By Casey Bannon
In 1899, Jackson Park became the first golf course built west of the Allegheny Mountains. Two decades later, some of the first black men’s golf leagues were formed on the property. Now, over a century after the first golf shots were struck on Jackson Park’s fairways, its golf course is the center of South Shore’s attention once again.
In partnership with Golf Channel and NBC’s Mark Rolfing, Tiger Woods’ proposed design to combine Jackson Park and South Shore’s 27 holes into one destination, championship style track seems close to fruition. The Chicago Parks Golf Alliance has stated that the project will be 100 percent privately funded, will create new sources of revenue for the South Side community, possibly host a professional tournament and will help expose local youth to life’s beautiful game. However, nothing gets built on this historic ground without some noise.
The renovation’s detractors have claimed that the potential $60 million project is a deal done behind closed Chicago doors. That there isn’t enough data to support the course being an economic engine. That the logistics of such a complicated re-design are far away from a Spring 2019 groundbreaking. That the loss of conservation areas and recreation facilities are too steep of a price to pay for hopes of hosting a PGA Tour event. And that 18 high-end holes might actually be less inclusive than 27 cheap ones.
In a battle over what’s best for their beloved community, the two sides have similar motives– but very different ideas on going about revitalizing Jackson Park.
Photo at top: Youth caddies look on as South Shore locals tee off at Jackson Park. (Chicago Parks Golf Alliance)
By DeForest Mapp
Transportation, parking and the use of Jackson Park for the Obama Presidential Center are dividing area residents as plans and community feedback continue to pour in.
The Chicago Park District is setting the date for the next public meeting for the Obama Presidential Center as well as the Tiger Woods-designed golf course that would refurbish and combine the Jackson Park and South Shore Cultural Center golf courses.
Check on future meetings on the Obama Presidential Center and proposals for it. Hear the latest opinions in this video report. Continue reading South Siders divided over the Obama Presidential Center
By Elan Kane
When Chris Novak moved to Chicago from San Diego last June, the last thing he expected was to be playing golf here in February. But there he was Wednesday, getting ready to tee it up at Sydney R. Marovitz Golf Course.
“I didn’t think I was going to make it out at least until April, so I’m stoked,” Novak said. “I’m not working today so I [figured I] might as well head across the street [and play].”
With temperatures reaching up to 70 degrees in parts of Chicago in recent days, many golfers took advantage to sneak in a few rounds of bonus golf.
By Nicole Sedivy
A Medill Newsmakers Report
This episode of Medill Newsmakers explores the gender wage gap in athletics present at the collegiate and professional level.
By Peter Dawson
The city of Chicago was well-represented the last time golf was a featured sport in the Summer Olympics.
Just four years before the Cubs won their last World Series, H. Chandler Egan won a silver medal in the individual competition and led the Western Golf Association to a Gold Medal in the team event at the 1904 Summer Olympics in St. Louis.
Even though there likely won’t be a Chicago golfer in the field, the local golf community will be paying close attention when the sport makes its return to the Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro this summer. Golf officials hope that the international exposure from the men’s and women’s tournaments will lead to increased interest in the sport throughout the world.
However, some local officials express doubt the impact that it will have on participation in Chicago.
“I think it’s tough to connect fan interest and participation to the Olympics because the game in Europe and America is pretty strong,” said Vince Pellegrino, senior vice president of tournaments for the Western Golf Association. Continue reading