Chicago Highlands enjoys one of the largest properties for an 18-hole golf course in the Chicago area, part of which comes thanks to its willingness to convert a former landfill site to suit its needs. Another benefit of that decision was the ability to mold the terrain into a links-like aesthetic, which Arthur Hills has done nicely.
Despite the nods to Scotland in the fescue-covered hills, this property also sits on one of the highest points in the area, and Hills would have been a fool not to take advantage of the views toward downtown Chicago. This feature of the course is exemplified by No. 9, a drivable par four that sits on the property’s highest point. The putting surface is an alluring one, an infinity green backed by one of America’s largest skylines. Don’t get too distracted!
Heading back to the club's linksland intentions, Hills built blind approaches into several holes, such as the par four No. 3 and the par three No. 13, where players must trust their distance (and the punchbowl) to find a potential birdie putt.
Chi Hi is probably the biggest capital c Country club of been to. The club has basketball, bowling, tennis, a massive pool and a great clubhouse. Because of that the course can be an absolute zoo at times. The property has great views and manmade landforms that attempt to mimic Irish dunes (but come up short of doing so). There are a lot of quirky holes that can be loved or hated. The second hole has seemingly a elephant buried under the fairway. The fourth is a long par three that plays straight through a shoot of hills to a massive green. The seventh has a wild green that has a back section that is probably a good five feet below the front, which I'm not sure you can actually keep it on. Nine is a straight uphill driveable par 4 that is a kinda cool hole if you can get there but kinda annoying for the every man. Despite this, the green has a perfect view of the skyline once its reached. 14 is a similarly driveable hole with a perfect view of the skyline.
Highlands is a unique course. Its not spectacular, there are plenty of weird shots that golf purists and bag tag Barry's will scoff at. The course always plays fast and firm with lightning greens, which is a plus.
Underrated course that deserves more recognition.
I ranked Chicago Highlands average only because it is well-maintained. The golf course is absolutely terrible. This used to be a landfill and I think I would rather visit that site. I’ve never been a fan of Arthur Hills design, and this is one of his worst efforts. There are a lot of blind shots and several idiotically designed holes such as a par three with an incredibly narrow yet lengthily green nestled between two giant mounds of what used to be garbage. I seem to recall another severely uphill par four with no features of any kind other than a tremendous drop off behind the green. To make matters worse, the membership seems to pride themselves on the excessive speed in the greens. I played the North course at Olympia Fields the day before playing here and their greens weren’t nearly this fast. Extraordinarily deep rough combined with outrageously slippery greens and terrible design made for the worst golf experience at a private club I have ever had.