A plan to unite Jackson Park and South Shore golf courses into a championship-level course designed by Woods has been on hold. Some have linked the development of the Obama Presidential Center with the golf course renovation. Outgoing Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has been a supporter of the project, but Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot may not be so enthusiastic.
Tiger Woods’ Masters win brought back thoughts about his Chicago connection and a plan to unite Jackson Park and South Shore golf courses into a rigorous championship-level course, Chicago’s CBS 2 reported. The ambitious plans were rolled out in 2017 and still face financial and political hurdles. But supporters like Tracy Raoul, vice chair of the Jackson Park Golf Association, remain optimistic.
“And I’m still very excited, as I’m wearing my red and black in honor [of Woods’ 2019 Masters win],” said Raoul, an enthusiastic backer of the $60 million plan to join the Jackson Park and South Shore courses into one par-70 championship course that would be designed by Woods.
“To build a public golf course in Chicago, it’s as good as it gets,” Woods has said about the project. “You can see the skyline. Soldier Field is right down the road. It’s truly amazing.
“For me, growing up on a public golf course was instrumental in me getting the experience to compete and play,” he added.
When asked if Woods’ comeback victory would provide a shot in the arm for the project, Raoul told CBS 2 she’s hopeful.
“I think just the fact Woods wants to restore the courses, which are over 100 years old [and] in need of restoration [should help move the project forward],” she said.
Some visionaries link the Obama Presidential Center with the golf course renovation, as dual elements to uplift Jackson Park, Woodlawn and South Shore, according to the CBS 2 report. But the biggest roadblock seems to be money: $30 million in tax dollars would be needed just to build three underpasses, so golfers won’t have to cross roadways.
That’s the allure, CBS 2 reported, but there’s also a new political reality: While the project was a favorite of outgoing Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, new Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot may not be so enthusiastic.
“I think she’s very open-minded,” Raoul said about Lightfoot, who won a runoff election on April 2. “I think that she would be willing to learn more, if nothing else [and] be willing to ask questions of the people that are involved.”
Where do things stand now with the Jackson Park/South Shore project and Woods’ involvement? The Chicago Park District confirmed that private fundraising is underway but won’t say how much has been raised, CBS 2 reported. Park district CEO Mike Kelly once talked about opening the combined, renovated course in 2020, but CBS 2 reported it had been told there is no official timeline.