The Ryder Cup comes to Medinah Country Club just outside Chicago this weekend. If you’re in town, here are four other courses you need to know.
COG HILL GOLF & COUNTRY CLUB #4 (“DUBSDREAD”): Cog Hill No. 4’s accolades speak for themselves. In addition to being Golf Magazine’s pick as the top public course in the Land of Lincoln and the 21st best in the country, it’s also hosted four BMW Championships, 16 Western Opens, and the 1997 U.S. Amateur. Although best known for heavy bunkering, Dubsdread relies on several classic design elements, most notably featured on the 456-yard, par-4 16th. By the way, back in 2000 we also named it one of the 500 Greatest Holes in the World. ($155, coghillgolf.com, 40 minutes from Medinah)
THE GLEN CLUB: It’s hard to believe that this 2001 Tom Fazio design was built on an abandoned U.S. Navy airbase, but that type of optical illusion can happen when you plant 4,000 trees and move more than 2.4 million cubic yards of earth. Fazio was given a blank slate to work with and the result is nothing short of spectacular. The par 3s typically receive the highest praise, but the signature par-4 eighth and the par-5 closer also strike the perfect balance between daunting and delightful. ($105-$185, theglenclub.com, 35 minutes from Medinah)
ORCHARD VALLEY GOLF COURSE: Designer Ken Kavanaugh’s comfort with working in the Arizona desert is evident at this Fox Valley Park District course in Chicago’s west suburbs. Kavanaugh trades in desert waste areas for huge lakes and massive, beachy sand traps, with the result being a tantalizing mixture of styles at a terrific price. ($41-$61, orchardvalleygolf.com, 50 minutes from Medinah)
PINE MEADOW GOLF CLUB: Looking for a taste of Cog Hill at a more forgiving price? Remodeled with the help of Joe Lee, who also contributed to the design of Cog Hill No. 4, our Travelin’ Joe has lauded Pine Meadow as the “Dubsdread of the North Side.” Built originally as part of a seminary in the 1920s, the 7,300-yard course works its way around three lakes. ($59-$73, pinemeadowgc.com, 45 minutes from Medinah)