In my community, we have a very special spot. It is a piece of land that runs along the North Branch of the Chicago River from the Ladd Aboretum in NW Evanston to the south, up to the Baha’i House of Worship and Gilson Park in Wilmette to the north.
Most of the land is occupied by the Canal Shores Golf Course, the founding of which was championed by golf professional Peter Jans and designed by Todd Sloan. It is also home to walkers, runners, touch football players, campers, cyclocrossers, cross-country skiers, and many others. It is truly unique.
A few years back, the golf course was on the verge of closing. It was deeply in debt, and was barely playable due to lack of maintenance. A group of concerned members of the Evanston-Wilmette community intervened, poured their energy into the course for two years, and turned it around. With respect to finances and facilities, Canal Shores is poised to enter a new phase.
After sitting on the sidelines and watching the Canal Shores Board and Staff work their magic for some time, I have jumped into the game. At my second board meeting recently, I was fortunate enough to be included in the Grounds Committee.
The Grounds Committee has plenty of work to do, and many questions to answer:
- How do we balance the wants and needs of golfers with other users of the space?
- How can we incorporate a desire for restoration and preservation of native plants and trees?
- How can we support the superintendent in maintaining and improving the course on a shoestring budget?
- How can we make the space so great that it will attract broader attention, while maximizing value for our community?
These are among our many remaining challenges. They also represent our big opportunities. As we go along in this journey, I will share updates with the expectation that I’ll be documenting one of the great comeback stories in golf history.
More Journey Along the Shores posts:
- Pt.2 – The Land
- Pt.3 – Principles for Greatness
- Pt.4 – First Steps
- Pt.5 – Tree Management
- Pt.6 – 4 Course Concept
- Pt.7 – Pilot Projects
- Pt.8 – More Tree Management
- Pt.9 – Inspiration for the New Canal Shores
- Pt.10 – Off-Season Projects
- Pt.11 – Blue Sky Findings
- Pt.12 – Good Geeky Fun
- Pt.13 – 4 Course Concept Revisited
Copyright 2015 – Jason Way, GeekedOnGolf