Forest Preserve Golf Promotes Fun & Conservation in Chicago
In the early part of the 20th century, Chicago’s city planners made a point of promoting and protecting green space in the ‘Windy City’ and surrounding suburbs. This green space started in the form of city parks and has expanded today into a much larger network that includes golf courses under the Forest Preserve District of Cook County.
The mission of the Forest Preserve District remains the same as it was 100 years ago: “To acquire, restore and manage lands for the purpose of protecting and preserving public open space with its natural wonders, significant prairies, forests, wetlands, rivers, streams and other landscapes with all of the associated wildlife in a natural state for the education, recreation and pleasure of the public now and in the future.”
Under the mission, the Forest Preserve District set aside 11 green spaces devoted to the game of golf, thus creating Forest Preserve Golf, with opportunities running the gamut from championship-level layouts to beginner-friendly courses to driving ranges to mini-golf, all with a goal of ecological balance through sustainability and restoration.
If you are a golfer in ‘Chitown’ or visiting, stop by one of the Forest Preserve golf facilities to check out of the hustle & bustle of everyday life to enjoy some great golf. Here are five of the most popular locations:
Chick Evans Golf Course, Morton Grove –This fun, satisfying 5,691 yards, 18-hole, par 71 golf course is named after Chick Evans Jr., who in addition to being the first amateur to win both the U.S. Amateur and the U.S. Open, founded the Chick Evans Scholarship program for caddies. This layout is the Northside’s hidden gem that offers a quality golf experience for all skill levels. You’ll enjoy a fun and relaxed round whether you are in the mood for nine or 18 holes. The Chicago River cuts right through the center of the course offering beautiful scenery and a formidable obstacle for players.
George W. Dunne National, a premier 7262 yards, par 72, 18-hole masterpiece located in suburban Oak Forest, has been recognized by Golf Digest as one of the best public courses in the state of Illinois. Here players will find well-conditioned bent grass fairways and greens. Whether you play from the tips(142 slope, 75.4 rating) or are a beginner, you’ll enjoy the challenging terrain that the Ken Killian ASGCA design offers. Eight lakes that come into play on 11 holes, tree-lined fairways and an abundance of wildlife sightings help make this golf experience a memorable one.
Highland Woods Golf Club is located in the northwest village of Hoffman Estates on the highest point of land in Cook County. Highland Woods stretches out to 6934 yards with four sets of tees to allow all golfers to enjoy their round on this challenging course with generous tree-lined fairways countered by 54 strategically placed bunkers throughout its rolling hills. Water comes into play on six of its 18 holes. Almost all of the courses in the Forest Preserve are Certified Audubon International Cooperative Sanctuaries including Highland Woods.
Joe Louis “The Champ” Golf Course is named after former Heavyweight Boxing Champion Joe Louis and is a tournament favorite because of its championship layout located in Riverdale. The signature 614-yard, par five, 7th hole is the second-longest hole in Chicagoland even if you are ‘Brown Bomber.’ Routed deep in Chicago’s history, you will find the 6742 yards layout to be a formidable foe with its large undulating greens, 52 bunkers and an occasional water hazard.
Indian Boundary Golf Course is conveniently located in Chicago’s northwest side and is the most popular of all the Forest Preserve courses. Its 6068-yard length might have a lot to do with its popularity plus there are just five holes with water. With its heavily wooded surroundings, golfers really enjoy the excellent blue grass fairways, smooth greens and fair but challenging 18 holes that play to a par 72.
No matter what golf course you choose, the price is right with great public access locations. For more information please visit