Galena, northwest Illinois offer golf options

GALENA, Ill.—Galena is known for its picturesque views, intriguing architecture and historical sites, but golfers are discovering Galena as one of the Midwest’s premier golf destinations.

Galena and Jo Daviess County offer golf enthusiasts all the amenities of a complete destination. The area’s 10 courses are upstaged only by the unparalleled vistas seen from the rolling hills exclusive to northwest Illinois. Here lies the perfect setting for a memorable golf experience.

Eagle Ridge Inn & Resort

Eagle Ridge Inn & Resort, a 6,800-acre, year-round facility, has become synonymous with golf since the North Course was built in 1977.

Much of the resort’s notoriety comes from The General, the crown jewel of Eagle Ridge. The resort displays three award-winning courses and a nine-hole (East Course) layout.

The General is a masterpiece of construction by designers Roger Packard and Andy North, a combination of state-of-the-art golf course architecture and the awe-inspiring work of the Cosmic Engineer.

Towering, tree-covered hills; deep, plunging valleys and rock formations—dramatic remains from Ice Age glaciers that detoured much of the Galena Territory—are a visual treat for golfers swinging their way through the 6,820 yards of golf nirvana.

A difficult, brilliantly manicured course that cuts through the bottom of a mountain is something every player, or nature lover, will appreciate.

The North Course measures 6,836 heavily wooded yards, including a 533-yard par 4 No. 11 hole, where an antique red barn keeps watch quaintly outside the cart path to the left of the green.

The South Course may be more reachable than the North, but water on eight of the holes ensures a challenge for shot-makers. All of the holes are picturesque, including the signature 512-yard par 5 No. 11, and the two finishing holes are exceptional.

Seven bunkers guard the green on the 159-yard par 3 No.17, and four more sand traps flank the carpet on the 406-yard par 4 No.18, where a creek through the middle of the fairway connects ponds on either side.

Galena Golf Club

At the Galena Golf Club, the 6,623 yards par 71 will demand both length and accuracy off the tee, according to club pro Jeremy Hawkins. Second shots are challenging, due to several undulating greens.

Bunkers guard 13 of the holes, and the rolling topography provides a number of scenic looks off the tee. One of the most appealing is the steep drop-off on the tee of the 432-yard par 4 No. 13, where a winding creek comes into play on the approach shot, and a two-tiered green makes par a score to be earned.

Lacoma Golf Club

The Blue Course of East Dubuque’s Lacoma Golf Club is the one players are drawn to after mastering the nine-hole Red and Gold courses on the 36-hole layout run by Kyle Nelson and head pro Ann Cunningham.

The 3,494 yards on the front nine at the Blue Course present a good challenge and are a match for the player with long drive ability. The back nine, with tight fairways, is no less a challenge.

This course saves its best for last. The 526-yard par 5 No. 15 hole is a double dogleg that allows the bold fairway-wood hitter a scenic shot at reaching the green in two.

Storybrook Country Club

When playing Hanover’s Storybrook Country Club, if the cry, “Turkey!” is heard, it doesn’t mean there’s a sculled chip shot in process. Fox, deer, turtles, pheasants and swan frequent the 18-hole course that features a grand total of two bunkers. The challenge comes in the form of water on 15 of the 18 holes.

Other wildlife, the ducks, enjoy the course’s water, which is understandable since Hanover is known as the “Mallard Capital of the World.” The drive to Storybrook from Galena is a gorgeous one along Blackjack Road.

Apple Canyon Lake

The golf course at Apple Canyon Lake is open to the public and, like much of the land in Jo Daviess County, pours forth a feeling that is subtle and thrilling at the same time.

Most of the greens are elevated. The 368-yard par 4 No. 7 and 431-yard par 4 No. 8 are the only holes on the course that run parallel.

Blackhawk Run Golf Course

Blackhawk Run Golf Course in Stockton is wide open and straight, except for a dogleg par 4 No. 7 hole, but elevated greens on virtually every hole make scoring here a rough proposition.

Naturally, beauty abounds along this 6,478-yard golf course, whose most difficult test comes at the 423-yard par 4 No. 12. It’s one of only three holes on the course without sand, but its steeping elevation makes it play longer.

Woodbine Bend Championship Golf Course

The county’s newest play is Woodbine Bend Championship Golf Course, offering a fun professional links-style course surrounded by moguls and fescue grass with four tee placements.

The par 5 No. 16 hole is “nothing but trouble,” according to Roger Stoddard, co-owner. The 575-yard hole has fescue on both sides and a water hazard on the front right and a small creek to capture a long shot. In addition, the course offers a full menu restaurant for fine casual dining, a banquet facility and driving range lessons.

When the golf fix is complete, Galena and the surrounding communities offer a varied appeal that is hard to resist! The “vintage charm and contemporary spirit” found in Galena has visitors returning for more.

For more information, contact the Galena/Jo Daviess County Convention & Visitors Bureau at 877-GO GALENA (464-2536) or

From the June 28-July 4, 2006, issue

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