Winnetka Golf Club: Hidden Gem
Nestled against the eastern-most boundary of the Cook County Forest Preserve you will find Winnetka Golf Club, a true hidden gem and one of Chicagoland’s premiere public golf facilities. In 1914, golf course architect William H. Langford turned 30 acres of flood-plain marshland into a 2,155-Yard nine-hole layout that was designed with the intention of rewarding a player that is both smart and accurate. In 1922 the park district added nine more holes to complete the 18-hole layout. During the Great Depression of the 1930’s, Charles D. Wagstaff spearheaded another renovation project that has gone largely unchanged since. One of the truly unique aspects of the Winnetka Golf Club is that the intentions of the original designers have withstood three renovations and nearly a century’s time.
Today, the 18-hole championship course plays as a 6,472-Yard par 71 from the back tees, and still requires smart accurate play in order to score. From the front tees it is a 5,740-Yard par 72. Winnetka Golf Club has hosted Illinois PGA Section events and since 1999 has played host to some of the top-rated junior golfers in the country during the American Junior Golf Association’s annual Golfweek Chicago Junior.
With water coming into play on 16 of the 18 holes, Winnetka golf Club is a true test of target golf. Typical of many older courses in the area, scoring on this short layout is safeguarded by tree-lined fairways and small well-bunkered greens. Perhaps the best test of a golfer’s ability at Winnetka Golf Club will take place on the challenging 440-Yard Par-4 18th hole. From an elevated tee box, an ideal drive will elude a water hazard that stretches the entire length of the hole lurking only five paces off the right edge of the fairway. The second shot demands a mid-to-long iron approach into a slightly elevated green. Par is a great score on this tough home hole.
Winnetka Golf Club boasts another Langford design in its 9-hole 1,194-Yard par-3 course. This challenging track is not only a great place for a novice to learn the game but it is a fine venue for the lower handicapper who is seeking to sharpen his or her short game skills. With small and severely undulating greens, you can expect to use every club in your bag whether it’s on the 78-Yard third hole, the 166-Yard fifth hole or the 220-Yard ninth hole.
The rest of the Winnetka Golf Club facility features a 10,000 square-foot practice putting green, two smaller chipping greens, as well as a 26-station driving range with five target greens. The clubhouse consists of a full service pro shop, snack bar, and lockers for its players.
If you are looking to discover a true hidden gem in the Chicagoland area, don’t overlook the Winnetka Golf Club conveniently located at 1300 Oak Street just east of the Edens Expressway and only 25 minutes from downtown Chicago.