Best Public Golf Course in Illinois

Are you trying to find the best public golf course in Illinois? If so, you have landed in the right place. Home to some of the finest food in the midwest, Illinois is somewhat underrated when it comes to golf. Other states such as Florida, Georgia, New York – to name a few have well established reputations when it comes to the best public golf courses. However, this may be misplaced. Some of the best golf courses in North America are found in Illinois and in this list I am going to share my favourites with you. 

Despite being underrated, it is worth mentioning that Illinois has a proud golfing heritage and some world-renowned courses. For example, Medinah played host to the 2012 Ryder Cup where an Ian Poulter inspired Europe cam back on the final day from 10-6 down to triumph (regardless of where your allegiance lies it is hard to deny that Poults played like a man possessed from 15 onwards on day 2).  

Whether you are a beginner looking to get started in this wonderful game, or you are a scratch golfer looking for the sternest tests – the best public golf course in Illinois has something for everything. 

So let’s dive in. 

Best public golf course in Illinois #1

Mistwood Golf Club

best golf course in Illinois

Mistwood Golf Club has been rated as one of the best new golf courses in the US. Designed by Ray Hearn this course brings a piece of Scotland’s famous St Andrew’s Old Course to the Midwest with Sod-Style wall bunkers which will challenge even the best golfers. 

This course has plenty of hazards and challenges but beginners and high handicap golfers will be able to get round as the course has 5 tee options per hole so you can play the course based on your ability. 

The signature hole is the par-3 202 yard 14th hole. This hole blends strategy, drama and beauty as your tee shot needs to carry over a body of water before having to avoid 4 bunkers which surround the back of the green. 

I rank this as the best public golf course in Illinois due to the facilities, the course and the splendid surroundings you find yourself in when walking the course.

As for the facilities, the performance centre is top of its class and the clubhouse has just been renovated to the highest standards. The course has had millions of dollars pumped into its design and construction making it a truly world class place to play a round. And the surroundings are simply majestic. Overall this is my best public golf course in Illinois. 

Par: 72

Type: Public

Length: 7005

Hole: 18

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Best public golf course in Illinois - best 9 hole

Vernon Hills Golf Course


This is a unique course in my list as it only has 9 holes. Now, don’t let this put you off as this course has loads to offer, especially for beginners and casual golfers who are looking to play a quick round on an evening. 

If you are a low handicapper you may find this course repetitive so you may want to have a look at some of the other options in this list. 

The golf course features narrow fairways and small greens which will help you develop your game and take it to the next level. The terrain is rolling with a creek that meanders into play on seven holes adding a level of challenge on those all-important approach shots. 

Par: 34

Type: Public

Length: 2836

Hole: 9

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Best public golf course in Illinois #2

The Highlands of Elgin Golf Course

This course is ideal for all golfers. If you are a beginner you will be meet with wide fairways to encourage you to take your driver off the tee box whilst low handicappers will have interesting course management decisions to ensure you go around in as low a score as possible (the tiered greens are a delight to pitch onto).

The signature hole is a brute of a par 4. The 11th hole will test your accuracy and distance off the tee. To the left is trouble in the form of a water hazard whilst a dog-leg left means that if you drive too long you will be in the thick stuff. Once you have safely negotiated the tee shot you will be challenged on your approach shot by a 2 tiered green which is defended by deep bunkers on either side. 

Overall, this is a one of the best public golf courses in Illinois.  

Par: 72

Type: Public

Length: 7000

Hole: 18

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Other courses you may like in Illinois

Prairie Bluff Public Golf Course – more information.

The Preserve of Oak Meadows – more information. 

Eagle Creek Golf Course – more information.

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