Wilmette Golf Club Overview
Historic Wilmette Golf Club was known as Playmore Golf Club when it opened in 1923. The September 11th, 1922 Chicago Tribune stated “Membership in the new Playmore course near Wilmette, on which work has been started, can be had for $50. This is to be a course of championship class designed by George O’Neil.” The course was built in record time. A Washington Times article from September 29th, 1922 claimed “44 days to lay out an 18-hole course is the record credited to Peter N. Jans and his associates in the new Playmore Golf Club near Chicago. Jans had charge of the construction, the course being laid out by George O’Neill, Joe Roseman, and Jack Croke. The full layout will be 6,855 yards, one of the longest in the country. There are several dogleg holes but no blind ones.” Shortly after it opened, the name changed from Playmore to Golfmore Land Club. And in 1924, it was renamed again to the current moniker.
Northwestern University bought the course toward the end of WWII in 1944. And in 1972, the Wilmette Park District purchased it from the school for $4.2 million. The course may be a century old, but it feels fresh and robust due to a $2.5 million renovation, completed in 2014, that addressed drainage issues and freshened the course in numerous ways.
Wilmette measures 6,363 yards, but plays longer than that due to the par-70 layout. There’s only two par-5’s -- one on each nine, the longest of which is 531 yards. The course is well maintained; you can tell they take pride in the landscaping. The North Branch of the Chicago River runs through the outer northwestern edge of the course, feeding several ponds on the property, resulting in 8 holes with water in play. The main challenge here, like most Chicago-area courses, is keeping it in the fairway and avoiding the big, mature trees that line them. And some of these fairways are really narrow, like on hole #10 where it’s only 20 yards wide. The course rating is 70.8, and the slope is 128. Overall, the venue is really flat, with no hills to navigate, save for a slightly elevated green complex here and there.
The practice facility here has a 30-bay driving range with mats only and two practice greens, with one bunker. There’s an additional practice area for private lessons. The clubhouse is big and modern, and houses the pro shop that has a good amount of merch to offer. There’s usually some sale racks to peruse; get yourself a good deal. The restaurant here is called The Lawn and has the American fare classics you crave.