The Chicago Parks Golf Alliance has been sharing feedback from community meetings and conversations with the golfers who call these two courses home to Tiger Woods’ TGR Design team. First among that feedback is constructing a world-class facility for The First Tee, with short holes and a dedicated practice tee for the kids.
Second is playability for the restored course. Last fall, a local golfer told us, “If you can play at South Shore, you can play anywhere. The fairways are tight and the greens are small.” We decided to put his assertion to the test and found that he is absolutely correct.
The six fairways at South Shore currently average about 20 yards wide. Combined with Jackson Park’s fairways, they average 23.9 yards. South Shore’s greens average 2,420 square feet, while Jackson Park’s come in at 3,938 square feet. Together, their average is 3,432 square feet.
How does that compare? The 2016 US Open was played at Oakmont, one of the hardest golf courses in the world. The fairway widths for the Open were 26 yards. Pebble Beach is famous for its small greens, which are about 3,600 square feet on average. In summary, the current South Shore & Jackson Park Golf Courses: average fairways 23.9 yards wide, narrower than Oakmont, and average greens size 3,432 square feet, smaller than Pebble Beach.
Looking ahead, Tiger Woods’ design philosophy emphasizes “playability and strategy in order to create memorable courses that are enjoyable for players of all skill levels.” In a January 2018 interview with Bradley Klein of GolfWeek, Woods listed some of his favorite design characteristics: “walkable, fun, family friendly, inclusive, variety of options, ability to play along the ground.” In a more recent conversation with Mark Rolfing, Woods described his desired experience for golfers at Jackson Park & South Shore: “We’re going to create something they enjoy…I want this golf course to play quick. I can’t stand slow golf.”
Beau Welling, Senior Design Consultant for Tiger Woods’ TGR Design, attested, “I’ve never seen Tiger Woods so excited about a project. Tiger Woods is about meaningful projects that have impact. Tiger grew up on public golf courses, and this is very special for him.”