By TONIA HILL
The Chicago Parks Golf Alliance (CPGA) is seeking teenage boys and girls for the youth caddie program this summer at Jackson Park Golf Course, 6401 S. Richards Dr., according to Brian Hogan of the CPGA.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Park District CEO Mike Kelly announced the creation of the CPGA in December 2016. The CPGA is a non-profit and aims to restore and improve existing golf courses at Jackson Park and South Shore Golf course and provide programming to expand youth golf programs. That same year, the CPGA announced its partnership with Chicago-based Western Golf Association, which will help train and manage 20 local high school students at the Jackson Park Golf Course to work as caddies.
Caddies in the program would also have the opportunity to apply for the Evans Scholarship. Since 1930, the Evans Scholarship has sent thousands of young people to college. Most recipients of the award attend one of 14 universities where the Evans Scholar Foundation maintains a scholarship house.
“These are four-year, full tuition and housing scholarships,” Hogan said.
Hogan said the program is looking for kids 14 years old and up and that while upperclassmen are welcome to apply “the ideal candidates will be in the ninth or 10th grade so that they can caddy for at least two years before applying for the scholarship.”
The CPGA will oversee fundraising of a combined and upgraded golf facility, which would be situated within the two golf courses at Jackson Park and South Shore.
Tiger Woods, a career professional golf player, will be overseeing the renovations for the new $30 million golf complex. The courses will be transformed and combined into a single 18-hole championship course and a shorter course.
Woods’ TGR Design will revamp the two courses to host premium Professional Golfers Association (PGA) tour events such as the BMW Championship.
“It’s very exciting that you have a potential four-year plan to improve these golf courses,” Hogan said. “We really want to preserve them for years to come. They’re 100-plus-year-old community assets. Everyone is working hard; we are meeting so many people we want to show some immediate results and the best way to do that is through the kids, right away.”
The project will also create a tunnel at 67th Street to connect the courses under South Jeffrey.
Hogan said the renovations to the courses would be beneficial for the community.
“We’ve met with the golf coach at Kenwood Academy [High School],” Hogan said. They [the golf team] go to play their matches nearly 10 miles away at Harborside [11001 S. Doty Ave.] They didn’t feel the Jackson Park golf course, right in their backyard, was a fitting venue to learn the game and compete.”
The newly renovated course is slated to open to the public in 2020.
The CPGA has offered the program students at public high schools near Jackson Park as well as Mount Carmel High School, 6410 S. Dante Ave., Urban Prep High School and University of Chicago Charter School Woodlawn, 6420 S. University Ave.
The caddie program has 20 spots available this summer at the Jackson Park Golf Course. Teens that are interested in applying can contact the CPGA directly at Info@ChicagoParksGolfAlliance.org or can contact Hogan at BHogan@ChicagoParksGolfAlliance.org.