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It’s been said, “Build it and they will come.”
So announce it, and they might believe you.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has announced the formation of the Chicago PGA. Which translates into, the Chicago Parks Golf Alliance.
The Mayor and Chicago Park District and CEO Michael Kelly this past weekend announced the formation of the CPGA. The group will be led by NBC and the Golf Channel’s commentator Mark Rolfing, Rolfing will serve as the President and Founder. The major purpose of the group is to improve and restore conditions at both South Shore Golf Course and Jackson Park Golf Course, both operated by the Chicago Park District.
“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,” said Mayor Emanuel. “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.”
Jackson Park opened in 1899 and the South Shore Golf Course opened in 1907, the Chicago Park District created a plan back in 2000 to renovate the courses and with the creation of CPGA, is still some 16 years later, hoping to do so.
CPGA is a Not-for-Profit that will oversee the fund raising arm of the project. There is hope that enough money will come the projects way, so that construction can start in 2017, and the new golf course can open for play in 2020.
After failing to land the sport of golf’s premier golf architecture team, that consists of two-time former Masters Champion Ben Crenshaw and his partner Bill Coore, the CPGA and Rolfing have turned to Plan B, and the recruitment of Tiger Woods who is new to the golf architecture game.
Woods released a statement through his design firm about his involvement in the project.
“It’s an honor for me and TGR Design to be designing this golf course in one of America’s greatest golf cities,” said Woods. “This project can create incredible possibilities for the community on the South Side. We want to design a course that everyone can enjoy.”
Western Golf Assocation (WGA) CEO John Kaczkowski, said the WGA welcomes the opportunity to grow the game in it’s home city of Chicago.
Kaczkowski said the site could be another pipeline for future Evans Scholars to join a pipeline that has put over 11,000 caddies in college since 1930. Kaczkowski did not rule out the new course as a site for a future BMW Championship.
The next BMW Championship if it is still called that after 2019 when the BMW contract expires with the PGA Tour, that is likely to be held in Chicago is 2021. But by 2021 much could change with Chicago’s PGA Tour stop.
Lisa Quinn, Executive Director of The First Tee of Greater Chicago, said the First Tee organization would be proud to participate in the project, and hoping it would create “a safe place” to develop future golfers.
PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem called the projects potential, exciting to the PGA Tour. Rolfing said he has meet many avid golfers on the two courses, and said there is passion for golf and hope the two courses can be renovated. They are two of the six courses that the Chicago Park District operates.