Tiger Woods and the Chicago Parks Golf Alliance

JACKSON-PARK-GOLFRahm Emanuel and the Chicago Park District recently announced the creation of the Chicago Parks Golf Alliance. The team will be led by NBC Golf Channel Analyst and award winning golf course developer, Mark Rolfing, who will serve as the President and Founder of the Organization.

The CPGA’s goal, in partnership with the City and Park District, is to revamp and improve upon Jackson Park and South Shore Golf Courses in order to create a recreational monument for southern Chicago that would also be of economic benefit. It was announced that the restoration design for the golf course was being handled by Tiger Woods’ TGR Design.

Currently, Tiger Woods Design has three different golf courses under construction. Woods has earlier mentioned that he and the Company are satisfied with having one or two specific projects at a time.

Per the plan, Jackson Park and South Shore, which are the two golf courses, are being rebuilt into one single course that will have the capacity to host a PGA Tour event which will be the BMW Championship. President Barack Obama is also on board the project, in fact, the Chicago Tribune reported that the President called Woods to encourage him on taking the lead design role for the project.

The project is estimated at a cost of about $30 million and it is expected to roll out in 2017, with a new 18-hole golf course to be finished in the year 2020 together with either a short or par-3 layout to go with it. The responsibility of improving the Chicago Park District Courses, raising the $30 million for the project amongst other things will be left to the Chicago Parks Golf Alliance.

This new non-profit organization will work to advance various caddie programs and also create a befitting venue to host the BMW Championship come 2021. The CPGA will work in collaboration with the Western Golf Association to achieve this feat.

This project is expected to bring a high-value golf course situated next to the $500 million Barack Obama Presidential Center. Both projects are expected to be ready by 2020.

TGR Design will oversee transforming Chicago’s historic Jackson Park and South Shore golf courses into an 18-hole championship course. This will be in commemoration of the rich history of Jackson Park Golf Course which is located on the site of the 1893 World’s Fair and the spectacular South Shore lakefront setting, this is in a bid to preserve its rich legacy by creating an unforgettable and timeless design that will promote satisfaction and playability for all categories of players.

The course will provide access to its conventional parkland aesthetics that complements the natural elements and beautiful topography of the shores of Lake Michigan. Several holes will be found just by the lakefront, offering breathtaking sights of the Lake. Strong hardwoods and beautiful fescue grasses will outline the fairways, however wide landing areas will be provided and also sufficient space around greens in order to enhance playability. The layout will place more emphasis on creative shot-making and strategy that will focus mainly on shot values so as to challenge low handicap players.

The South Shore & Jackson Park Golf Course Restoration project will not only include the 18-hole championship course but also ultra-modern practice facilities. The idea to revamp these historic golf courses is not a new one – Jackson Park was opened in 1899 while South Shore Golf Course was opened in 1907 mostly as a framework plan initiated by the Park District in 2000 which contained several ideas for the South Lakefront area, one of which being upgrading the two golf courses.

The Jackson Park Golf Course was the first public owned golf course in the whole of the Midwest. It was highly underused until 1920, and by 1925, the course was named the world’s busiest golf course.

CPGA will be responsible for fundraising and development of an upgraded combined golf facility and it will be located in the confines of the two golf courses. The restoration program is likely to begin in 2017 and is to be financed mainly through private monies generated through the CPGA. The golf course and a short course for the entire family is expected to be completed by late 2020. This would enable players to start and end their games at either South Shore or Jackson Park.

The Chicago Park District is responsible for six public golf courses, namely; Sydney Marovitz, Jackson Park, South Shore, Columbus Park, Marquette Park and Robert A. Black. A practice facility/driving range at Diversey Range, a driving range at Jackson Park and a practice facility at Douglas Park.

Tiger Woods became a professional golfer at age 20 in late summer 1996. This was after an outstanding amateur two-year college golf career. In April of 1997 he won the Masters, his first major title with a record-breaking performance, dominating the field to win the tournament. Since then, Woods has won 14 total major championships, trailing only Jack Nicklaus.

As one of the world’s most well-known sports celebrities, Woods brings the biggest name in golf to this high profile project. If all goes well, this new facility could become an anchor for the game of golf in the City of Chicago.

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Walter Lis

Walter Lis is the managing editor of Chicago Golf Report, which launched in 2010.

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