Cantigny Golf offers 27-holes of championship golf. It is comprised of the Woodside, Lakeside and Hillside courses. Together the courses create three unique golf experiences. Cantigny golf has been host to the 2007 U.S. Amateur Public Links, the 1998 and 2002 Illinois Amateur Championship and numerous USGA qualifiers. (from the Cantigny website).
Being that I have lived in Chicago for all of my life, just down the street from Cantigny (Aurora/Naperville area originally) I have not frequented Cantigny very often. Once in high school, and once this summer. Typically I have stayed away from Cantigny because of the price, they are at $95 for a weekend round with a cart (and remember I always take a cart). That is a little more than I want to spend on a public golf course. I am a firm believer that I would rather play a course in the $50 range or really bump it up and go for something on the higher end of public golf closer to $200. With that being said I had the chance to play Cantigny at a discounted rate ($60), and I loved it.
I played the Woodlands to Lakeside track, and found the course difficult, well manicured, sweet rolling greens, and really enjoyed myself the whole day. Cantigny has some great holes that require a bit of a plotters mentality, other times you can get up there and rip it. I was forced to hit a few hybrids off of the tees, and still found that if I was in the fairway I could hit a short iron for my approach shot. Other times I could let the big dog eat and try to get up close to the green, but that brought in a lot of trouble from time to time. The greens were in great shape, and the ball rolled smooth and true. But that is to be expected on a high end public golf course that you are paying $100 for a round of golf.
The practice facility was also top notch. They have a great grass area to hit off of. It was a little small and I did have to wait roughly 15-20 mins for someone else to finish before a spot opened up, but it was early on a Sunday morning and the place was busy. There is a great short game area where you can practice 30-40 yard pitch shots, bunker shots, and chipping from several collection areas. There are two putting greens at Cantigny. One is really more of a short game area, where players are chipping and putting, but the green it self was in great shape. I practiced more on that green than the actual putting only green (more because I didn’t realize there was a putting only green) and found zero complaints. There was some nice undulation, but not too much as to not agree with the layout of the course. I never got hit by anyone chipping balls, and found the green to be very close to the same speed as the greens out on the course.
My only complaint about Cantingy is that the clubhouse was so big I found it a little intimidating. When I first pulled in I wasn’t quite sure where to go, or where to park, how to get my golf cart and once I got my cart how to get back towards the putting greens. Once I figured out where to go, and found my playing partners, I thoroughly enjoyed my entire day. The course is in great shape, the layout is fun and challenging, and a birdie on the last hole to shoot a 79 on a difficult course, that I had never seen before, with 4 three putts… yeah you could say I really enjoyed Cantigny.
I would give Cantigny a BIRDIE hands down. This is a great course, and if you can pay the $100 to play it, you are going to find that it is worth the money. If you are not comfortable with the $100 fee, they are on golfnow.com but there is not much of a discount. They do have nine hole rates and twilight rates, but they are all relative to the $100 price point. If you are looking for a place to practice they have a great facility, and putting on the putting green is always free.