Geeked on Golf


Journey Along the Shores – Part 2 (The Land)

We kicked off the 2015 season with our first Greens Committee meeting this week.  Improvement projects are beginning to line up and preparations are being planned.  I’ll share the details of that progress once spring arrives and we get underway.

For now, let’s take a step back in perspective to examine what the Canal Shores property is, and conceptually, what it might become.

Canal Shores is not just a golf course.  It is a 35 acre multi-use green space on the banks of the North Shore Channel of the Chicago River.  It spans Wilmette and Evanston, and several streets cut across it.  It is surrounded primarily by residential property, but it winds through the neighborhoods in a unique fashion.  Canal Shores is much more an integrated part of its neighborhood than a typical golf course in a residential property.

Canal Shores was established in 1919, and although its boundaries have changed, it remains largely intact.

The land is mostly flat, with some subtle undulation.  There are a variety of trees, both in age and species.  The combination of wooded areas and the shape of the property make it feel generally narrow.

For purposes of closer examination, Canal Shores breaks down into the following sections, from north to south:

Section A – Sheridan to Linden – The north end of the course is bordered by Sheridan Road.  Across the canal lies the Baha’i House of Worship, and across Sheridan Road is Wilmette’s Gilson Park.  This section contains 2 golf holes.


Section B – Linden to Maple – This section is bordered by residential area, and contains 2 golf holes.


Section C – Maple to Isabella – This is the southern-most section of the Wilmette portion of the property.  It is bordered by a residential area and contains 3 golf holes.


Section D – Isabella to Central – This is northern-most section of the Evanston portion of the property.  It is bordered to the east by Evanston Hospital.  The Purple Line “El” tracks cut through it.  There are 3 golf holes in this section.


Section E – Central to Lincoln – This section contains the clubhouse, parking lot and maintenance shed.  It is bordered to the east by the Central Street “El” station and tracks, and it contains 3 golf holes.


Section F – Lincoln to Noyes – This southern section is the largest.  It is bordered to the east by residential area and Leahy Park.  It is bordered on the southwest by the Metra North Line tracks.  Across Green Bay Road from the train tracks is the Ladd Arboretum.  It contains 5 golf holes.


In coming posts, we’ll dive into each of these sections more deeply, exploring unique features.

More to come…

More Journey Along the Shores posts:



Copyright 2015 – Jason Way, GeekedOnGolf


Journey Along the Shores – Part 1

BahaiCSGCIn 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.  CSElshot1

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?CanalShores
  • 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.

Stay tuned…

More Journey Along the Shores posts:


Copyright 2014 – Jason Way, GeekedOnGolf