By Phil Stambaugh, Champions Tour staff
Even though he’s an upstate New Yorker by birth, Jeff Sluman is practically a Chicago native, having lived in the Windy City for more than a third of his life. Sluman’s wife, Linda, is from the Chicago suburb of Hinsdale, and each year, Sluman has braved the Chicago winters during his offseason while at the same time taking advantage of the many cultural things Chicago has to offer. Sluman will have a home game for the first time as a Champions Tour member when the new Encompass Championship is played at North Shore Country Club in Glenview in the third week of June. Admittedly, Sluman is excited that, for the first time in more than a decade, Chicago fans will have a chance to see many of their favorites from the days of the Western Open at Butler National and Cog Hill. Sluman recently sat down with Champions Tour media official Phil Stambaugh and gave a personal tour of Chicago, listing things visitors to the city can see and do this summer.
Cog Hill and Ruffled Feathers Golf Club would be the two public courses I would choose. Cog Hill is located 30 miles southwest of Chicago and offers players of every ability level an opportunity to enjoy the game. The facility is owned by the Jemsek family and has four championship golf courses, including Dubsdread, which is ranked among the top-100 courses in the country by Golf and Golf Digest. Ruffled Feathers is located 30 minutes from downtown Chicago in Lemont, and it’s the only Pete and P.B. Dye-designed golf course in the Chicagoland area. Ruffled Feathers has some great par-3s, and the overall experience is one you’d normally get at a private course.
There are so many great private courses in the Chicago area, probably more than any other metropolitan area in the United States. I would choose Shoreacres in Lake Forest, an old Seth Raynor design, north of the city, and Chicago Golf Club, the first 18-hole golf course in America, designed by C.B. Macdonald. The layout has stood the test of time and was one of the five original clubs that founded the USGA. I’d then list Medinah No. 3, Butler National Golf Club, Olympia Fields Country Club and North Shore Country Club. I think all of the Champions Tour players will enjoy the challenge of North Shore. Over time I think its going to be one of our favorite venues. It will be in wonderful condition. It’s a Colt-Alison design from the early 1900s, and anything Harry Colt had his hand on is spectacular.
Where to Stay
There is wonderful lodging throughout the downtown Chicago area, all at different price points. My two favorites are The Peninsula and the Four Seasons. The Peninsula is a modern hotel, set in the heart of the Magnificent Mile and centrally located near Lake Michigan and the city’s other attractions, businesses and entertainment. The Four Seasons is located on Michigan Avenue and is also centrally located near the Magnificent Mile. It offers great views of Lake Michigan and the Chicago skyline from your room.
Where to Eat
Chicago has so many wonderful restaurants, but there are three that really are my personal favorites. There’s an outstanding place downtown called The Pump Room, located in the old Ambassador East Hotel than has been renamed Public. It’s an Ian Schrager boutique hotel, and his restaurant inside the hotel is spectacular. I also have an Italian restaurant in the Little Italy section of Chicago that I like called Davanti Enoteca. It has classic food and a great wine list. Perhaps the hottest new place to go is also downtown, and it’s called The Boarding House. It’s primo, with four different floors, and the main dining room on the third floor has a high ceiling and plenty of windows for a terrific view. The menu is diverse with wines from all over the world. I can’t imagine anyone being disappointed after eating at The Boarding House.
One of the things I would make sure I’d do on a nice summer day is take a Segway Tour of the downtown area. You can take in the shore of Lake Michigan, as well as all of the museums in the city. The museums are terrific, and my favorite is the Museum of Science and Industry. There’s also the Shedd Aquarium, the Adler Planetarium, the Field Museum which houses the T-Rex dinosaur. If you aren’t afraid of heights, you need to go to the Willis Tower, the second tallest building in the United States. There’s a glass build-out on the side of the building at the 95th floor, and you can actually look straight down because it’s all glass.