EDITORIAL: Chicago’s Tiger Woods golf march could be too large for your wallet – Chicago Sun

If a Chicago Park District is dead-set on formulating a championship golf march on a South Side, a march had improved be affordable for all Chicago golfers.

Forget about tourists, rich suburbanites and visitors to a destiny circuitously Obama Presidential Center. Our city’s open parks, including a fanciest of golf courses, contingency put Chicagoans first.

There is no reason to feel confident, though, that a park district can make or keep such a showcase golf march affordable. The district has finished no studies and conducted no surveys. It has finished no task of consequence on this many critical question.


Park District Supt. Mike Kelly says he expects Chicago residents will be means to play a march for reduction than $50, though so distant that’s usually talk. The best Kelly can do, by approach of proof, is to indicate during a success of a open march in Southern California in gripping prices down. He offers not a fragment of analogous analysis. As if a finances of a Midwestern golf march that will do small business in winter — poetic as a march competence be — are allied to a finances of a breathtakingly pleasing ocean-side march that does superb business all year long. There’s your apples and oranges.

The park district and a private organisation called a Chicago Parks Golf Alliance wish to emanate a PGA Tour golf march by mixing a city’s existent Jackson Park and South Shore courses. The aim is to put a final “framework” (whatever accurately that is) in place by Oct and start construction as early as a continue permits in a new year. But a devise is full of holes.

Pricing is a pivotal emanate though not a usually one. The park district has unsuccessful to explain what accurately would occur to existent amenities in a approach of a due fairways, such as turn fields and tennis courts. The District hasn’t pronounced how many hundreds of mature trees competence be ripped down, and what a mercantile growth would be for a surrounding community. In an editorial progressing this month, we showed how a new course, as now planned, would clean out a bird and moth assign area.

But maybe no emanate is some-more executive than either typical Chicagoans — comparison adults personification an early-morning round, children holding their initial swings, weekend duffers — will be means to play a march during an affordable price. A championship march is expensive. This devise should not pierce brazen until all kinds of questions are answered:

What accurately would be a cost on weekdays for Chicago residents? Currently, a cost is $30 to play 18 holes during Jackson Park. How about weekends? What about a bonus for seniors? How about for immature people? And for how prolonged would a park district be means to close in those initial rates? One year? Five years?

“We are really early in a process,” Park District mouthpiece Jessica Maxey-Faulkner pronounced in an email. “I do not have specific studies to share per how a pricing would work.”

Early in a process? They devise to start digging in months, not years.

Time and again, supporters of a new march here indicate to one sold open course, in San Diego, to prominence a possibilities for Chicago. But that pretentious course, Torrey Pines, located on lifelike coastal bluffs over a Pacific Ocean, is not a good comparison.


Professional golfer Hudson Swafford competes on a South Course during Torrey Pines in San Diego during a Farmers Insurance Open in January. | Chris Carlson/AP

Thanks to amiable temperatures, Torrey Pines is open 360 days a year. Chicago’s march will be in hibernation, collecting small to no revenue, in winter.

Moreover, usually 30 percent of reservations during Torrey Pines can be pre-booked by non-residents, Mark Marney, emissary executive of a golf multiplication of San Diego Park and Recreation, tells us. The other tee times stay open for San Diego’s 1.4 million residents. Will Chicago do a same for a 2.7 million residents? It should. But, again, a park district has not supposing specifics.

To play a vaunted South march during Torrey Pines, where golfer Tiger Woods dramatically won a U.S. Open in 2008, San Diego residents compensate $63 during a week and $78 on weekends. Rates are authorized by a San Diego City Council, that reviews a golf business plan.

San Diego pulls in adequate income from greens fees to assistance cover handling losses of 5 open courses. There are no taxpayer subsidies, Marney says. Each year, a golf multiplication pays a city a price for regulating a land. This year it will be about $2.5 million.

There is shake room in a business devise to boost rates minimally any year to cover shortfalls or rising expenses, though rates have hold solid for residents a final 5 years.

We looked, as well, during 4 other open courses that supporters and experts suggested as probable comps. In each case, greens fees are extremely higher, generally on weekends, than a $50 max being floated for Chicago.

So how will Chicago lift this off?

“We wish a park district to say their rates nearby stream levels,” Brian Hogan, executive of a Chicago Parks Golf Alliance, pronounced in a assembly with a Sun-Times Editorial Board final month. His organisation is lifting millions in private, free donations to account construction of a new course.

Hogan pronounced $50 would be too most to assign in Chicago. “Our donors are not going to minister income if [people] are labelled out.”

All a some-more reason for a park district to figure out pricing — now. Quit seeking Chicago to tee off on this dream march until we do your task and fess adult to a hazards.

Send letters to: letters@suntimes.com

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