Half the size all the fun

Nine holes of golf may be just the right amount

Whether you are heading out with your favorite junior golfer, your aging mom, or just looking for a bit of golf to get you through the day, an area nine-hole course may be the perfect fit.

Check out this list of 10 great local nine-holes, and squeeze in a round, anytime!

Pottawatomie Golf Course
845 N. 2nd Ave., St. Charles.
Call (630) 584-8356 or visit www.pottawatomiegc.com

Situated in Pottawatomie Park and adjacent to the Fox River, Pottawatomie Golf Course has served as an inviting backdrop for golfers and their families for nearly eight decades. The course welcomes participants of all ages and abilities and plays host to numerous tournaments and leagues each season in addition to offering lessons and clinics. Familiar surroundings and challenges entice returners and newcomers alike, as anyone who ever has taken aim at the island green on hole No. 3 can attest.

River Bend Golf Club
5900 Illinois Route 53, Lisle
Call (630) 968-1920 or visit www.riverbendgolfclub.org

Geographically accessible given its location near the intersection of interstates 88 and 355, River Bend is equally accommodating to golfers once they arrive on the grounds. The course provides four sets of tees to challenge athletes of all skill levels, playing up to3,600 yards from the back tees. Keep an eye out for friendly course pup Brody, who doubles as River Bend’s goose patrol, to make your round feel even more like a casual neighborhood outing.

Winnetka Golf Club
1300 Oak St., Winnetka
Call (847) 501-2050 or visit www.winnetkagolfclub.org

Open year-round, weather permitting, the nine-hole, Par-3 course at Winnetka Golf Club has long been an early training ground for budding athletes on the North Shore. The layout tests various aspects of golfers’ short- and mid-range clubs; at 210 yards, the No. 9 hole is the longest on the course, while the 78-yard third hole is the shortest. Although an offseason round might suggest a casual vibe, remember that there’s a dress code at the club. Men must wear shirts with sleeves, while women’s shirt must have one-inch straps or sleeves. Cut-offs are forbidden.

Zigfield Troy Golf
1535 75thSt., Woodridge
Call (630) 985-9860 or visit www.zigfieldtroygolf.com

“Ziggy’s,” as it is colloquially known, traditionally warms the hearts of its regulars – and the heated driving range stalls provided daily during the chilly offseason are merely a start. The Par-3 course beckons newcomers to develop a taste for golf while challenging veterans to make themselves even more precise in approaching the pin. Playing “Ziggy’s” may also lend golfers a leg up down the line. “If golfers spent more time on their short game (150 yards and in), they’d improve their game tremendously,” reads a quote from Bill Hatfield on the course website.

Robert A. Black Golf Course
2045 Pratt Blvd., Chicago
Call (312) 742-7931 or visit www.robertblack.cpdgolf.com

There’s something about golfing within the Chicago city limits and knowing that pristine fairways and greens can coexist amid skyscrapers and the urban hustle and bustle. Robert A. Black, a Chicago Park District course, fits that bill and even offers sand traps, the next best thing to the Lake Michigan beach scene. One child 17 and under can play for free with each pending adult, pending space. If a child is without a paying adult, he or she can play for free before 7 a.m., between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. and after 6 p.m. Walking only.

Youth Links – Cantigny Golf
27w071 Mack Road, Wheaton
Call (630) 260-8270 or visit www.cantignygolf.com/youth-links

Junior players ages 8 to 15 can experience a day in the life of big time golf when they play this special, nine-hole layout. There’s a clubhouse, golf shop and snack bar catered specifically to the younger set, as well as tournaments, group outings and special events throughout the summer. Any player up to 15 years of age who fulfills Cantigny Golf’s Level 1 certification clinic may play unsupervised. However, those golfers who lack such certification must be accompanied by an adult during the round.

Rich Harvest Farms
7S771 Dugan Road, Sugar Grove
Call (630) 466-0913 or visit www.kidsgolffoundation.org

A private course that has hosted such notable men’s and women’s golfers as Arnold Palmer, Laura Davies, Michelle Wieand Jon Rahm, Rich Harvest Farms doubles as home of the Kids Golf Foundation of Illinois, whose mission is to grow the game – ideally beyond measure. The Foundation offers access to Rich Harvest Farms’ expansive indoor and outdoor facilities, although the course itself is off limits outside of specific Foundation events. The course also has provided young golfers up-close access while hosting numerous top amateur tournaments through the years.

Shiloh Park Golf Course
23rd Street and Bethesda Boulevard, Zion
Call (847) 746-5500, ext. 420, or visit www.shilohparkgolf.com

Work on your game in a beautiful setting, at Shiloh Park Golf Course. Various junior clinics are offered throughout the season. The nine-hole layout plays a 2,900 yards and presents challenges throughout. Shiloh Park hosts numerous special events and tournaments before, during and after peak golf season, offering opportunities to socialize as well as enjoy the sport.

Boone Creek Golf Club
6912 Mason Hill Road, Bull Valley
Call (815) 455-6900 or visit www.boonecreekgc.com

Boone Creek comprises three separate, nine-hole courses, giving McHenry County residents and other visitors the option of mixing and matching a one-of-a-kind experience should they opt to play 18 holes. But family golf is supposed to be fun, so let’s not worry about math for the moment. In addition to diverse challenges spread across the various courses, young golfers can participate in instructional classes as part of the McHenry Golf Academy. Group instruction also is available.

Hickory Knoll Golf Course
24745 W. Monaville Road, Lake Villa
Call(847) 356-8640 or visit www.hickoryknollgolfcourse.com

A rolling, well-kept course that recently marked 70 years in the community, Hickory Knoll bills itself as Lake County’s best-kept golfing secret. The course can play as a Par-3 or longer, depending on the tee boxes players choose. Although many golfers elect to walk during their round, golf carts are available for use, as well. Should an errant shot require you to go off the proverbial beaten path, an inviting view of nature awaits.