Chicago: 72 holes in 72 hours
By Mike McAllister
Cog Hill Golf and Country Club's Dubsdread course is home to the PGA Tour's Western Open.
Harborside International -- Starboard: Yardage/Par: 7,104/72. Greens fees: $76-$87, cart included. (312) 782-7837. http://www.harborsidegolf.com
Cantigny: Yardage/Par: 6,830-6,981/72. Greens fees: $85, cart included. (630) 668-3323. http://www.cantignygolf.com
Cog Hill No. 4: Yardage/Par: 6,940/72. Greens fees: $128, cart included. (630) 257-5872. http://www.coghillgolf.com
The Glen Club: Yardage/Par: 7,150/72. Greens fees: $105-$130, $20 cart fee (847) 724-7272. http://www.theglenclub.com
Alternative courses: Kemper Lakes, Pine Meadow, Stonewall Orchard, Mistwood, Thunderhawk, Balmoral, Ruffled Feathers
Next week we'll travel to the Boston, Massachusetts area.
(CNN) -- Golfing in Chicago is not for the timid. After all, this is the Windy City, the City of Big Shoulders, that toddlin' town. This is Al Capone's old stomping grounds.
Capone, by the way, did tee it up on a consistent basis. Besides his caddie, Capone evidently was accompanied by several members of his gang -- all the better to find the occasional wayward shot. No lost balls for Mr. Capone.
Perhaps the ghost of Capone will join your group as you tee it up in Chicago. Even if he doesn't, you should have a great weekend of golf in the area (don't worry, we were just kidding about that timid thing). There are numerous top-flight courses -- sorry, historic Medinah is private -- although you'll obviously be limited to a three-season schedule.
After flying into O'Hare International or Midway International (http://www.flychicago.com), here's how we'd play it the rest of the weekend.
Harborside International -- Starboard: You'll get the feel of a Scottish seaside links course in this Dick Nugent-designed layout. But those Scottish courses don't have the Chicago skyline or the Port of Chicago in the distance. Golf Digest magazine rates the Starboard course slightly better than the Port course, although both have the same feel. With its proximity to downtown, you'll have plenty of time to enjoy a nice dinner in the Windy City.
Cantigny: The late publisher of the Chicago Tribune, Robert R. McCormick, wanted his estate in Wheaton to be used, in part, for recreational purposes. In 1989, architect Roger Packard turned it into 27 holes of golfing enjoyment (he added another nine holes a few years later for youth golfers). The signature hole is the ninth at Lakeside. Take a look at one of the bunkers on the right side of the fairway -- it's in the shape of comic detective Dick Tracy.
Cog Hill No. 4: The home of the PGA Tour's Western Open, this course -- named Dubsdread -- is ranked by Golf Digest as the best public-access course in Illinois. When you reach the par-5 5th, try to recreate John Daly's double-eagle in the 1991 event. Dubsdread is a demanding track, but the other three courses are more accessible to the less-skilled golfer. The No. 2 course, Ravines, is about 700 yards shorter from the tips and, at half the price of Dubsdread, is considered a good value among area golfers.
The Glen Club: You wouldn't think a former naval air base would be the foundation for a golf course. But noted golf architect Tom Fazio can build a layout from any environment. What once was Glenview Naval Air Base is now a Golf Digest 4-1/2 star course that played to rave reviews when it opened in 2001. Because he basically started from scratch, Fazio was not hindered by existing terrain -- although he did have to add about 4,000 trees. Because you're so close to the airport, you might have time to visit the Illinois Golf Hall of Fame, located on the main level of the clubhouse, before your flight.