Forest Park Golf Course is our sentimental, and readers', favorite. Opened in 1912, the course was a progressive city's answer to members-only private country clubs. The 27-hole course, recently renamed for the late businessman and benefactor Norman K. Probstein, is undergoing a major facelift led by the city and Forest Park Forever. Of course, if it's the quality of the course that matters, then you can't go wrong in the Land of Lincoln. Family-run Annbriar Golf Course, about a 45-minute drive from downtown St. Louis, "has it all: shot values, scenery, wildlife," according to Golf Digest
. Annbriar, as the story goes, was the dream of Ann Nobbe, who wanted to build the course on her family farm. She died at age 26 in a traffic accident; her parents completed the project in 1993. The course was designed by Michael Hurdzan, who also did Crystal Highlands and Tavern Creek Golf Course at Country Club of St. Albans. After some fits and starts -- the wrong kind of grass was used originally, forcing a temporary closing -- Annbriar has emerged as one of the region's top draws. Golf Digest
ranks the course among the nation's top 500; it's ranked No. 7 in Illinois. The clubhouse includes a pro shop and the Smokehouse Restaurant, where one of the specialties is -- drumroll, please
-- Tennessee smoked pork. Yummy!
For non-residents, rates are $53-$63 for 18 holes.