Great Greens, Options Off the Tee Test Even the Best at Hilldale

Hilldale Golf ClubThe Greater Chicago area has one of the largest concentrations of avid golfers in the United States, and with such a sizeable population differing opinions are sure to follow. While it’s open for debate, Hoffman Estates’ Hilldale Golf Club considers its bentgrass greens to be the “Best in the Burbs.”

“The course has been known for years to have the best greens in the burbs, and we’ll hold our course up to some of the private clubs around the area,” said General Manager Bill Salzman. “We’ve had people that are members of private clubs come and tell us that we have greens that are better than theirs. Really, the whole course is in great shape.”

Thousands of golfers who’ve tackled this Robert Trent Jones track since it opened in 1971 have backed the course’s “Best in the Burbs” claim, and they return each year to experience big greens that roll fast and true. To test your skills with the flat stick, put Hilldale on your “must play” list this season.

Visitors to Hilldale have found those finely-manicured greens are just part of the story at the lone RTJ design in Northern Illinois. In an age when distance dominates the conversation and infl uences practice habits of recreational golfers, Hilldale dares to dream that size doesn’t matter.

At a modest 6,432 yards from the back tees, Hilldale requires not only strong forearms, but also a strong mind. Tacticians will find many ways to attack the course as drivers are often cast aside for woods and irons off the tee. Shaping shots and hitting your spots will set the table for approach to those fantastic putting surfaces.

“I think anyone can play this course, but if you learn how to score at this course, you can score just about anywhere,” said General Manager Bill Salzman. “But you have to pay attention and play the right shots. If you watch the pros play on TV they’re not always hitting driver on par 4s. They’re hitting 3-wood or they’re hitting irons. You have to think about what you’re doing on this golf course too.”

Located in the leafy suburb of Hoffman Estates between the Poplar Creek Forest Preserve and the Paul Douglas Forest Preserve, Hilldale Golf Club is a classic tree-lined layout with some history the course has hosted numerous Western Open qualifiers. Water is found on 13 of 18 holes, and is just one of many obstacles at Hilldale that golfers must take into consideration. On several holes, positioning your shot for the best angles to the green is vital, and this aspect of the course affords plenty of risk and reward opportunities to keep the gamblers happy.

“I love it when an architect forces me to think carefully and plan ahead before each shot and offers multiple paths to the green – with plenty of opportunities to get stupid,” once remarked the late Phil Kosin, an advocate for the public golfer and a leading voice on the city golf scene during his career with Chicagoland Golf Magazine.

“It’s a tight golf course – not real long,” said Salzman. “It’s a shot-maker’s course for sure. There’s lots of trouble with a high degree of difficulty. It’s a very challenging golf course; one we’re quite proud of.”

Hilldale’s 550-yard par-5 second is a perfect example of the plotting required to navigate this traditional layout. A true three-shot hole, No. 2 is highlighted by a section of fairway that snakes through two water hazards squeezing it from both sides. The approach shot is to a green tucked behind one of those hazards. The course’s website describes the putting surface as, “Huge, with an elephant buried in the middle of it - that kicks wedges away from middle and back hole locations.” “You have to negotiate your shots, ” said Salzman. “It’s definitely a three-shot hole.”

Hilldale Golf Club is one of the best values in the area and features a driving range with all grass hitting stations and a multi-faceted short game area. The club hosts dozens of golf outings each year and is home to a sports bar and grille as well as an authentic sushi bar.

For more information or to book a tee time visit or call (847) 310-1100.


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