The Links & Tee’s Golf Facility is one of the few Chicago area Year-Round Golf Facilities, outdoor all summer long play and practice for $25, now just 2 months away is the opening of the indoor golf dome for the winter season. For more information call (630)-233-7275 or visit addisonparks.org. The Shepherds Crook Golf Club located on Green Bay Road in Zion is a great place for fall golf, check shepherdscrook.org for fall specials and more, the Players Club Members Year End Shootout and BBQ is tomorrow at 7 AM. Call (847)-872-2080 if your not signed up. Mistwood Golf Club on Renwick Road in Romeoville will open the new clubhouse at the end of October, stay clicked in for news on opening day. Don’t forget MCQ’s Dome/OTB in Bolingbrook. ______________________________________________________________________
It has been done before, and there is nothing better than creating a golf course at a unique location, that attracts golf tournaments from the major golf organizations.
Sometimes courses are created by private ownership such as the work done by people like Mike Keiser, or from counties or cities. Whether it is places like Bandon Dunes in Oregon, or something like Chambers Bay near Seattle in Washington, that was created out of an old gravel pit by Pierce County.
The best golf architects when they create new courses or renovate old ones, find ways to give the golfers options on holes. Perhaps what Chicago needs is more options in terms of courses, where golf organizations like the PGA Tour, the USGA and the PGA of America can take tournaments.
What’s wrong with some of our top current venues, like Medinah, Olympia Fields, Conway Farms, Cog Hill or Kemper Lakes, well nothing. In fact most of these courses have done recent renovation work to improve their courses and clubs. But in the name of designing something new, Chicago might have to get creative to attract a new tournament or hang on to one that leaves town too often.
Current NBC Golf announcer Mark Rolfing (on leave to fight a cancer issue, get well soon Mark) has come up with a plan that has gotten some conversation. The Chicago Tribune’s Teddy Greenstein reported Rolfing’s idea that includes the combination of two courses, South Shore and Jackson Park. It would take some build up on a corner of Lake Michigan to connect the two courses located about 7-8 miles south of Soldier Field.
The area as it is now is mixed. Some law enforcement types don’t paint the best picture when you get about 1 block away from the courses. While others talk about a proposed President Obama library in the area near the course, and proposed development of the area.
The interesting concept is that the new course could be by a body of water, Lake Michigan. But is budding up a body of water always the best thing. Well, water along the course looks nice for the TV cameras, it even looks nice for the cell phone or pocket camera’s the everyday golfer will carry.
But in an even bigger picture, it does restrict where you can put corporate tents and sky boxes. At Chambers Bay the USGA could not get spectators everywhere they wanted them to be, tickets were cut off because of space. It makes getting in an out of the area during tournament week tough, kind of like getting in or out of Soldier Field from a Bears game or major event. It’s still a mess 2-3 hours after the event is over. Is there a good way to get to the area where the courses are at between 67th and 75th street, not really. Even with the Dan Ryan/Bishop Ford running past a great facility like Harborside International, getting in and out of there is not always easy.
All of this brings me back to a piece I wrote for Chicagoland Golf in June. Wondering if the there was a way to improve Cook Counties George Dunne golf course, and create the atmosphere there, that was built at Bethpage State Park.
I still think there is, but question remains, would the USGA or the PGA Tour get on board with such a project. Could someone entice the Ben Crenshaw’s and Bill Coore’s of the world, or a Gil Hanse to create something that would attract big events, and starting in 2020 keep the BMW Championship in town every year, or two years in a row and like 4 of 5 instead of 3 of 5. Multiple architects have told me they would love to do something in Chicago, but would they take a pay cut if necessary to be involved.
What about Cook County, did they do well enough to impress the USGA during U.S. Amateur week at Olympia Fields. Any past concern about a bill for security from Cook County should now be washed over the dam and no longer be an issue.
Rolfing and I might have the right idea, Chicago might need to create something new with new financial partners and new ways to get people the like Western Golf Association involved, with a new Evans Scholars House that could put caddies in Chicago’s colleges, including shipping them mostly out of the state of Illinois.
This theme to be continued, stay clicked in as the Gog Blog gears up next week for the rest of the fall golf season. Meanwhile the weather is great go play, I know I am. RS