Playing first-come, first-serve golf at Chicago's Highland Woods

Highland Woods 1

By now, you've probably heard stories of people who eagerly wait for a tee time at Bethpage State Park's Black Course, host to the 2002 and '09 U.S. Opens. 

However, imagine a world where you're not sitting in the parking lot for a tee time. You're sitting in the parking lot for a spot in line. That was how business used to be done at Chicago's Highland Woods, part of the Forest Preserve Golf cluster.

Prior to Billy Casper Golf's management of the course, weekend mornings were quite a flurry. If you wanted to play at Highland Woods, you didn't need a tee time because you couldn't get one. The course refused tee times, meaning if was first come, first served, which included during busy weekends. So, savvy groups designated a player each week to show up to the Highland Woods parking lot and stake their place in line, which sometimes meant showing up as early as midnight or 1 a.m. They would park in line and wait until sunrise, when the starter arrived at the course. The starter would then issue tickets in order down the line. This line of would typically be 15 to 30 cars deep, pretty much locking up the tee sheet through lunchtime on some weekends.

Obviously things have since changed, but the story definitely makes you wonder how committed you would be to coming to your favorite course that late (or early, depending on how you look at things) and waiting in a long, but orderly, line to play golf.

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