Golf and Baseball in Chicago

Harborside International
Tony Roberts

It's an American tradition worthy of Norman Rockwell: a father and child together, playing golf or taking in a baseball game. Or better yet, both. No city fosters overindulgence in both pastimes quite like Chicago. With the coming of summer and interleague play -- the White Sox host the Cubs June 25 to 27, and the Cubs return the favor July 2 to 4 -- now's a good opportunity to schedule some quality time. To paraphrase the old saying, it's not whether you win or lose, it's with whom you play the game.

Friday

Catch an early flight to O'Hare International Airport, then gun your rental car 30 minutes north to The Glen Club. Architect Tom Fazio transformed the old airfield at Naval Air Station Glenview into a rolling 7,149-yard layout that offers glimpses of Chicago's grand skyline. But don't lose focus sightseeing: The course is bookended by tough par 5s of 559 and 589 yards.

As the crow flies, it's 22 miles to downtown and the House of Blues Hotel (312-245-0333; loewshotels.com). Upcoming acts next door at the House of Blues include Taj Mahal & The Hula Blues Band (June 25) and The Samples (July 2). Other options along the Magnificent Mile, a fun, if touristy, stretch of North Michigan Avenue, include the Art Institute of Chicago and the Lookingglass Theatre in the Water Tower Water Works building. From the nearby Grand Avenue station, take the "El" train's Red Line northbound to the Addison stop and Wrigley Field to see the Cubs or southbound to the Sox-35th stop for a White Sox game at U.S. Cellular Field.

Game tickets can be tough to score. Sox seats are available at ticketmaster.com, Cubs on tickets.com. ESPN's Dan Patrick pimps stubhub.com, while Marjorie Silverman, the connected chief concierge at the Hotel InterContinental Chicago recommends Union Tysen (tysentickets.com).

After the game, ride the rails back to Grand Avenue and dig in to an authentic deep-dish pizza at the original Pizzeria Uno (312-321-1000). Then waddle down East Ohio Street to the ESPN Zone (312-644-ESPN) for the killer Sudden Death Brownie dessert and all the day's sports highlights.

Saturday

Choose between two famed breakfast spots. At Lou Mitchell's (312-939-3111) on West Jackson Boulevard, the hostess totes a Little Red Riding Hood-style basket of fresh doughnut holes and you can choose between 19 types of omelets. Or try Ann Sather (773-348-2378) on Belmont Avenue, near Wrigley Field, which hits a home run with its hearty egg dishes and cinnamon rolls.

A half-hour drive south on Interstate 55 will bring you to Cog Hill Golf & Country Club in Lemont. The marquee layout is Course No. 4, nicknamed Dubsdread, which ranks 14th on GOLF MAGAZINE's Top 100 You Can Play. Tiger Woods defends his Cialis Western Open title here July 1 to 4 [2004]. Course No. 2 is a solid test for about a third of the price, while Courses No. 1 and No. 3 bat a little farther down in the line-up.

Facts & Contacts
Cog Hill
Greens fees $41 (Nos. 1 and 3), $51 (No. 2), $130 (No. 4); 630-264-4455
coghillgolf.com

The Glen Club
Greens fee $135; 847-724-7272
glenclub.com

Harborside International
Greens fee $87; 312-STARTER
harborsidegolf.com

After a morning 18, you can do nine in the afternoon -- nine innings, that is. The Sox's U.S. Cellular Field boasts a new fan deck over center field, a perch best enjoyed with a Greg Luzinski Polish sausage slathered with grilled onions. Just inside Gate Three you'll find batting cages and a guy with a radar gun. My noodle arm topped out at 58 mph, while my 8-year-old threw 48-mph heat -- just 20 shy of Phil Mickelson's fastball when he tried out for the Toledo (Ohio) Mud Hens last year.

As for the Cubbies, the neighborhood around Wrigley Field is jumping long before and after games. Beer is the lifeblood of Wrigleyville: Four and a half bucks buys you a cold Old Style at the Cubby Bear (773-326-1662). Murphy's Bleachers (773-281-5356) -- the bar directly behind the center field seats -- is the favorite of the bleacher bums.

A great closer is dinner at Harry Caray's (312-828-0966) on West Kinzie Street, around the corner from the House of Blues. The Cubs' irrepressible broadcaster passed on to that big booth in the sky six years ago, but his love of food and drink lives. If you're up for extra innings, catch the West Coast games on eight monster TVs at 10pin (312-644-0300), an upscale bar and bowling alley next to the hotel.

Sunday

Take your swings at Harborside International, 15 minutes south of downtown, which boasts two Scottish-style courses (Starboard and Port). Back in 2001, President Bill Clinton picked the Port -- no surprise, since port is a nautical term for the left -- and carded his first ace, at the 6th hole from 125 yards. Head back to the House of Blues for the raucous, scrumptious Sunday gospel brunch, with seatings at 9:30 a.m. and noon. A bellyful of jambalaya ought to be fuel enough to keep Dad awake through one more Sox-Cubs game before you head for home.

While you're there

Chicago Baseball

  • Cubs at White Sox (whitesox.com).
  • White Sox at Cubs (cubs.com).

    Kid Stuff

  • Play the Chicago-themed mini-golf course at Navy Pier (800-595-PIER; navypier.com).
  • Visit the elephants and aardvarks at Lincoln Park Zoo (312-742-2000; lpzoo.org).
  • Sears Tower is North America's tallest building and offers panoramic views of four states from the 103rd floor (877-SKY-DECK; the-skydeck.com).

    Dad Stuff

  • Hear history echo off the original 1890 tin ceiling at John Barleycorn. During Prohibition, this saloon operated with a front as a Chinese laundry; John Dillinger was a regular (773-348-8899; johnbarleycorn.com).
  • Pro football Hall of Famer "Da' Coach" serves up steaks, chops, fresh fish and cigars at his namesake restaurant, Mike Ditka's (312-587-8989; mikeditkaschicago.com).

    -- Emily K. Mitchell

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