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Hello Chicago! It’s Jenn, I’m excited to share with you a little bit about myself and some of my favorite ways to enjoy the city of Chicago, even during these rough, cold months.

After living in Florida for 8 years it’s been quite the adjustment moving back. Junior year of high school, I decided to move to Florida in order to improve my golf game. I attended the David Leadbetter Golf Academy at IMG Academy, a private athletic institute for young athletes. After high school, I played on the Rollins College women’s team leaving me spoiled with many years of sunshine all year round.

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Any other golfers living in Chicago can all relate to the struggle of keeping your game together before summer rolls back around, especially if you live in the city. I am eager to share with you how I’ve continued to enjoy golf during the cold months, as well as staying active and resisting hibernating inside at home!

In terms of golf, the city of Chicago has some unique facilities, one of which I did not know existed. There is the option of hitting range balls to the back of a large dome, basically an indoor golf range, which is how I practiced during the winter prior to taking off to Florida. I always believed this to be the most beneficial way to practice when it is not possible to outside. The dome allows you to see approximately 70 yards of your ball flight before the back wall stops it, giving you the closest sensation to reality. The closest golf domes around the city of Chicago include:

White Pines Golf Dome (500 W. Jefferson Ave, Bensenville)

Links & Tees Golf Dome (880 W. Lake Street, Addison)

McQ’s Sports Dome (730 N. Bolingbrook Drive, Bolingbrook)

Buffalo Grove Golf and Sports Center (801 McHenry Road, Buffalo Grove) 

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The only problem with golf domes is the demand for such a large amount of space, which is not easy to make happen in the middle of a city, making it an inconvenient commute for city-goers. Different from golf domes, but much more accessible to find in Chicago are golf simulators. Golf simulators are not only a great form of practice, but are great fun as well! Simulators allow golfers to play the game on a graphically simulated driving range or golf course. With today’s technology, simulators are able to accurately measure and track impact angles, swing speed, total distance, swing tempo, golf ball speed, swing path, shot dispersion and much more that not even the best driving range is able to indicate! Playing indoors on a simulator can in fact be a helpful tool, as it provides players with information they would not be aware of on a normal course; simulators track statistics and swing habits. The largest downfall to this type of practice, in my opinion, is the ability to practice off of real surfaces. Nothing compares to practicing off real fairways, rough, sand traps and putting greens. Many facilities offer the ability to play and practice on these simulators within the city of Chicago, including:

Fairways (1141 W. Armitage, Chicago)

Play18 Chicago (17 N. Wabash Avenue, Chicago)

City Tee Time (330 S. Wells Street, Chicago) 

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In addition to these two forms of golf practice, I was introduced to a new, exciting concept to practicing indoors during the winter: TopGolf. TopGolf introduces the indoor version of golf from a completely new perspective. It features the game using microchip technology inside the golf balls that are shot towards different targets, using your real clubs, to collect and score points. Players tee off of mini golf holes, ranging in distance from 20 to 250 yards. What I loved about this was the instant feedback you receive regarding how far your shot went without your ball being stopped by a wall or screen! Points are accumulated based on distance and accuracy. This form of practice is not only a great time with friends, but the short distance of the landscaped holes really forces short game practice, which we all know will benefit our game when we are back playing come summertime. TopGolf locations in Chicago include:

TopGolf Chicago 699 W. Thorndale Avenue, Wood Dale

TopGolf Chicago 3211 Odyssey Ct., Naperville (Opening Summer 2015)

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Many golfers like to stay up-to-date with the best and newest innovations on the golf market by attending the upcoming Chicago Golf Show! The show will be taking place Friday, February 27 until Sunday, March 1 at the Rosemont Convention Center. Check out over 180 golf vendors. Don’t miss the opportunity to try out this year’s new clubs, take one-on-one lessons with golf professionals and shop for new golf gear!

Along with golf-focused facilities, also exist indoor sports complexes for us to remain active not only in terms of playing golf, but all sports. Some of the largest indoor sports complexes in the city include the following:

Chicago Indoor Sports (3900 Ashland Avenue, Chicago)

East Bank Club (500 N. Kingsbury Street, Chicago)

Although nothing compares to playing on a real course or practicing on a real range, the game of golf can still be practiced and played in the middle of winter. With golf not being as accessible, I have branched out, trying new forms of physical activities. I discovered new passions I never imagined doing, and most likely never would if I was still playing golf every. I now belong to the yoga studio CorePower and TITLE Boxing Club. Both are indoor activities that keep me active and healthy by switching off every other day.

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The cold is no excuse to hibernate! Winter may not be the time to be outside, but I encourage you to use it as a time to discover a new hobby, just like I did with boxing and yoga. Winter may not be the time to be outside but I encourage you to use it as a time to get up and try something new that may become a new hobby of yours just as I found! Whether it’s golf, soccer, basketball, yoga, working out or anything that requires physical activity, we all need to be encouraged to get out of bed and not hibernate all winter long. Winter can be a great time to mix up your workouts and interests by getting creative and trying new, fun activities!

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