Named one of Chicago’s Top 10 nine-hole golf courses, Tam O’Shanter Golf Course & Learning Center in Niles was designed in 1925 by C.D. Wagstaff; it was a private club. Unfortunately, in 1936, a fire destroyed the clubhouse of the Tam O’Shanter and bankrupted the owners. Stepping in that year, George S. May acquired a controlling interest in the golf club and over the next several years invested more than $500,000 to renovate and operate the facility.
In 1941, May hosted the Tam O’Shanter Open, offering the largest purse in professional golf: $15,000. In 1953, Lew Worsham holed out a wedge from 104 yards to win the World Championship of Golf over Chandler Harper by one shot in what the first ever nationally golf televised tournament.
In 1973 the Niles Park District obtained the nine-hole portion of the course and reopened the course in 1974, with William J. Spear as architect. The course was renovated in 2018 to help manage potential flooding of the Chicago River.
There are presently six par-4’s and three par-3’s at Tam and today’s layout allows the golfers to attempt to recreate some of golf’s historical shots.