Rated 4 1/2 stars by Golf Digest, Prairie Landing Golf Club is one of the top golf courses in the Chicagoland area, and that’s saying a lot. Located in West Chicago the course was designed by renowned course Robert Trent Jones, Jr. The facilities combined with the unique style of golf makes Prairie Landing a must play on the list of public courses around Chicago.
Course Design & Maintenance
Good mix of prairie links style golf with several more modern touches. For most of the front nine golfers are treated with uneven lies in the large fairways, long ball-eating grass just yards outside of the fairway, and greens that commonly have multiple levels, all common traits of links golf. However as you make the turn the course shifts a bit as golfers wind through some trees and start to see skinnier fairways and more playable rough.
The course is very well maintained, especially considering the variation between the holes. The greens are quick by most public course standards, but they are consistent throughout. The combination of tall penal grass and some heavily wooded areas provide a unique experience.
As with any links style course, accuracy is very important. The course is not overly long (6,950 from the back, 5,576 from the forward tees) and there are plenty of large open fairways. Good strategy is the most important factor in playing this course well. Most American golfers aren’t accustomed to avoiding deep bunkers and playing off of uneven lies in the middle of a fairway. It will take several rounds to learn the small nuances of every hole, but those that do will be rewarded.
Probably one of, if not the best practice facility in the Chicagoland area. A full range with hitting bays at each end, a short game area, multiple putting greens, and the best of all, two complete practice holes (two par-4’s), the use of which is included with your green fee or Practice Center fee. In addition to the phenomenal practice facilities, the club also employs a PGA Professional (Brian King, a Northern Illinois University golf hall of famer) who heads up the Prairie Landing Golf Academy.
A well staffed clubhouse offers curbside service, full locker rooms and a nice dining facility. The carts are equipped with GPS that provides distance from the cart to each pin as well as driving distance (so you can boast to your friends). For group outings, the cart system also has live score tracking and overall event results.
Club memberships are available with a variety of options that include use of the practice facility.
Both the 9th and 18th holes are not only beautiful but both present a good test as players head back towards the clubhouse. Running parallel to one another the holes share a large pond that separate their fairways, but only a few bunkers separate the greens. The 9th hole is a relatively short par 4 that offers up birdies if the drive is kept in the fairway. Another signature of good design, the green is accessible by players of all levels as only a miss right is penalized.
The other signature hole in my mind is the par-3 12th hole. The green is protected by a lake that requires a long approach shot. The back tees play just over 200 yards, 190 of those over the water. The green is divided into four very distinct quadrants with bunkers and shaved collection areas waiting to grab balls that miss this large green. While being a strong test for those players hitting from the back tees, the green is still accessible and challenging from the forward tees with a straight entrance that doesn’t require a water carry. The 12th is a fun hole for all.
Overall the playing experience is favorable for players of all levels. Multiple tee boxes provide difficulty for low handicappers while even beginners can enjoy a round at Prairie Landing. Pace of play is not as much of a problem on this course as others in the area. Getting on the course early is definitely recommended.
Unique style of prairie links golf that is difficult to find in the Chicagoland area.
Fantastic practice facility including a full driving range, short game area and multiple putting greens and two practice holes.
Sort of off the beaten path, bordered by a small airport that produces a few flyby’s during the round.
Review in One Sentence
Overall Prairie Landing lives up to its 4 1/2 star billing from Golf Digest by featuring a strategic test on the course and a large list of off the course amenities to spoil every golfer that visits.