McQ’s Dome is open for the winter golf season, work on your game, Play the Ponies in the OTB, go into the restaurant for great food and beverage, or visit the new hotdog and beer bar in the dome. Mcqs dome on Rt. 53 in Bolingbrook, see Mcqsdome.com (630)-739-1592. Don’t forget McWethys Tavern at Mistwood GC is open all year round. The Schaumburg Golf Club is now a year round golf facility, with the addition of new simulators in a renovated area of the clubhouse basement. Schaumburggolf.com ______________________________________________________________________
Every once in a while you just have to get a few things off your chest, and today is one of those days in spite of the cold weather.
LAST WEEK the Chicago Tribune ran a story about a proposed golf course on the Chicago lake front. The story has had some traction, but as major golf observers have noted, there are some holes in the big picture of that story.
This is a story brought to you by the same people who told you more than once, that a U.S. Open and women members were coming to Butler National in Oak Brook. As Judge Smails in Caddyshack would say… Weeell, we’re waiting.
It’s well known that there is no U.S. Open coming to Oak Brook, Chicago, or even anywhere in the State of Illinois through at least 2026. As for ladies day coming to Butler National anytime soon, don’t hold your breath.
It always amazes myself and several other veteran golf scribes in Chicago how certain things written in one Chicago paper seem to draw attention, even when most people who know the industry, know the story for what it’s worth. One Chicago area based golf association has made a bad habit over the years of repeatedly tipping off this outlet to breaking stories for unknown reasons, it leaves many scratching their heads.
On Sunday Mayor Rahm Emmanuel’s office issued a press release, regarding this proposed golf course. Yes on a Sunday during the Bears-Packers game, that was being played in temperatures which were in single digits. I’ll have more on that in the next day or two.
In the meantime, there are too many things that don’t add up to at least 18 holes or more on the lake front of the Southshore in Chicago. Yes it’s nice to finally put some quotes out today in the Emanuel release, but it’s after the fact, in relationship to the Chicago Tribune Story.
First up the report about President (for another month) Barack Obama offering the job of being the course architect to Tiger Woods is interesting. Now granted another report says Obama just encouraged Woods to take the job. President for another month or not, it’s not his job to offer, if he did offer it to Woods. Secondly, if this is the big job, big course some think it is, why in the world would it be offered to Woods.
I’ve seen some photos of this course BlueJack National that Woods has his name on in Texas, and it does have an Augusta National feel to it, and doesn’t look all that bad. That poses the real question, who is really doing the design work, because inspite of Woods being on the BJN property, he is not exactly Ben Crenshaw, Jack Nicklaus, or even Greg Norman when it comes to golf course design.
If Chicago is going to sink far too many millions into a golf course on the Southside of Chicago, an area that already has far too many courses struggling to stay afloat financially. Chicago should bring a top name architect like Gil Hanse, or Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore. To restore two courses like Jackson Park and South Shore that are over 100 years old, you go get an architect who is a restoration specialist like Keith Foster. You don’t bring in Tiger Woods, who if you haven’t noticed is more worried about playing on the PGA Tour again. The concept of bringing in local architect and President of the American Society Golf Course Architects (ASGCA) Greg Martin, makes more sense than Woods. If Chicago can have Wilson’s Driver vs Driver show, then why not President with the President.
On the money side of this plan the number up front is $30 million, and that doesn’t include for a few other pieces of the pie that need to be added. Mayor Emanuel has admitted he doesn’t know where the money would come from, and the city certainly is not going to shell out for the project, because it’s trying fix up pension funds that are quite a bit short and has other bigger issues to address. Private donations, well okay who is going to put up that kind of money.
There are names like Mike Keiser and or Jerry Rich being tossed around. One story going aorund even has them both pitching in seven figures, my sources say otherwise. Besides both of them and several other area figures with deep pockets who make the world a better place via golf, have been known as folks who don’t sit on the same side of the political fence as Emanuel and Obama, and are not big fans of Woods.
Woods agent Mark Steinberg released a statement that says Woods has not accepted the job of being course architect. Even though he is likely to be offered it at some point, by someone other than Obama, like the city or the park district who actually has the authority to do so.
Many great Chicago idea’s never get off the ground because of #1 politics, and #2 money or lack of it. This project falls into both categories.
That being said, I am all for a lake front golf project that includes the redo of Jackson Park and South Shore golf courses, both run by the Chicago Park District, who has Billy Casper Golf running all of it’s courses. A name that keep’s being left out of the conversation for some strange reason, and there are those Chicago golf industry insiders who know BCG will want their place at the table, IF this project really gets off the ground.
No sooner did one person connected to this project tell me that Obama would be here in Chicago, and be a regular presence at the course, and at his future museum that is supposed to sit alongside the golf course, Obama went and bought his future home in California. Obama does have a home in Hyde Park, which according to sources he will sell, and find something that works better for his future “summer-time” visits to the Windy City. I’m sure the Obama Presidental Museum will happen with no issues, it will get built just as easy as the George Lucas Star Wars Museum will, Oh Wait !
One Southside media/golf historian says hooking the two courses together would be quite an undertaking, but not impossible. But something that would take a lot of effort and far too much money, money that could be better spent in other places. As for a purposed new short course on the site, well there already is one, it’s called South Shore.
One source connected to some high finance golf types, says this project has hidden costs that could run the bill up towards $100 million dollars. A figure of even half that amount, would require some hefty greens fees. Are those types of golfers going to drive into an area, that’s far too close to Chicago’s top high crime complex according to law enforcement sources.
I loved the part about this course being a potential future site for the 2021 BMW Championship. Really ? First of all the BMW contract is up in 2019, and BMW could be out of golf and not connected to the PGA Tour by 2021. In addition it’s been made clear by BMW to the PGA Tour and the Western Golf Association that BMW wants to be on courses in area’s they can sell their cars or SUV’s. Which is part of the reason BMW left the South Side and won’t go back to Cog Hill, BMW leaving Lemont wasn’t just because Phil Mickelson had issues with the Rees Jones redo of Dubsdread.
It’s already been proven that getting large amounts of people in and out of the Chicago lake front area is a major issue, have you tried getting into or out of Soldier Field when the Bears play, or when the place is full for a concert or soccer game, it’s insane. There is no way you want to put over 30,000 a day into the South Shore/Jackson Park area to watch professional golf without it becoming an overcrowded mess, even with offsite parking.
While their might be some deals in the works to try and make this project happen, it is certainly a deal that’s far from done. But I wish all-parties involved good luck, and I do thank the Chicago Tribune for getting people thinking about golf in Chicago, in the cold month of December.
THE MORNING DRIVE HUSTLE, I have found it interesting to see how many properties, golf resorts, golf courses or golf organziations are being scammed into making their big announcements on The Golf Channel, especially during the Morning Drive Show.
The latest property and organziation’s to fall victim to this hustle, was the French Lick Resort and the LPGA/Symetra Tour/ and the LPGA Sr. Legends Tour. While the new LPGA Sr. Championship is a great idea, and the format is a great idea in bridging the various tours together, this event could have been announced at a better time and in a location where it would have got some real air time, with more media, and the support of the local and national media who would give the announcement more than the 2-3 minutes The Golf Channel does. If your blink at some early hour of the AM, you will miss everything. Which is no way to hit your first drive of the morning.
The local or national outlets will support your courses, tournaments and other events much more often, and for a longer period of time than TGC. Once your announcement is made, then you look for the additional exposure of being on the MD of the TGC.
In the meantime, Kudo’s to French Lick Resort on the new championship, it will be great for golf and women’s golf, and I’m sure FLR will put on the championship in a first class way.
CAN YOU WRITE DOWN YOUR QUESTIONS and send them in. NO, WHY SHOULD WE. It always amazes not only myself, but serious veteran journalists when PR and Marketing people actually make requests like this of reporters. First up it gives the impression you are hiding something, Are You ! We are talking about golf here, and you are not the FBI or the CIA.
In the past week I have dealt with a large golf organziation and a golf equipment company that both made these requests. After wasting too much time typing out the questions, most of them were kicked back unanswered, or passed along only to be unanswered again. IN THE FUTURE, save everyone some time, make people available, and let them talk over the phone, face to face, or via direct email either answer or not answer the questions. Rule #1 about PR or Marketing, you are a bridge between two parties, not a wall.
The concept of, send the questions to me, and I’ll pass them along to someone else, who will pass them along again to someone else process, DOES NOT WORK. So quit embarrassing yourself, your organziation, or company by asking people to do this. THANK YOU.
YES, now I feel better.
The Gog Blog returns tomorrow, RS.