Gotta Golf?

Beginner, intermediate or pro, St. Louis area golf courses offer something for everyone. Courses here run the gamut from a great links course just five miles from downtown to an 18-hole set in beautiful Forest Park, the city’s 1,300-acre centerpiece park.

Gateway National Golf Links, one of the area’s best links courses, is just five miles from downtown St. Louis across the Mississippi River in southwestern Illinois. Its location within sight of the Gateway Arch makes this course very convenient for visitors staying in downtown hotels. The 18-hole course, designed by golf architect Keith Foster, is the only public-access course in the St. Louis area featuring bent grass fairways. Nestled in the Mississippi River basin Gateway National features rolling links with gentle berms on lush green pasturelands. It offers the visitor great views of the St. Louis skyline. When it opened in 1998, Gateway National was named one of Golf Digest’s best new public courses. The facilities include a 20-plus acre driving range and a 7,000-square-foot clubhouse with a pro shop.

Forest Park Golf Course, seven miles from downtown, offers the golfer a 27-hole course in one of St. Louis’ most scenic areas. The course includes 18 holes of moderate difficulty and a flat 9-hole course with no sand traps that is suitable for novice players. Built in 1912, the course is one of the oldest in St. Louis and gives golfers the opportunity to play in beautiful surroundings with historical significance. The greens are well-conditioned and have true rolls. One hole crosses Grand Basin of Art Hill where the 1904 World’s Fair was staged. The pro shop is in the Lindell Pavilion, which was a train station office built for the 1904 World’s Fair. Nearby is the St. Louis Art Museum, the world-famous Saint Louis Zoo, Saint Louis Science Center and the Missouri History Museum as well as other park attractions.

Annbriar, an 18-hole public course with a 4-star rating from Golf Digest, is just 23 miles from downtown St. Louis in Waterloo, IL. Suitable for golfers of all levels, the front 9 holes are a links-style course while the back 9 holes are on rolling terrain. Designed by golf architect Michael Hurdzan, the course has a minimum of five sets of tees for each hole and a 141 slope.

Belk Park Golf Course, 11 miles from downtown St. Louis in Wood River, IL., is one of the most popular courses in the St. Louis area. This municipal 18-hole championship course was designed by golf course architect E. L. Packard and has been described as long enough and challenging enough for experienced golfers and open and forgiving enough for the inexperienced. New tees have been added making the course suitable for varying abilities.

Native grasses and tall oaks are what you’ll find at Fair Oaks Golf Club in Caseyville, IL. This 27-hole, par 72 semi-public course is just 15 minutes from downtown and offers rolling, tree-lined fairways ending at large but well-protected bent grass greens. Lakes, mounds and 96 sand traps make the course a challenge although players at all levels will enjoy this course. There’s also a 9-hole par 3 course and a great driving range. Tee times at this course, designed by past Masters champion Bob Goalby, are taken up to seven days in advance. The facility includes an 8,000-square-foot clubhouse with a full-service restaurant, a PGA-staffed pro shop and a multi-level practice range with a 9-hole target course. Golf outings are this course’s specialty.

Stonewolf Golf Club in Fairview Heights, IL, 14 miles from downtown St. Louis, is an 18-hole Jack Nicklaus signature course measuring 6,900 yards with five sets of tees for each hole. The course, rated No. 2 in the country by Golf Digest for best new courses to open in 1997, has zoysia fairways and tees and bent grass greens. With wooded and scenic hills with sharp elevation changes, the course presents a unique and challenging game. The club also features a state-of-the-art practice facility and global positioning systems on all of its carts. The 8,500-square-foot clubhouse can handle parties from 4 to 400 and Jacks on the Green, the course’s restaurant, serves American cuisine.

Spencer T. Olin Golf Course in Alton, IL is an 18-hole championship course 20 miles from downtown St. Louis. Designed by Arnold Palmer and managed by a Palmer golf management company, the course is city-owned but does not have the feel of a typical municipal course. With four sets of tees on every hole, this course can accommodate players of all levels. The course has a fully-accessible driving range, a practice putting green and a chipping green. The USGA Men’s Amateur has been held here and televised on ESPN. Located in Gordon Moore Park about 20 miles from downtown St. Louis, visitors will find baseball and soccer fields, championship tennis courts, a world-renowned tennis court and a fishing lake nearby.

Quail Creek Golf Club is an 18-hole, Hale Irwin-designed course just 15 miles from downtown St. Louis. Set among rolling hills with Bermuda grass fairways and with a stream meandering through it, the course is a challenging par 72. It is best suited for the experienced player although four tee placements will accommodate most players’ abilities. Strategically placed bunkers make driving a premium. The course, considered one of the finest 18-hole facilities in the St. Louis area, has hosted USGA tournaments and a U.S. Open qualifier.

Tapawingo Golf Course in suburban Sunset Hills, 18 miles from downtown, was designed by golf great Gary Player who has said the site is so perfect “God designed the first six holes,” and his design company “helped out with the rest.” The course has trees, rolling terrain, good elevations and water. The Meramec River borders the lower area. Gentleman’s Quarterly has rated Tapawingo the most difficult course in St. Louis. The woodlands course has a lot of elevation change, the prairie nine is a links-style course and the Meramec nine skirts the scenic Meramec River.

Designed by Tom Fazio, who is considered one of golf’s top architects, Missouri Bluffs Golf Club has been rated the best public course in Missouri and No. 5 among all courses by Golf Digest. The 18-hole public course, located 35 miles from downtown St. Louis in St. Charles, Missouri, has a 74.4 rating and a slope of 140. With five sets of tees, the course is appropriate for every skill level. It features zoysia fairways and tees and bent grass greens. The Nike St. Louis Classic Tournament was held here in 1996. Facilities include a restaurant which can accommodate outings, weddings, banquets and meetings.

Updated August 10, 2010


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