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Worthwhile courses between St. Louis and Chicago


35 replies to this topic

#1 stachoaj

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Posted 09 May 2017 - 09:44 AM

Meeting up with a buddy from Chicago for 18 holes.  Ideally, we would meet somewhere close to the middle (Bloomington, IL area).  We don't need something out of this world amazing, but hopefully something to make the 2+ hour drive worthwhile.  Anybody have any suggestions?  Thanks.


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#2 Argonne69

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Posted 09 May 2017 - 11:07 AM

Stone Creek in Urbana is a solid course. Den at Fox Creek in Bloomington would be my 2nd choice.

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#3 Darth Putter

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Posted 09 May 2017 - 09:18 PM

The Den at Fox Creek would be my first choice if Bloomington-Normal is the most convenient meeting point. Holes 4-7 may be my favorite stretch of golf around here. I would caution that Arnie's design team did put a few more blind tee shots than I'd prefer. The Weibring Course at Illinois State would be my second choice. It's a tough old school tree lined design with some modern short game areas added in recent years that are interesting and dangerous problems. Stone Creek in Urbana is a good choice too, but it's a bit away from the interstate.
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#4 matt70286

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Posted 10 May 2017 - 07:21 AM

Heard Cinder Ridge is decent too (right off 55 on the way to Bloomington).

The Den and ISU Weibring are great choices. I actually like Weibring a bit better but that's just because I like a more traditional tree lined course style better than the prairie links style of the Den (but that's just personal preference).
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#5 Argonne69

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Posted 10 May 2017 - 09:17 AM

Cinder Ridge is OK, but not in the same league as the others mentioned. Also, it's probably too far north to be a half way point. It's 70 minutes from downtown Chicago, but 3.5 hours from St Louis.


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#6 stachoaj

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Posted 10 May 2017 - 10:30 AM

Just booked Stone Creek!  Thanks for the info everyone.

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#7 mci711

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Posted 10 May 2017 - 10:53 AM

Meet in Peoria and play at Weaver Ridge. Great course, if it were in Chicago it would be ranked way higher than it is. One of my favorite courses, beautiful area, great lay out, fun holes. I would rather play weaver ridge than almost any public course in Chicago. (live in Chicago and am from St. Louis)

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#8 Argonne69

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Posted 10 May 2017 - 11:06 AM

 mci711, on 10 May 2017 - 10:53 AM, said:

Meet in Peoria and play at Weaver Ridge. Great course, if it were in Chicago it would be ranked way higher than it is. One of my favorite courses, beautiful area, great lay out, fun holes. I would rather play weaver ridge than almost any public course in Chicago. (live in Chicago and am from St. Louis)

I played Weaver Ridge many years ago. It was ranked in the top 10 in state for many years. I thought I read recently that their conditioning isn't what it used to be, though.

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#9 mci711

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Posted 10 May 2017 - 11:12 AM

 Argonne69, on 10 May 2017 - 11:06 AM, said:

 mci711, on 10 May 2017 - 10:53 AM, said:

Meet in Peoria and play at Weaver Ridge. Great course, if it were in Chicago it would be ranked way higher than it is. One of my favorite courses, beautiful area, great lay out, fun holes. I would rather play weaver ridge than almost any public course in Chicago. (live in Chicago and am from St. Louis)

I played Weaver Ridge many years ago. It was ranked in the top 10 in state for many years. I thought I read recently that their conditioning isn't what it used to be, though.

I played last season and it was pretty solid condition wise. Not sure how it is currently though. I will be going in a few weeks. It is currently 5th in Illinois for public on Golf Digest though, I believe.

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#10 Darth Putter

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Posted 10 May 2017 - 02:47 PM

 stachoaj, on 10 May 2017 - 10:30 AM, said:

Just booked Stone Creek!  Thanks for the info everyone.

Good luck.

My favorite feature of Stone Creek is getting played through by various members of the U of I golf team on the back 9.

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#11 Judge Smales

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Posted 10 May 2017 - 03:09 PM

Quincy CC or Spring Lake CC also in Quincy.  Both top notch.

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#12 Argonne69

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Posted 10 May 2017 - 03:37 PM

 Judge Smales, on 10 May 2017 - 03:09 PM, said:

Quincy CC or Spring Lake CC also in Quincy.  Both top notch.

Quincy is a 5 hour drive from Chicago. 'Not what I would call a half way point.

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#13 Judge Smales

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Posted 10 May 2017 - 03:44 PM

 Argonne69, on 10 May 2017 - 03:37 PM, said:

 Judge Smales, on 10 May 2017 - 03:09 PM, said:

Quincy CC or Spring Lake CC also in Quincy.  Both top notch.

Quincy is a 5 hour drive from Chicago. 'Not what I would call a half way point.

Thanks, genius.

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#14 stachoaj

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Posted 10 May 2017 - 04:21 PM

 Judge Smales, on 10 May 2017 - 03:44 PM, said:

 Argonne69, on 10 May 2017 - 03:37 PM, said:

 Judge Smales, on 10 May 2017 - 03:09 PM, said:

Quincy CC or Spring Lake CC also in Quincy.  Both top notch.

Quincy is a 5 hour drive from Chicago. 'Not what I would call a half way point.

Thanks, genius.

So you recommend two private courses nowhere near a half way point.  Why?

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#15 HighSpeedScene

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Posted 11 May 2017 - 08:06 AM

 Judge Smales, on 10 May 2017 - 03:44 PM, said:

 Argonne69, on 10 May 2017 - 03:37 PM, said:

 Judge Smales, on 10 May 2017 - 03:09 PM, said:

Quincy CC or Spring Lake CC also in Quincy.  Both top notch.

Quincy is a 5 hour drive from Chicago. 'Not what I would call a half way point.

Thanks, genius.

That escalated quickly.

Sheesh.

Weaver ridge is awesome.


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#16 PuttCurseRepeat

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Posted 11 May 2017 - 08:54 AM

Hey, why didn't any of you geniuses suggest Prairie Vista in Bloomington?  :crazy:

It is right off Interstate 55 and I remember it being a good, challenging track.

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#17 Argonne69

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Posted 11 May 2017 - 09:35 AM

 PuttCurseRepeat, on 11 May 2017 - 08:54 AM, said:

Hey, why didn't any of you geniuses suggest Prairie Vista in Bloomington?  :crazy:

It is right off Interstate 55 and I remember it being a good, challenging track.

I played PV and Den last year (http://www.golfwrx.c...r-memorial-day/), but considered Den the better of the two courses. My review of PV included:

"Prairie Vista: This is a tough call. There's really nothing wrong with the course, but there's nothing that really stands out. It's a solid, playable course that can be easily overlooked. If I was a local, I'm sure I'd play it regularly."


Metamora Fields and Lick Creek near Peoria are also worth considering, although they are a little offline from the I-55 route.

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#18 Darth Putter

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Posted 11 May 2017 - 10:46 PM

I like Prairie Vista and I play well there. However, it is a bit overpriced on weekdays. $33 there, or $33 at The Den, $32 at ISU or $28 at Stone Creek? (all prices 18 holes walking)
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#19 jbrunk

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Posted 12 May 2017 - 12:06 AM

As a Bloomington resident, I'll second these comments about Prairie Vista and the Den.  One of my buddies finds the Den gimmicky with all the blind tee shots, false fronts, forced layups, etc.  But I've played my best golf there and it's always in great shape.  Out of town golfers always seem to enjoy Prairie Vista, and they're open year round.

Weibring at ISU is probably my favorite course in town these days.  Just beware of days when they ramp up the rough and greens to tournament conditions.

Hickory Point in Decatur-Forsyth is another fantastic prairie style track.  They play a LPGA Futures tour event there in late June.

If I can get out of Dodge more this summer, Metamora Fields, Lick Creek, El Paso, and Weaver Ridge are on my list.
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#20 Bigarch

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Posted 12 May 2017 - 12:14 AM

 Argonne69, on 10 May 2017 - 03:37 PM, said:

 Judge Smales, on 10 May 2017 - 03:09 PM, said:

Quincy CC or Spring Lake CC also in Quincy.  Both top notch.

Quincy is a 5 hour drive from Chicago. 'Not what I would call a half way point.

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#21 Argonne69

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Posted 12 May 2017 - 07:26 AM

Den is an Arnold Palmer design, so the gimmicks are pretty much a certainty. I generally don't like Arnold's designs, but I thought the Den was toned down from his usual trickery.

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#22 Darth Putter

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Posted 12 May 2017 - 08:04 PM

 jbrunk, on 12 May 2017 - 12:06 AM, said:

As a Bloomington resident, I'll second these comments about Prairie Vista and the Den.  One of my buddies finds the Den gimmicky with all the blind tee shots, false fronts, forced layups, etc.  But I've played my best golf there and it's always in great shape.  Out of town golfers always seem to enjoy Prairie Vista, and they're open year round.

Weibring at ISU is probably my favorite course in town these days.  Just beware of days when they ramp up the rough and greens to tournament conditions.

Hickory Point in Decatur-Forsyth is another fantastic prairie style track.  They play a LPGA Futures tour event there in late June.

If I can get out of Dodge more this summer, Metamora Fields, Lick Creek, El Paso, and Weaver Ridge are on my list.

I usually play most of the B-N public courses every year. I even find Highland Park charming as I hit a dozen trees in the course of a round.

I also like Hickory Point and Red Tail run on the other side of Decatur.

As someone that lives in east central Illinois, I am quite happy with my public golf course choices and prices.
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#23 jbrunk

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Posted 12 May 2017 - 09:14 PM

 Darth Putter, on 12 May 2017 - 08:04 PM, said:

 jbrunk, on 12 May 2017 - 12:06 AM, said:

As a Bloomington resident, I'll second these comments about Prairie Vista and the Den.  One of my buddies finds the Den gimmicky with all the blind tee shots, false fronts, forced layups, etc.  But I've played my best golf there and it's always in great shape.  Out of town golfers always seem to enjoy Prairie Vista, and they're open year round.

Weibring at ISU is probably my favorite course in town these days.  Just beware of days when they ramp up the rough and greens to tournament conditions.

Hickory Point in Decatur-Forsyth is another fantastic prairie style track.  They play a LPGA Futures tour event there in late June.

If I can get out of Dodge more this summer, Metamora Fields, Lick Creek, El Paso, and Weaver Ridge are on my list.

I usually play most of the B-N public courses every year. I even find Highland Park charming as I hit a dozen trees in the course of a round.

I also like Hickory Point and Red Tail run on the other side of Decatur.

As someone that lives in east central Illinois, I am quite happy with my public golf course choices and prices.

Absolutely, we are spoiled for choice!  I heard a story they planted something like 3x more trees at Highland Park than they thought would survive. They've cleared a lot of limbs, but you still have to hit it straight or spend all day in jail.

Did you play Railside much?  I'm bummed they closed, that was one of the best values anywhere.
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#24 Darth Putter

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Posted 13 May 2017 - 02:35 PM

 jbrunk, on 12 May 2017 - 09:14 PM, said:

 Darth Putter, on 12 May 2017 - 08:04 PM, said:

 jbrunk, on 12 May 2017 - 12:06 AM, said:

As a Bloomington resident, I'll second these comments about Prairie Vista and the Den.  One of my buddies finds the Den gimmicky with all the blind tee shots, false fronts, forced layups, etc.  But I've played my best golf there and it's always in great shape.  Out of town golfers always seem to enjoy Prairie Vista, and they're open year round.

Weibring at ISU is probably my favorite course in town these days.  Just beware of days when they ramp up the rough and greens to tournament conditions.

Hickory Point in Decatur-Forsyth is another fantastic prairie style track.  They play a LPGA Futures tour event there in late June.

If I can get out of Dodge more this summer, Metamora Fields, Lick Creek, El Paso, and Weaver Ridge are on my list.

I usually play most of the B-N public courses every year. I even find Highland Park charming as I hit a dozen trees in the course of a round.

I also like Hickory Point and Red Tail run on the other side of Decatur.

As someone that lives in east central Illinois, I am quite happy with my public golf course choices and prices.

Absolutely, we are spoiled for choice!  I heard a story they planted something like 3x more trees at Highland Park than they thought would survive. They've cleared a lot of limbs, but you still have to hit it straight or spend all day in jail.

Did you play Railside much?  I'm bummed they closed, that was one of the best values anywhere.

I usually played Railside a couple of times a year. The last update I saw in the paper said that a group purchased most of the course and that it will reopen as a 12 holer. The east "wing" of the course 4, 5, 6, 12, 13, 14, 15 and 16 will be returned to farmland with a new hole constructed out of the practice area.
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#25 ctfuzz21

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 08:06 AM

Weaver Ridge and Metamora Fields are very enjoyable and great value. Worth the trip on both sides

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#26 terrell75

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 09:02 AM

Not near a midpoint but maybe of interest to others, Spirit Hollow in Burlington, IA is a fun course and grounds condition is great.

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#27 stachoaj

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Posted 15 May 2017 - 11:17 AM

Thanks for the suggestions everyone!  We had a great time on Saturday.  Perfect weather, course wasn't too crowded, and didn't have to deal with any UofI guys trying to get through, lol.  Will definitely consider re-visiting this place when planning our next get together.

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#28 jaygween

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Posted 09 May 2018 - 04:29 PM

Reviving an old thread.. Will be traveling up I-55,I-155 and I-74 in Illinois and looking for the best public course to play. Would need to stay pretty close to the interstate. It appears that Springfield and Peoria would be the best options. Based off of this thread, it seems the best options in Peoria are WeaverRidge and Metamora Fields. I haven't seen very much in this forum for Springfield, IL - but from limited research there doesn't appear to be a ton of good options. The best I've found seems to be The Rail.

Anyone have any opinions on Weaver vs. Metamora? Or if there are any public's in Springfield better than those two courses that could be a possibility.

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#29 jli2636

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Posted 09 May 2018 - 08:42 PM

 jaygween, on 09 May 2018 - 04:29 PM, said:

Reviving an old thread.. Will be traveling up I-55,I-155 and I-74 in Illinois and looking for the best public course to play. Would need to stay pretty close to the interstate. It appears that Springfield and Peoria would be the best options. Based off of this thread, it seems the best options in Peoria are WeaverRidge and Metamora Fields. I haven't seen very much in this forum for Springfield, IL - but from limited research there doesn't appear to be a ton of good options. The best I've found seems to be The Rail.

Anyone have any opinions on Weaver vs. Metamora? Or if there are any public's in Springfield better than those two courses that could be a possibility.

Weaver and Metamora(haven’t played yet but everything I’ve heard is it’s top notch) are the 2 best options in the area. Coyote Creek in Bartonville is another good option that is relatively close to the interstate. Lick Creek in Pekin is another good track. Probably toughest in the area. Pekin is off of 474, so a little out of the way depending where your end destination is.

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#30 Redjeep83

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Posted 09 May 2018 - 08:54 PM

 jli2636, on 09 May 2018 - 08:42 PM, said:

 jaygween, on 09 May 2018 - 04:29 PM, said:

Reviving an old thread.. Will be traveling up I-55,I-155 and I-74 in Illinois and looking for the best public course to play. Would need to stay pretty close to the interstate. It appears that Springfield and Peoria would be the best options. Based off of this thread, it seems the best options in Peoria are WeaverRidge and Metamora Fields. I haven't seen very much in this forum for Springfield, IL - but from limited research there doesn't appear to be a ton of good options. The best I've found seems to be The Rail.

Anyone have any opinions on Weaver vs. Metamora? Or if there are any public's in Springfield better than those two courses that could be a possibility.

Weaver and Metamora(haven’t played yet but everything I’ve heard is it’s top notch) are the 2 best options in the area. Coyote Creek in Bartonville is another good option that is relatively close to the interstate. Lick Creek in Pekin is another good track. Probably toughest in the area. Pekin is off of 474, so a little out of the way depending where your end destination is.

I think weaver is better than metamora, metamora is more links style, no trees and is fun occasionally.


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