Cantigny Golf Club Overview
The wonderful golf playground known as Cantigny is home to three formidable 9-hole golf courses, each with its own signature vibe. The beautiful property has the feel of a private club in many respects, with its attention to detail and focus on the overall golf experience. When it opened in 1989, it won various awards for best new course, and the place hasn’t lost any luster in the years since. The club is owned by the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, whose namesake was not only editor and publisher of the Chicago Tribune, but a World War I vet who wanted his land to be used for public recreation purposes upon his passing. Cantigny has hosted the Illinois State Amateur Championship numerous times, the U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship, and a number of other notable tournaments throughout the years. This is one of the top golf clubs in Illinois, and has a premium price point to match.
As you drive along the long entrance road to the property, you pass by the Cantigny Golf Academy building on the right. Of course the club has the fundamentals, like a grass-tee driving range and a number of practice greens with bunkers. The range is open year-round, lit at night, and is now integrated with Trackman technology. There’s an indoor putting green too. The instruction program caters to both juniors and adults and has 8 teaching pros on staff. There’s a 9-hole youth golf course down the road for kids to work on their game.
As you’d expect, the pro shop here is top notch and stocks a ton of gear, both of the logo and non-logo variety. Cantigny’s main restaurant is called the Fareways Grill and overlooks the golf course. The property is also an Audubon International Sanctuary, meaning it is committed to preserving and enhancing wildlife habitats and protecting natural resources.
Cantigny’s Lakeside course has the honor of having the longest hole on the entire property. That would be the monster 600-yard par-5 second hole, which tees off near the beautiful butterfly-shaped garden atop Butterfly Hill. The scenic environs will distract you at the moment when you need your wits the most. This is the toughest hole on the scorecard, with lakes both right and left of the fairway, routing to a narrow choke point in the short grass, and finally into a tiny triangle-shaped green. From the air, you’ll notice the water to the left of the fairway is also shaped like a butterfly, but this is not the time for sightseeing! It’s all part of the psychological rollercoaster that is the Lakeside track. Steel yourself.
Of the three courses here, this ranks in the middle in terms of difficulty overall, with a 36.6 course rating and a 139 slope rating. Lakeside measures 3,437 yards overall and has six holes with water involved. The finishing par-4 hole is a doozy, with practically the entire fairway and green encircled with water.