Urbina’s renovations transformed the course, improving drainage, upgrading the turf, and restoring it to its original intent. The result is a strategic and enjoyable golfing experience. With its rich history and recent revitalization, Bob O’Link Golf Club continues to captivate golf aficionados.
Bob O’Link Golf Club, founded in 1916, is a distinguished golfing destination located in Highland Park, Illinois (source: GolfPass).
Address: 2800 Country Club Dr, Olympia Fields, IL 60461
Olympia Fields Country Club, situated in Olympia Fields, Illinois, boasts two outstanding golf courses, with the South Course being the crown jewel of the club. This historic golf course, designed by the renowned architect Willie Park Jr., is a testament to classic golf architecture. The layout is known for its challenging design, demanding accuracy and skill from golfers of all levels. The South Course has a rich history of hosting significant golfing events, including the U.S. Open, the PGA Championship, and the U.S. Amateur Championship, further solidifying its reputation as a premier golfing destination.
Olympia Fields Country Club boasts two outstanding golf courses, with the South Course being the crown jewel of the club (source: Golf Week – USA Today).
The South Course at Olympia Fields Country Club features a diverse range of holes, including long par-4s, scenic par-3s, and demanding par-5s. The signature hole, the par-3 6th, is surrounded by water and provides a picturesque but challenging setting for golfers. In addition to its championship golf course, Olympia Fields Country Club offers a wide range of amenities for its members and guests.
Address: 6N001 Medinah Rd, Medinah, IL 60157
Among all Illinois golf courses, Medinah Country Club, located in Medinah, Illinois, is a golfing institution with a rich history and a legacy of hosting prestigious golf tournaments. The club is renowned for its three championship golf courses, with Course No. 1 standing as one of its crown jewels. Course No. 1 at Medinah Country Club has a storied history of hosting major golf championships, including U.S. Opens, PGA Championships, and the Ryder Cup Captain’s Challenge. The course is characterized by its challenging layout, featuring tree-lined fairways, strategic bunkering, and undulating greens. It demands precision from tee to green and has been the stage for some of the most memorable moments in golf history.
Medinah Country Club’s Course No. 1 offers golfers a classic and challenging round of golf (source: Golf Digest).
Address: 1441 Western Ave, Flossmoor, IL 60422
Flossmoor Golf Club, located in Bloom Township, Cook County, Illinois, is a golf course with a rich history and a reputation for its challenging layout. Established in 1899, it has a legacy that dates back over a century, making it one of the oldest golf courses in the Chicago area. The course at Flossmoor Golf Club has been the site of significant golf events, most notably the 1920 PGA Championship, a major championship won by golf legend Jock Hutchison. This historical event firmly established Flossmoor as a premier golfing destination.
Flossmoor Golf Club’s rich history and enduring commitment to the sport make it a cherished destination for golfers (source: flossmoorgolfclub.com).
The golf course itself is known for its traditional design, featuring tree-lined fairways, strategic bunkering, and greens that require precise putting. It’s a course that rewards shot-making skill and strategy, and it remains a challenging test for golfers of all levels.
Address: 6N001 Medinah Rd, Medinah, IL 60157
Medinah Country Club, specifically Course 3, is undeniably one of the best golf courses in Illinois. With three golf courses in a 54-hole complex, Course 3 has a rich history of hosting notable golf professionals dating back to “Lighthorse” Harry Cooper in 1930. Legends such as Gene Sarazen, Byron Nelson, Cary Middlecoff, and Tiger Woods have graced its fairways.
Medinah Country Club, specifically Course 3, is undeniably one of the top golf courses in Illinois (source: GolfPass).
The course’s design by Tom Bendelow underwent significant changes over the years, including a redesign by Roger Packard in 1986 and further alterations by Rees Jones for the 2006 PGA Championship. Course 3 boasts three stunning waterfront par-three holes and has seen its course record broken multiple times, including a remarkable 11-under 61 by Justin Thomas during the 2019 BMW Championship. Medinah’s Course 3 is a historical gem and a challenging test of golf.
Address: 2S610 Seavey Rd. Sugar Grove, IL 60554
Black Sheep Golf Club stands as one of the best golf courses in Illinois, offering a unique 27-hole private layout on the outskirts of Chicago. Designed by David Esler in 2002, the course exudes rugged beauty and challenge with its prairie-style design. Visually intimidating yet fair off the tee, Black Sheep’s true test lies in its extremely undulating green complexes, where precision is paramount.
Black Sheep Golf Club stands as one of the best golf courses in Illinois, offering a unique 27-hole private layout on the outskirts of Chicago (source: Top 100 Golf Courses).
The course’s tall fescue grass creates a picturesque “Field of Dreams” ambiance. Among its highlights, the 1st and 3rd Nines feature exceptional Par 5s and engaging Par 3s. The pristine fairways and fast, true greens complement a top-notch practice facility, including a superb driving range and short game area. Service at Black Sheep is exemplary, offering complimentary drinks and food for member guests. This tree-less gem is particularly stunning in the fall.
Address: 8700 S Western Ave, Chicago, IL 60620
Beverly Country Club, a historical cornerstone of Chicago, Illinois, is undoubtedly one of the best golf courses in Illinois. Established in 1908 and initially designed by George O’Neil, with input from Tom Bendelow, the course received a significant overhaul by legendary architect Donald Ross in 1918. Throughout its rich history, the club has been a prominent name in American golf.
Beverly Country Club, a historical cornerstone of Chicago, Illinois, is undoubtedly one of the best golf courses in Illinois (source: The Fried Egg Pro Shop).
In 2002, members embarked on a mission to fully restore and rejuvenate the course, enlisting golf course architect Ron Prichard to recapture Donald Ross’s original design concepts. Beverly Country Club is a testament to the enduring appeal of classic golf courses and their ability to evolve while preserving their architectural heritage.
Address: 2800 Country Club Dr, Olympia Fields, IL 60461
The North Course at Olympia Fields Country Club is firmly established as one of the best golf courses in Illinois, consistently ranked among the top 50 courses in the United States. Designed by Willie Park Jr. in 1923, this course has received accolades as one of Golf Digest’s “Top 100 Greatest Courses.” Park himself regarded it as one of his greatest achievements, praising its natural setting and championship-caliber layout.
The North Course at Olympia Fields Country Club is firmly established as one of the top golf courses in Illinois (source: Olympia Fields Country Club).
The course adheres closely to Park’s original design, making only subtle changes over the years. Olympia Fields North features rolling terrain and strategically utilizes Butterfield Creek, creating a challenging but picturesque golf experience. With a course record of 63, shared by Rickie Fowler and Vijay Singh, Olympia Fields North continues to captivate golf enthusiasts.
Address: 2616 York Rd, Oak Brook, IL 60523
Butler National Golf Club earns its place among the best golf courses in Illinois, showcasing a flat yet tree-lined layout designed by George Fazio in 1972. Originally York Country Club, the course transformed into Butler National in a mere two years under the supervision of Fazio’s nephew, Tom Fazio. This club hosted the PGA Tour’s Western Open for 17 years but lost the event due to its policy of not allowing female members.
Butler National Golf Club showcases a flat yet tree-lined layout designed by George Fazio in 1972. Originally York Country Club (source: All Square Golf).
In 2007, Golf Digest ranked Butler National 21st on its list of “America’s 100 Greatest Courses.” The Fazio design demands precise shot placement, with dogleg lefts dominating the layout. Water hazards and deep bunkers add to the challenge, while fast A-1 Bent grass greens require skilled reading. With its rich history, Butler National remains a notable fixture in Illinois golf.
Address: 500 Washington Ave, Glencoe, IL 60022
Skokie Country Club, situated in Glencoe, Illinois, is undoubtedly one of the best places to play golf in Illinois. Founded in 1897, this club boasts an 18-hole course measuring 7,091 yards. It has a rich history of hosting prestigious events, including the 1922 U.S. Open won by Gene Sarazen. The course’s design by Tom Bendelow was later enhanced by Donald Ross in 1914 and further improved by William Langford in 1938.
Founded in 1897, Skokie Country Club boasts an 18-hole course measuring 7,091 yards (source: Skokie Country Club).
Skokie Country Club features tree-lined fairways, undulating terrain, deep-faced bunkers, and water hazards that come into play strategically. Notable for its blend of classic architecture and natural beauty, the course has retained its timeless appeal with the removal of hundreds of trees in recent years. Skokie’s unique layout and rich history contribute to its status as one of Illinois’ premier golf destinations.
Address: 800 Old Elm Rd, Highland Park, IL 60035
Old Elm Club, an exclusive male-only club in Chicago’s north side, earns its place as one of the best golf courses in Illinois. Designed by British architect Harry S. Colt in collaboration with Donald Ross in 1913, the course has a unique design pedigree. Recent work by architect Drew Rogers has revitalized the course by removing numerous trees that had begun to affect playability. Additionally, the restoration work reinstated the rugged bunker edging typical of Colt’s designs.
Designed by British architect Harry S. Colt in collaboration with Donald Ross in 1913, Old Elm Club has a unique design pedigree (source: All Square Golf).
Old Elm Club’s scenic and challenging layout offers a distinctive golfing experience, preserving its historical significance while evolving to meet modern standards. The removal of trees has also opened up the course, allowing it to regain its original spaciousness. This commitment to maintaining the course’s integrity has solidified Old Elm Club’s reputation among the best in the greater Chicago market.
Address: 1601 Shore Acres Rd, Lake Bluff, IL 60044
Shoreacres Golf Club, located in Lake Bluff, Illinois, is an exceptional golf course that ranks among the best in the state. Known for its fascinating topography, Shoreacres was designed by Seth Raynor and features some of his iconic template holes, including the Leven, Biarritz, Double Plateau, Eden, Road, and Redan. The course takes advantage of the natural ravines that feed into Lake Michigan, creating a unique and challenging golf experience. Holes 11, 12, and 13, which play across and into ravines, stand out as one of the most distinctive stretches of golf holes anywhere. Shoreacres’ commitment to preserving its original design and natural terrain makes it a cherished destination for golf enthusiasts looking to experience classic architecture and strategic challenges.
Shoreacres Golf Club, located in Lake Bluff, Illinois, is an exceptional golf course that ranks among the best in the state (source: Golf Digest).
Address: 25W253 Warrenville Rd, Wheaton, IL 60189
Chicago Golf Club, located in Wheaton, Illinois, holds a special place as one of the best golf courses in Illinois and the central United States. Founded in 1892 by renowned course designer Charles B. Macdonald, it is the oldest 18-hole golf course in North America and was one of the founding clubs of the United States Golf Association (USGA) in 1894. With a rich history of hosting prestigious events, including multiple U.S. Opens and Walker Cups, Chicago Golf Club has stood the test of time.
Chicago Golf Club, located in Wheaton, Illinois, holds a special place as the best golf course in Illinois and the central United States (source: Golf Digest).
The club’s commitment to preserving its historic layout while adapting to modern standards has earned it a place on the National Register of Historic Places. This course continues to capture the essence of classic golf and remains a cherished fixture in American golf history.
As our exploration of the best golf courses in Illinois comes to an end, we hope you’ve been inspired to tee off at these exceptional venues. Whether you’re a seasoned golfer or just beginning your journey on the greens, Illinois offers something for everyone. And if your appetite for golfing adventures extends beyond the borders of the Land of Lincoln, be sure to visit GolfBiz’s blog for a comprehensive guide to the finest golf courses across the United States.