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Chicago Sun Times LETTERS: Current South Side public golf courses far from ‘good enough’

The Sun-Times missed the mark in its July 30 editorial about the South Shore and Jackson Park Golf Courses.

The three of us, who voluntarily visited with the editorial board to discuss this project, have spent years living in and serving this community. We held the appropriate skepticism at first. However, following many conversations, dozens of public meetings, asking hard questions and reviewing evolving plans, we believe this project will be a big lift to our community. The parks will remain accessible to residents and the golf course will be more enjoyable for players of all skill levels.

Most concerning, the editorial, in our view, implies that the current South Side courses are good enough despite evidence offered that the courses are tired remnants of a bygone era including minuscule fairways and greens, rock and mud-filled sand traps and frequent flooding. The editorial questions that there isn’t a need for — in its words — “a big, fancy course.” Really? Why not?

As users of these courses and parks, as well as residents of the surrounding community, we are enthusiastic in our support for this ambitious project. Input from local golfers and non-golfing residents will continue shaping plans to foster a more active park space. Moreover, should the course offer capabilities for championship level play, we would be thrilled to showcase the beauty of the South Side’s lakefront and our neighborhoods on national TV.

Public golf has been a recreational staple in Jackson Park, since 1899.  This is not a plan to “tear up” the golf courses, rather to save them for generations to follow, providing the quality golf experience the South Side deserves just as much as any area of the city would expect.

Harry Gilliam, Director of the Jackson Park Golf Association and Golf Instructor; Jerry Levy, member of the Jackson Park Advisory Council and Volunteer Steward for Jackson Park’s Wooded Island; Cheryl Mainor, avid golfer and Jackson Park/South Shore resident and business owner