Northwest Illinois is a hidden gem for golfing and scenic beauty in the Midwest. Jo Daviess County, which includes the historic city of Galena, is only a two-hour drive from Chicago, and even less from the Quad Cities, Madison and Cedar Rapids. “Galena and Jo Daviess County offers visitors a quality golf experience at an unmatched value,” says Galena/Jo Daviess County CVB Director, Katherine Walker. “We boast 10 superb golf courses that appeal to a wide range of players — from family golf to championship, and from hilly terrain to links-style courses.”
Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa and their four championship golf courses ranks tops among the region’s golf offerings. Their signature course and crowning achieve- ment, The General, ranks among the Top 100 Courses You Can Play by Golf Digest magazine. There is a 250-foot ele- vation change throughout the entire golf course, with spectacular views of three states: Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin. The signature hole on The General is No. 14, a par 4 with 180 feet of elevation change from tee to green.
Multi-Million Dollar Makeover
Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa’s 63 holes of truly championship golf offer a challenge at every level. The four golf courses of Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa boast their own facilities including a clubhouse complete with golf shop, and grill.
In late 2011, the courses at Eagle Ridge went through a massive, multi- million-dollar makeover and restoration. The reconstruction included the rebuilding of over 100 bunkers throughout all four golf courses, bringing them back to their original USGA quality. “Golf is the game of choice at Eagle Ridge,” said Ikhlas Ahmed, General Manager of Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa. “There is much more to do, and some- thing for every member of the family in the area.”
Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa’s luxurious accommodations include 80 inn rooms and more than 230 vacation rental homes and villas (1 – 6 bedrooms). “Our world-class spa and award-winning dining options, along with several value- priced getaway packages combine to make Eagle Ridge the perfect golf and getaway destination in the Midwest,” Ahmed said.
In addition to The General, the other three striking tracks at Eagle Ridge Resort include the South, North and East Courses. The South Course has also voted one of the top 75 upscale courses in the country. This scenic beau- ty winds through a stunning wooded valley where streams come into play on 11 of the 18 holes. The signature hole on the South is No. 18, a 406-yard par 4 with the tee set 90 feet above a landing area, which is guarded by lakes on both sides and a stream that crosses the fairway 265 yards from the tee.
The North Course is characterized by scenic elevated tee boxes offering long vistas of the Galena Territory countryside, and plush, rolling fairways. The North is the only course on the property that gives you the opportunity to see a great view of Lake Galena in one of its more unique settings. The signature hole on the North is No. 8, which is a 165-yard par 3 with 80 feet of elevation change from tee to green. The tee shot on No. 8 crosses the corner of Lake Galena, opening up to a spectacular view of the lake and its abundant rock outcroppings.
The East Course at Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa is the ideal place for juniors and for those who are just learning to play. The East Course is a par-34, 9-hole course, with one par 5, three par 3s and four par 4s. The course has challenging undulating greens and beautiful rock outcroppings. The signature hole on the East Course is hole No. 3, a short, tight par 4 with a stream running all the way up the left and a 30-foot rock wall along the right. The hole plays 290 yards through a quiet, secluded valley. The bold, big hitter may take a crack at driving this green. The East Course is also the perfect choice for those who only have time to play nine, or those looking to tack on an additional nine before the late-setting spring or summer sunset for the day.
Family Time Golf
The East Course at Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa is also home to Eagle Ridge’s U.S. Kids Junior Golf Course. Tee markers positioned along the fairways lie in front of the standard blue, white and red tee boxes and give children and other golfers a shorter, quicker and beginner-friendly course to play.
In addition to the East Course at Eagle Ridge, there are several family-friendly tracks for you try out in Jo Daviess County. For one, check out the Lacoma Golf Course in East Dubuque. This great golf course near Galena provides 45 holes of golf, including an 18-hole championship course, two 9-hole courses and a par-3 course. This welcoming golf club claims several first-class amenities including banquet facilities, full bar and pro shop.
Scenic Beauty Everywhere
Everywhere you look in Jo Daviess County, you are face-to-face with breath-taking scenic beauty. You will experience some of the finest manicured golf courses at the best prices in the Midwest. The Galena Golf Club and Woodbine Bend Golf Course both provide challenging 18-hole golf, full bars, grille, pro shop and practice range.
“There’s a really great variety of available golf in Galena and Jo Daviess County,” Walker said. “The intimate nature and close proximity of courses in the area allow you to play two different types of courses in the same day, and several while on your getaway to the region.”
More than Just a Place to Stay
Accommodations in Northwest Illinois range from the luxurious inn rooms and vacation rental homes of Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa, to historic hotels and various bed and breakfast experiences. Throw in outstanding restaurants serving locally-sourced cuisine and a lively night- life, and you will understand why Galena and Jo Daviess County is the golf getaway destination for so many in the Midwest.