Heritage Oaks Golf Club Overview
Northbrook Park District’s jewel of a golf club began as an idea in 1929 to build a golf course attached to a local airport called Sky Harbor. That original concept was never executed, but in 1931, businessman George L. Chamberlain opened Sportsman’s Country Club on the property, designed by Edward B. Dearie. Nine-time PGA Tour winner and Ryder Cup player Al Espinosa was appointed as the first managing director. A 1931 ad for Sportsman’s in the Chicago Tribune claimed “three lakes dot the course and there are five water holes that would baffle even Bobby Jones.” The club opened with 27 holes, and still has that many today.
In 1978, the Northbrook Park District bought the 18-hole course for $8.3 million. Later, the 9-hole course, which occupies the northeast corner of the property, was purchased for $7.2 million in 1987. The club underwent various building and course upgrades throughout the years until the most recent master plan was enacted in 2019. Jacobson Golf Course Design was hired to completely overhaul both golf courses and build a brand new clubhouse. The project cost $13.3 million and took two years, reopening in August 2021 with spectacular results and a new name: Heritage Oaks.
Heritage Oaks is beautifully maintained with attention to detail. The 18-hole course is a 6,309 yard, par-70 affair, with a rating of 70.2 and a slope of 128. The course is both interesting and challenging, with 6 ponds throughout and heavily bunkered fairways and greens. Mature trees are everywhere, putting a premium on accuracy. There are some hills here, but the property is mostly flat. The longest hole is 541 yards, but the hardest is just 393 yards long -- the par-4 2nd hole. The tight fairway is protected both by bunkers and three separate water hazards. Choose your spots carefully.
The new clubhouse is strikingly modern and impressive. The Acorn Grill + Terrace restaurant serves up American bar food staples with flair. The pro shop is spacious, with tons of logo and non-logo merch you crave. Importantly, Heritage Oaks’ practice facility is top notch. The driving range is equipped with Trackman tech, though it doesn’t have standalone TV screens to display your shots. Instead, you can monitor the data on your phone with an app. There’s a huge putting green, and also a separate green for chipping and bunker practice. This place has it all.