Golf Course Architecture - Issue 76, April 2024

64 REPORT A new era for Canal Shores The revival of Evanston muni nears completion thanks to huge community efforts. When the Canal Shores Golf Course in Evanston, a suburb of Chicago, reopens this summer, it will mark the end of a long journey and the beginning of a new era for the public facility. Originally opened in 1919, Canal Shores has for some time been in dire need of repair. A USGA Green Section evaluation several years ago noted that the course’s turf and infrastructure were in an “end of life” state. “The course had aged to a point where turfgrasses were compromised, greens were failing, the irrigation system was no longer providing the necessary coverage and the lack of drainage was becoming a major issue,” says Doug Myslinski, from Wadsworth. The golf construction firm had, over the years, provided “band-aid” repairs while Wadsworth Golf Charities Foundation had made annual contributions to assist Canal Shores in youth golf development programmes. “The Wadsworth Company was first introduced to Canal Shores Golf Course nearly 15 years ago when a similarly planned project was being discussed. Although that plan never materialised, a relationship between Wadsworth and board members representing Canal Shores developed.” “Assembling the right team and defining the future programming of the facility was essential to raising the required funds to enhance the property,” says Chris Charnas, vice president of the Evanston Wilmette Golf Course Association (EWGCA). “The commitment of the Western Golf Association (WGA) to have Canal Shores as the home to its youth caddy programme, combined with this being a flagship facility for the First Tee of Greater Chicago, meant that youth golf development was key. KemperSports, Wadsworth Golf Charities Foundation and the Chicago District Golf Association embraced this vision by providing the required resources and significant financial backing.” Other donors, individuals and groups that were key, especially for community engagement related to fundraising and support, included a core group led by Charnas, Matt Rooney, Rick Bald, David McPherson, Steve Neumann and Pat Hughes. Mario Salas was the on-site project manager for Wadsworth, with Myslinski and Matt Lohmann providing assistance.