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Golfing in Springfield and Sangamon County, Illinois
Great Golf For Reasonable Prices
Springfield, Illinois may be the home of Abraham Lincoln but also the home of really top-flight golf courses. I have played many golf courses throughout the United States, I admit I am spoiled playing the courses in Springfield. They are challenging, easy to reach, and rather affordable. This hub is strictly dedicated to just the golf courses within Sangamon County.
Let me start with the four golf courses owned and operated by the Springfield Park District. There are two eighteen hole courses and two nine hole courses with a pro shop that include a snack shop, golf equipment sales and rental, cart rental. All courses are staffed by a PGA Certified Professional.
Bunn Golf Course is located on the southend of Springfield. This eighteen hole course is pretty challenging so make sure to bring your "A" game. You start with a straight forward 507 yard Par 5. Big hitters can reach the green in two, as long as they keep the ball in the fairway. If you hit out to the right or left, you have some work. But the green on this hole is tricky. The Front 9 is full of hills and several reachable Par 4's. This is the kind of course if you stay in the fairways, you will reward yourself with a good score. If you having to play from the sides, it will be a little tougher to post a good score. The Back 9 is less hilly but much longer. If you keep your shots in the fairway, you will be rewarded. Although, on the back nine, you have a better chance to recover from a bad shot. The signature hole on the back is the finish hole, #18. This 418 yard hole makes you think about each and every shot. If you are a bigger hitter, this a hole you may want back away from the Driver. The ideal play is to hit your tee shot to the 150 to 175 yard mark to attack the ball and put in on the green in two. A creek lines the middle of 18 at 135 yard mark. The green is line with three deep tough bunkers to a three tiered green. This green is fast and if you escape with a score of four, you are doing great. I have not been fortunate to par this hole in all the years I have played Bunn. I am familiar with Bunn because I play this course every week for my workplace golf league. The trees are fully grown, the creek and lake is full of many golf balls, and the sand traps perfectly groomed. My personal rating out of 5 stars is 4 and half. My personal best score for eighteen is 88. Even playing this course every week, I am struggling average a score in the 50's for nine holes. Yikes! The rates for Bunn are $16 weekdays for residents of Sangamon County and $20 weekdays for non-residents for 18 holes. Weekends and holidays are $18 for residents and $22 for non-residents for 18 holes. Seniors (62 years old and older and Juniors under 18 years old) can play for $14 for residents and $18 for non-residents. Nine holes at Bunn is $8.50 for residents and $10.50 non-residents on weekdays and $9.50 for residents and $11.50 for non-residents on weekends and holidays.
Lincoln Greens is on the banks of Lake Springfield. It is the longer of the two eighteen hole courses. There are plenty dogleg holes on this course. The signature hole on the Front 9, is the Par 3 #8. The hole is guarded by a pond in front and sand traps on the sides. It not a long Par 3 at 130 yards but you want to be on the green to either birdie or par this hole. When I played this hole last year, I narrowly missed putting my tee shot into the pond. But I had a great chip to birdie this hole. The Back 9, you play most it away from the lake but the lake winds still affect your shot selection. It is pretty long on the back. The total yardage for 18 holes is 6489. Recently, 15-year-old Katherine Hepler shot a course record score of 62 during the State Journal - Register Drysdale Junior Golf Tournament. Hepler won her age division in the tournament played over four days at Lincoln. Helper has won nine years in a row. Rates for Lincoln Greens for 18 holes are $19.50 for residents and $23.50 for non-residents on weekdays. Weekend and holiday rates are $21.50 residents and $25.50 for non-residents. Seniors (62 years old and older) and Juniors (under 18 years old) can play for $17.50 for residents and $21.50 non-residents. Nine hole rates are $11.50 and $13.50 on weekdays and $12.50 and $14.50 on weekends and holidays.
Bergen Golf Course is located on east side of Springfield. It located very close to I-55 and I-72 off of Clear Lake Avenue. Bergen is a nine hole golf course that is 2657 yards in length and is a Par 35. The majority of the Par 4's are over 300 yards in length. This course is short but very fair. I have not played this course in years but it is a nice park district course. My personal best moment at Bergen was claiming my first ever golf trophy when I played in the State Journal - Register Drysdale Junior Golf Tournament.
Pasfield Golf Course is located on the west side of Springfield next to Washington Park. Pasfield is a Par 34 nine hole course that measures just about 2300 yards in length. Do not let the length fool you. If there was a course I would consider "my home" course, it would be Pasfield. I played in a league on this course up until last year. This course is where I brought my wife to play her first ever round of golf. The course is very hilly in parts but if you play smart golf, you can shoot a low score. My personal best score on this course is a 37. The signature hole of Pasfield is the Par 4 377 yard Hole #8. It is a dogleg right with water down the middle and to the right. If you Par this hole, consider yourself a lucky man or woman. When you first come to the tee, you have to decide whether you want to play it safe or go for it. The majority of the time playing the hole, I have hit an iron off the tee to set myself up for a good second shot. If you are a great driver, driver or 3 wood will get you over the creek. Even if you reach this green in two, you will have a tricky putt on a three level green that slopes toward the water. If I bogey this hole, I am happy. This is one of the toughest holes in Springfield. Even after you finish #8, the finishing #9 hole is a tough Par 3, if you miss, you want to miss to the right because it slopes to the right. The green is a small two level green that has some tricky hole locations. These two holes are the toughest finishing holes in the city.
Bergen and Pasfield rates are $8.50 for residents and $10.50 for non-residents. Weekends and holidays are $9.50 for residents and $11.50 for non-residents. Senior and Junior rates are $7.50 and $9.50. All Springfield Park District course charge the same rates for pull carts and riding carts. Pull carts are $3 for 18 holes and $2 for 9 holes. Riding carts are 1 person $12 for 18 holes and $6.50 for 9 holes. For 2 person carts it is $24 for 18 holes and $13 for nine holes.
The Oaks Golf Course just on the outskirts of Springfield off of I-72. This is an 18 hole Par 70 public golf course that measures over 6000 yards in length. The Oaks open in 1926 as Oak Crest Country Club. This is a very scenic golf course where portion of the Sangamon River cuts through the course. The two toughest holes on this course are #10 and #11 that start the back nine. The #10 is short 110 yard Par 3 that you do not want to leave short. If you are short, you are in the weeds, if you are long you to close to the clubhouse. The key is just to put your approach on the green. The #11 is one of the most intimidating holes because you have a blind tee shot. You want to be long off the tee here because you could be looking for your ball in the weeds. The Par 5's are pretty fair. The front nine is very hilly so make sure to bring your walking golf shoes for first few holes. The course flattens out after the fifth hole. This is the course where I first broke 100. My personal best score is 88. If you play smart golf and take chances on the right holes, you will reward yourself with a good score. Unfortunately, I have not played this course lately but it is a great course to play. It is pretty affordable with rates from $27 for 18 holes on weekdays and $29 for 18 holes on weekends. These rates include cart rental when available. Rates are lower if you choose to walk the course.
Long Bridge Golf Course is just north of Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport in Springfield. This is a nine hole Par 36 course that plays at 2959 yards from the blue tees. This course opened in 1998 on the site of a former group of softball diamonds and borders the banks of the Sangamon River. In 2005, the course added a driving range. The signature hole of the course is #2, where the "long bridge" goes over the water to the green. This 313 yard Par 4 is a tough hole. The smart play on this hole is to hit an iron from the tee to have a good second shot into the hole. The green slopes toward the water. The Par 3 #3 hole is a short hole that I have come close to having a hole in one. It has a great layout and is a very good course. My personal best score here is a 39. I would say my game was on that day. The greens fees are for nine holes are $12 walking and $17 with cart for weekdays. Weekend and holiday rates are $13 walking and $18 with cart for nine holes. To play 18 holes, the rate is $19 walking and $27 with cart all week long. There are Senior and Junior rates on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays of $10 and $13 for nine holes and $16 and $23. The golf course also has a very nice bar and grill and there is plenty of room to book a reception. Long Bridge is famous for the PMS (Positively Male Shutout) Golf Outing. This unique ladies only golf outing raises money for charities in the Springfield and Central Illinois area. 144 ladies sign up to play nine challenging holes, have a nice dinner, and raise money for charity. Many businesses in the Springfield area help sponsor this event.
Brookhills Golf Course is a Par 31 executive nine hole golf course on the west side of Springfield. The course layout is very small just over 1900 yards. The course features 5 Par 3's and 4 Par 4's. It features a driving range and very spacious bar area. Honestly, I have not played this course very much lately. It is an easy course to play but the layout of the greens and fairways were not in the best of shape the last time I played the course. Hopefully, they have fixed up the course since I last played in 2005. My personal best score on this course is 35. The rates for Brookhills are weekdays $9 walking and $15 with cart for nine holes and $15 walking and $25 with cart for 18 holes. On weekends, rates are $10 walking and $16 with cart for nine and $16 walking and $26 with cart for 18 holes.
The Rail Golf Course is pretty well-known internationally as the former home course to the LPGA State Farm Classic for 31 years. The Par 72 6583 yard 18 hole course is great to play. In fact, my best ever score on 18 holes occured at the Rail when I shot an 86. The course is full of some challenging holes but if you like taking chances, you will be rewarded with a good score at the Rail. The course is designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr. and opened in 1974 just on the northern outskirts of Springfield. The course is one of the best in the area. There are not too many golf courses on any of the professional tours that the public can play but the Rail fits that bill. Not too mention, pretty affordable to play. Rates range from $39 on weekends to $31 on weekdays. This course is kept in very pristine shape. The only reason the LPGA State Farm Classic is no longer played at this course is mainly due to the lack of locker room facilities. It did not help the last year of the tournament that Springfield was going through a drought and the green and fairways took a beating. But the tournament was played most of the time around the Labor Day Weekend. I have not played the course in a few years but it is one of the best. You get your moneys worth playing this course. It offers a driving range, PGA professional, and it is a wonderful place to book a reception. On a five star guide, I rate this course at 4 and half. It is challenging but fair. The greens here are tricky but it is a golf course that rewards you if you play good. Trust me, I know.
Edgewood Golf Course is located 20 miles south of Springfield in Auburn, IL. Edgewood has always been known for being a great course in the area. The course plays as a Par 71 and it is over 6600 yards. The course features a driving range, pro shop, banquet room, and a party room. This course is one of the most popular for outings in the Springfield area. The course has seen some fine tuning over the years remodeling several of the holes on the course. It is very challenging. The green have three tiers and can be tricky depending upon the hole location that day. I have enjoy each and every time I play Edgewood. I admit it has been awhile since I played it but it worth the twenty minute drive down to Auburn. The rates are very reasonable with $33 being the highest price for 18 holes to $10 for 9 holes for seniors and juniors to walk the course. This course is very easy to walk compared to other courses in the area. As mentioned, this course is very popular for golf outings. On their website, they boast about being the home of the $49 Golf Outing. I do not care whether you pay $49 or $149, it is worth every penny playing Edgewood.
Piper Glen is one of the best golf course not just in Springfield or Illinois but in the nation. This exquisite Par 72 course that plays over 7000 yards on the gold tees or 5200 yards from the red tees. The signature hole of Piper Glen is the Par 5 9th Hole. It is a dogleg right hole that involves every element imaginable - wind, long rough, trees, water in front of the green and sand. This hole was named most challenging hole in the state of Illinois according to Golf Illinois Magazine. The golf course open in 1996 and instantly became one of the best in the state. Piper Glen offers what I would consider the best pro shop in Springfield and an indoor and outdoor driving range with Studio 59 about one mile north of the course and just west of Veterans Parkway. Piper Glen offers great rooms for receptions or for a bite and drink. For a golf course of its prestige, Piper Glen is rather affordable. The rates go from $34 to as low as $12 for juniors. I will say that is a course you might want to consider taking a cart. This is full of slopes all throughout the course. I have walked this course and I was worn out by the 5th hole. My personal best score here at Piper Glen is 89. I am still shocked I shot such a low score on the course. The first time I ever played the front nine, I ended up shooting a 58. If you do not know this course, you will struggle with your scoring. This course is a definite 4 and half stars out of five. Honestly, this course is my favorite in Springfield. Highly rated, very challenging, and the best facilities in the city. Piper Glen hosted the Illinois Amateur Open a few years ago. It offers all of the country club perks but for less of the price. And yes, the 9th hole is a tough hole. I consider anytime I score a bogey an excellent score.
Panther Creek Country Club is the current home of the LPGA State Farm Classic since 2007. Designed by Hale Irwin, Panther Creek features a 7244-yard, par 72 golf course with a course rating of 74.2 and a slope rating of 132. With five sets of tees, the length of the course ranges from 7244 to 5496. A fully-staffed pro shop overlooks the best preactice facility and range available in Central Illinois. Panther Creek opened up on Springfield's southwest side back in 1993. Some of Springfield's most beautiful homes are lined within the course. I have been fortunate to have played Panther Creek just once in an outing. I enjoyed playing the course where the pros play. Honestly, I have visited the clubhouse for banquets and receptions more than I have played golf. The facilties are spectacular and part of the reason the State Farm Classic was moved to Panther Creek.
Illini Country Club is the oldest country club in the city of Springfield. Illini Country Club started in 1906 on Springfield's west side. This course is the home of the regional qualifier for the U.S. Open in early May. The Men play the course as a Par 71 and the woman play the course as Par 72. If you play the blue tees, the course plays over 6600 yards. This is one course I have never played or visited the facilities. The look of the clubhouse reminds you of a large English mansion. It is beautiful and stands out from the road.
Golf in Springfield is fun, challenging, and affordable. The courses are readily available to play. Listed below are the websites of the all the courses mentioned in the article. So, if you are coming to Springfield for pleasure or business, you may to fit some golf into your schedule. You have plenty of good choices to choose from here in Lincoln's hometown.
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