Summer in Chicagoland is all about maximizing time spent outside. For meeting planners, it’s the perfect season to host a corporate dining event at one of the many public golf resorts in the area. Golfers will appreciate the opportunity to get in a round, while everyone can enjoy the views, weather and fresh summer cuisine.
“Our favorite element of any golf resort is the great outdoors and the expansive landscape,” says Michelle Castady Orlando, DMCP, general manager 360 Destination Group, a Chicagobased DMC. But golf clubs can host many more activities than the obvious. Large-scale entertainment options like drive-in-style movies with golf carts and big screens, glow-in-the dark putting contests and even laser skeetshooting can all be appealing for nongolfers, notes Orlando.
Mistwood Golf Club, Romeoville
The flexible space at the Mistwood Golf Club allows for group dining and driving range access for team-building events and fundraisers, says Diane Cook, director of sales.
McWethy’s Tavern, a Scottish-American restaurant on-property, offers sweeping views of the golf course and can accommodate smaller groups for casual dining. A semiprivate booth area can hold up to 24 guests. “Popular summer dishes include shrimp ceviche in a cucumber cup; summer berry salad with goat cheese, arugula and champagne vinaigrette; and orange-glazed chicken breasts with fennel gratin and summer squash,” Cook says. The energetic vibe throughout the pub and dining area is great for pre-event cocktail receptions, and during the summer months, guests can enjoy dining and socializing in the courtyard and patio spaces.
Cook adds that the “shop local, eat local, be local” mantra for dining establishments continues this year. “2018 will see a trend toward not over prepping or over seasoning foods,” Cook says. “Instead, [you’ll see chefs] using high-quality products and preparing them simply in true old-world, European sensibility.”
Arrowhead Golf Club, Wheaton
With a rich history dating back 90 years, Arrowhead Golf Club got its name in 1929 when builders unearthed Native American artifacts during construction of the first golf course. Today, the property evokes a private club feel because of the historic aesthetic and the highly committed meeting planning staff, says Danielle Marie Salerno, director of catering and events, who has been with the club for a decade.
“Meeting planners love Arrowhead because the service staff and meeting managers have been with the club for years,” Salerno adds. “This ensures planners can book multiple meetings in confidence knowing their groups and agendas will be handled in a consistent manner every time.” Total event capacity can hold up to 400 people, and 150 guests can be accommodated in the outdoor space.
In the summer groups can enjoy meeting add-ons such as team-building on the driving range, putting green or, in cooler or wet weather, the indoor Pelican Golf Simulator Lounge, according to Salerno. Appetizers and drinks can be delivered to these areas for postmeeting receptions. For group dining at the club, the Arrowhead restaurant and bar offers creative American cuisine like Asian salmon burgers and chopped salads.
“The restaurant and bar offer some great meeting options, since the bar is large [130 capacity] and loaded with TVs,” says Salerno. Large companies have also rented rooms adjacent to the bar and offered open-house client appreciation events during big sports telecasts, such as The Masters and March Madness.”
Hilton Chicago Oak Brook Hills Resort & Conference Center, Oak Brook
Oak Brook Hills Resort & Conference Center is perfectly designed to allow guests to connect, roam and easily transition from business to leisure, says Jeannette Lemrise, director of marketing. Not only do the culinary venues for meals and receptions, such as the Garden Patios and the Golf Pavilion, overlook the rolling hills of the golf course, there is ample space to wander and enjoy nature.
“Our 18-hole challenging golf course is a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary dedicated to protecting the environment and creating a natural habitat for wildlife,” explains Lemrise. “With 150 acres, maintained by our world-class grounds team and horticulturist, we have more than 50 breeds of birds, a monarch butterfly landing station, active beehives and many different types of colorful flowers.”
Both B. Restaurant and Tin Cup Restaurant have course views. In addition to Tin Cup’s indoor space, which can seat 110 guests, its outdoor patio can seat around 70, and both the restaurant and patio are available for buyouts. During the summer, guests can enjoy live music on the patio.
“Tin Cup is a bustling and social gathering place within the resort for sports viewing and activities, craft beers, pub food and the best outdoor seating in the suburbs,” says Lemrise. She adds that some of her favorite summer menu options include an outdoor pig roast with grilled pineapple, or barbecue brisket using honey from the on-site apiary. Other culinary event themes include a tropical pool party, a pizza-making event using herbs from the on-site garden, or a wine and golf clinic.
Mission Hills Club, Northbrook
The Mission Hills Club is one of Northbrook’s hidden gem destination venues for events. Since the club now is an exclusive meeting and banquet space, with the added bonus of a golf course, guests can enjoy the club atmosphere without the challenge of navigating club members, explains Suzanne Gherardini, special events manager.
Meeting planners will also appreciate the wide variety of dining options. The Willow Ballroom seats 275 guests and includes a large dance floor and huge picture windows overlooking the course. Adjacent to the Willow Ballroom is the Copper Room with a recessed copper bar and fireplace that offers views of the course, seats up to 60 and can accommodate 200 for a cocktail reception.
“Business meetings held after a golf outing flow easily on to the patio for drinks and appetizers,” says Gherardini. She adds that in summer, they offer stations on the patio next to the course. “Patrons enjoy having cocktails and culinary delights such as build-your-own burgers, tacos and salads,” says Gherardini. “We have found these offerings to be ... a classic addition to the club.”