FREEPORT (WREX) — Get your clubs ready because a Freeport Park District favorite is back open just in time for the holiday weekend.
It's not just the links that get people coming back to Park Hills Golf Course each season. Whether a beginner or a pro, Park Hills has all the makings for an enjoyable day out on the green.
So when the 300 plus acre course opened again for its 66th season on Monday, Diane and Joe Vaske were quick to get a tee time.
"Yeah, we're golf-a-holics," said Freeport resident Diane Vaske.
It's not just the love of the game that gets these golf lovers coming back year after year.
"Just seeing the smiling faces now back at the golf course because we couldn't meet in many places in the winter. It's like 'oh yes, we can see each other outdoors again,'" said Diane.
"This year was especially nice because last year with the pandemic we were closed until May 1," said Club House Manager and Head Golf Professional Jeff Hartman. "Even on May 1, we were only allowed twosomes every 15 minutes. This year is starting off much better."
Growing up in Freeport and playing golf at Highland Community College, Hartman is a part of what makes Park Hills a jewel in Northwest Illinois.
"My dad always said do something you enjoy and you'll never work a day in your life, and basically that's what I've done for the last 33 years," said Hartman.
Park Hills opened its first 18 holes in 1955. Then in 1965 it added on another 18 holes. While Hartman says that's not normally cost effective, the East and West Courses create a unique 36-hole golf destination.
"Always amazed of the condition of this little jewel we have here and how wonderful it is. We are proud to make it our home course," said Freeport resident Joe Vaske.
Park Hills has been on par for more than 60 years, hoping to put for 60 more.
Music on the Patio will return to Park Hills this summer. That will be on the second Friday of every month from June until August from 5 - 8 p.m. Click here to learn more about Park Hills Golf Course.