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Fall Color Report

Get in the Swing of Things

by Jerry Koncel

It is time to start playing your best golf ever. Get into the swing of things by playing the many wonderful courses in the Chicago area. No matter who you are or where you live, now is the time to be playing golf.

The weather is hot and humid, the courses are in great shape, the rates for seniors are becoming more and more affordable, and the long days offer playing opportunities both in the morning and late into the evening.

I've said before and I'll say it again because it bears repeating: The Chicago area has the best assemblage of public and private golf courses of any major metropolitan area in the nation. Now is the time to take advantage of the many different courses available to the public. Let me share with you a few of the public courses that I have played and really enjoyed, beginning in Indiana and stretching to Wisconsin. I cannot mention them all, so if you have some favorites that I do not mention, let me know about them and why you like them.

Beginning in Indiana, I really was impressed with Blackthorn in South Bend, Whittaker Woods, which is actually in Michigan, continuing to the Brassie Golf Club in Chesterton, and extending to White Hawk in Crown Point.

As you cross the state line into Illinois, you can head south to Balmoral Woods, north to Harborside International's 36 holes, and southwest to Deer Creek, Coyote Run, and Glenwoodie. If you are adventurous, head to Kankakee and the Elks Club Golf Course. George Dunne National is one of the best forest preserve or county courses in the area, and Ravisloe is a former private course designed by famed architect Donald Ross that is now open to the public.

Having grown up in the southwest suburbs, I have a real fondness for the courses in this area. At the top of my list is Dubsdread and the 72 holes at Cog Hill, the 36 holes at Gleneagles to the 45 holes at Silver Lake. And, off the top of my head, there's the Odyssey in Tinley Park, the Sanctuary in Mokena, Mistwood in Romeoville, Bolingbrook in Bolingbrook, Springbrook in Naperville, Tamarack in Naperville, Seven Bridges in Lisle, Big Run in Lockport, the Links at Carillon, and many more.

We can't leave the southwest suburbs without mentioning course a little farther south and west, including Wedgewood and the municipal courses in Joliet, Heritage Bluffs in Channahan, Nettle Creek in Morris and Cinder Ridge in Coal City.

In the western suburbs, there's the 36 holes at St. Andrew's, Orchard Valley in Aurora, Klein Creek in Winfield, Cantigny in Winfield, Arrowhead in Wheaton, Oak Brook in Oak Brook, Prairie Landing in DuPage County, Mill Creek in Geneva, Oak Meadows in Elmhurst, along with Village Links in Glen Ellyn, the Highlands in Elgin and Bowes Creek in Kane County.

In the northwest suburbs, there are a plethora of courses to choose from ranging from municipal courses, such as Schaumburg; Fox Run in Elk Grove Village, Palatine, and Bloomingdale; the Arboretum to the Golf Club of Illinois; Stonewall Orchard; Foxford Hills; Chalet Hills; Makray Memorial; Highland Woods; Steeple Chase; Pine Meadows; and so many more that my mind is spinning.

And, as we head into the Northern suburbs, there are outstanding municipal courses in Deerfield, Wilmette and Lake Bluff. Add to the list Thunderhawk, Shepherd's Crook, Sunset Valley. White Deer Run, Oak Grove, and Plum Tree National.

I could go on and on, including the courses in Lake Geneva, Erin Hills, site of the 2017 U.S. Open, in Janesville, WI, and Weaver Ridge in Peoria, but the message to you is clear—enjoy the summer by playing any of the courses in our area.

Jerry Koncel is a freelance writer and avid golfer who has played the game for more than 50 years. He welcomes your questions and comments, as well as your suggestions for future columns. Please send him an e-mail to:

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