By Jim Hagerty
ROCKFORD – It is sometimes difficult to miss the sprawling beauty of a well-maintained golf course, even for those who have never played a round or picked up a club.
Even a mediocre-course can offer a picturesque blend of sport and nature. Locally, the five courses owned by the Rockford Park District are anything but mediocre. With summer ahead, staff at the city’s award-winning courses are preparing for another successful season for players of all skill levels.
Aldeen Golf Club, 1902 Reid Farm Road, Rockford
A premium course, Aldeen Golf Club includes a state-of-the-art practice center, driving range and a country club atmosphere. The course measures 7,131 yards with more than 60 bunkers. Keith Creek winds through the entire track, placing water on 12 of 18 holes. The course was named Best Municipal Course in Illinois by Golf Digest in 2009. Aldeen was also named among the Top 50 courses in the country under $50 by GOLF Digest.
Elliot Golf Course, 888 S. Lyford Road, Cherry Valley
Ellliot is an 18-hole course, known for a wide-open landscape that offers straightforward strategy, making it ideal for novice players. The course spans 6,732 yards and offers three tee boxes per hole. Greens are spacious.
Ingersoll Golf Course, 101 Daisyfield Road, Rockford
Ingersoll Golf Course is nestled in a grove of tight trees on Rockford’s far west side. It also features a top-notch practice facility, the Ingersoll Learning Links that was made possible in part by the Tiger Woods Foundation. The 18-hole course is a short 6,107 yards and offers rolling tree lines and slick greens.
Sandy Hollow Golf Course, 2670 Sandy Hollow Road, Rockford
Like Elliot, Sandy Hollow is known for its open fairways and big putting surfaces. Built in 1930, the 18-hole course has a 6,228- yard spread and par of 71. An official course of the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary program, Sandy Hollow is also a nature and wildlife sanctuary.
Sinnissippi Golf Course, 2004 Arlington Ave., Rockford
With a par of 37 and 3,230-yards, nine-hole Sinnissippi Golf Course is a popular track for novice and advanced players. Fairways are wide, yet hilly. Built in 1912, Sinnissippi is Rockford’s oldest course. Part of Sinnissippi Park, the facility is across from Nicholas Conservatory.
More information about Rockford’s municipal golf courses is available at golfrockford.org, and by calling 815-968-7529.
The Forest Preserve of Winnebago County also owns and manages three top-rated municipal courses just minutes from the city limits. The Atwood Homestead Golf Course is an 18-hole course at 8990 Old River Road, Rockford. The 18-hole Macktown Golf Course is at 2221 Freeport Road, Rockton. The Ledges Golf Course is an 18-hole course at 7111 McCurry Road, Roscoe.