On Sunday, the city of Chicago announced the creation of the Chicago Parks Golf Alliance, which among other things, will work to combine two historic park district-run golf courses into one world-class golf facility on the South Side. The announcement confirmed reports that the new facility would be designed by TGR Design—a golf course design firm led by Tiger Woods. It also set a timetable for the restoration of the Jackson Park and South Shore golf courses, and suggested a number of ways the new Chicago Parks Golf Alliance could benefit neighboring communities and residents.
"This is more than simply a unique opportunity to restore a historic public golf course, it’s a unique opportunity to drive resources and investments on the South Side," Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a release. "And even with this restoration, the course will remain a real community asset because we're going to ensure that the neighborhood golfers who have been hitting the links here for years will be able to continue to access and enjoy it at a reduced rate."
Among the proposed community benefits is the creation of a separate short course geared toward family use. The not-for-profit CPGA will also work with the Western Golf Association to encourage high schoolers from nearby neighborhoods to participate in caddie programs, which could lead to them earning the popular Evans Scholarship. The four-year college housing and tuition grant (valued at more than $100,000) is offered to 10 Chicago-area high school seniors who have worked as golf caddies.
“The Western Golf Association enthusiastically welcomes this opportunity to grow our game and change the lives of deserving young men and women in a city that means so much to our organization,” Western Golf Association and Evans Scholars Foundation President and CEO John Kaczkowski said in a statement. “We envision this facility serving as a pipeline for the Evans Scholarship Program, which has sent more than 11,000 caddies to college since 1930.”
According to the city, the golf course restoration will be paid for using private funds generated by the CPGA. Work is tentatively set to begin in 2017 and conclude in late 2020.
Award-winning golf course developer and NBC Golf Channel analyst Mark Rolfing will serve as the president and founder of the CPGA. A Chicago-area native, Rolfing said he has met many golfers at the site of the new facility over the last several years, adding that "their passion for the Jackson Park and South Shore courses has helped bring this project to fruition."
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