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Take a tour of nine of the area's best golf practice facilities

Published: Friday, Aug. 1, 2014 6:28 a.m. CST
(Mark Busch - mbusch@shawmedia.com)
Golfers hone their skills on driving range at the Bolingbrook Golf Club Golf Academy practice facility.
(Erica Benson - ebenson@shawmedia.com)
Carter Ester of Wheaton works on chipping at Cantigny Golf Club on July 24.
(Bill Ackerman - backerman@shawmedia.com)
Dan Gaughan works Monday with his son, Ryan, on the driving range at Chicago Players Club in Justice.
(Mark Busch - mbusch@shawmedia.com)
A golfer works Monday on putting on the practice green at Oak Brook Golf Club.
(Erica Benson - ebenson@shawmedia.com)
Dave Randa of Geneva practices July 24 on the putting green at Prairie Landing Golf Club in West Chicago.
(Mark Busch - mbusch@shawmedia.com)
A golfer works Monday on one of the three putting greens at The Village Links of Glen Ellyn.
(Erica Benson - ebenson@shawmedia.com)
George D'Andrea of Woodridge practices on the driving range at Oak Meadows Golf Club on July 25.
(Erica Benson - ebenson@shawmedia.com)
A golfer takes a swing on one of the grass tees at the driving range at St. Andrews Golf Club on July 25.
(Erica Benson - ebenson@shawmedia.com)
Anson Hinkle of Woodridge practices on the driving range at White Pines Golf Club on July 25.
Maximize your practice time with a 1-hour routine  

In the game of golf, practice makes perfect. The more time spent honing skills, the better the scores will be. Many golf courses have driving ranges, putting greens and chipping areas, but some courses take things up a level with grass practice tees, heated hitting bays and even playable practice holes. For golfers looking to improve their games, the suburbs are fertile with top-notch practice facilities. Here are nine locations that offer some of the best amenities.

Bolingbrook Golf Club

WHERE: 1001 Kings Road, Bolingbrook

CONTACT: 630-771-9400, bolingbrookgolfclub.com

Amenities: Located apart from the main clubhouse, this practice center was voted among the top 50 public facilities in the country by the Golf Range Association of America in 2013. With 40 artificial turf mats and 75 grass tees, hundreds of golfers can hit at the same time.

Sizable and well-manicured chipping and putting greens are on site, but what helps set Bolingbrook Golf Club apart is the practice holes. Four greens with two holes each align with several tee boxes and include all the obstacles – bunkers, fescue, rough – players might encounter on the course, allowing golfers to create their own practice holes that play up to 250 yards.

Cantigny Golf Club

WHERE: 27W240 Mack Road, Wheaton

CONTACT: 630-260-8199, cantignygolf.com

Amenities: Cantigny is home to a terrific practice facility with every possible amenity available for players looking to take their games to the next level.

The facilities are well-maintained. There are nearly 70 hitting stations available on the range with both mats or grass tees, along with a chipping area and putting green, and the price for of a bucket of range balls starts at just $7.

Chicago Players Club

WHERE: 8500 W. 79th St., Justice

CONTACT: 708-924-9889, chicagoplayersclub.com

Amenities: Located just south of Archer Ave. and a little east of La Grange Road, Chicago Players Club is a practice-only facility, but it still allows players to perfect their games.

The club features 30 mats and 20 grass tees plus chipping and putting greens. A bucket of balls starts at $7, and there are heated hitting bays for players looking to stay sharp in colder months. Monthly memberships that include unlimited range balls are priced at $100, and a seasonal membership goes for $600. The amenities will get even better next year with the introduction of practice holes on site.

Oak Brook Golf Club

WHERE: 2606 York Road, Oak Brook

CONTACT: 630-990-3032, oak-brook.org/234/Golf-Club

Amenities: One thing that sets Oak Brook apart from most practice facilities is that all of the 30 hitting stations on the driving range feature grass tees; there are no mats here. Hitting off grass tees in practice more closely resembles playing conditions out on the course and better prepares players for the rigors of a round.

In addition to the driving range, where the price for a bucket of balls starts at $4.50, there is a large short-game near the range where players can practice the chipping and putting.

Oak Meadows Golf Club

WHERE: 900 N. Wood Dale Road, Addison

CONTACT: 630-595-0071, dupagegolf.com

Amenities: Oak Meadows’ all-grass hitting area is the best feature here. Although it is a smaller facility than some others in the area, with just over 30 grass hitting stations, this is a great place to go to practice. Instruction with PGA certified teaching professionals is available.

A small bucket on the range costs $5 while a large one will run $9, and there is a chipping area and putting green on site to work on short game skills.

Prairie Landing Golf Club

WHERE: 2325 Longest Drive, West Chicago

CONTACT: 630-208-7600, prairielanding.com

Amenities: One of the best features of the practice area at Prairie Landing is that, along with a range, there are two dedicated practice holes where players can work on strategy and hitting shots.

Having actual golf holes is great for practicing things that can’t be tested on the range, such as uphill, downhill or sidehill lies and working on pre-shot routines. Both mats and grass tees can be used at the range, while there is also a chipping and putting green.

St. Andrews Golf Practice Center

WHERE: 2241 Rte. 59, West Chicago

CONTACT: 630-231-3160, standrewsgc.com

Amenities: The quality and size of this facility make it one of the best in the suburbs. Prices to hit off grass tees are a bit more expensive than that of mats; prices start at $4 per bucket. St. Andrews has 80 grass and 70 mat hitting stations in addition to putting and chipping greens. The grass tees close at dusk, but the mats are well lit for after-dark practice.

This facility was voted among the top 50 public facilities in the country by the Golf Range Association of America in 2013.

Village Links of Glen Ellyn

WHERE: 485 Winchell Way, Glen Ellyn

CONTACT: 630-469-8180, villagelinksgolf.com

Amenities: With the clubhouse having been recently rebuilt, the overall experience at Village Links seemingly gets better every year, and that includes the practice area.

The driving range offers more than 30 mats and also has grass tees to hit from, with buckets starting at $5. There is also a short game area and a putting green to hone short game skills, and players can check their improvement by playing the Links’ nine-hole course, which is more forgiving than the challenging 18-hole circuit.

White Pines Golf Club

WHERE: 500 W. Jefferson St., Bensenville

CONTACT: 630-766-0304, whitepinesgolf.com

Amenities: Grass and mats are available here on the same range, 30 of each, and there are two putting greens, but perhaps the best feature at White Pines is the availability of winter practice in the dome. It is open November through April and provides the ability to practice year-round.

When in season, the dome is open daily from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. and includes 50 hitting stations on two levels along with a virtual golf simulator, five large target greens surrounded by bunkers, six suspended hitting targets and a 45-foot long contoured putting green.

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