Located 40 miles north of Chicago on the shores of Lake Michigan is picturesque Illinois Beach State Park in Zion, Illinois. This 4,160-acre park stretches for six-and-a-half miles along Lake Michigan, and offers 241 sites, 30/50 amp electrical, toilets, drinking water, and a dump station.
Other amenities include beach access, hiking trails, fishing, a nature center, and a park office. Many activities are available in and around Illinois Beach State Park, which is why it is so popular with visitors. As far as golfing is concerned, you’ll have to head south a little bit, but it will be well worth the short drive.
About 20 miles south of Illinois Beach State Park is the venerable Sunset Valley Golf Club, which originally opened in 1920. The course recently underwent a $7 million upgrade, re-opening to the public in mid-August.
The new-look Sunset Valley Golf Club features lots of updates and upgrades. The course reflects a uniquely British Highlands course design with an openness accentuated with strategic landforms, flowing masses of native grasses, and groves of trees which harken back to the character and aesthetic appeal of the course’s original 1920’s-era golf course architecture.
The highlight of the new course is undoubtedly the fourth hole. This short par 3 measures just 162 yards. Golfers must shoot over a breathtaking peninsula that features a natural stone wall embankment outlined by colorful plants and an expanded lake.
The renovated 18-hole course is now a par 72 measuring 6,726 yards from the black tees; there are five sets of tees to choose from.
The 18-month renovation also saw many changes in the clubhouse. The newly remodeled clubhouse now offers a classic modern vibe featuring an expanded golf shop, a new restaurant and bar, cozy lounge and fireplace, and a large outdoor patio with additional seating and fire pits.
If you still need a golf fix, Chicago offers more than 200 courses in the area!
Rick Stedman is an avid golfer, RVer, and writer who lives in Olympia, Washington. Rick writes a golf column, “The RV Golfer,” which is published every month in rvlife.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.