Time to invest in S. Side golf

To the Editor:

The alarming misinformation campaign surrounding the Jackson Park/South Shore Golf Course must be addressed.

A recent letter in the Chicago Sun-Times noting the 114-year-old South Shore Golf Course will become a luxurious course under the proposed plan is another misguided attempt to deter progress and development.

Specifically, this letter regarding proposed improvements to our treasured public golf courses claims, “There’s no benefit to our working-class community, certainly not jobs or economic development.”

The Chicago Park District will continue to own and manage the South Shore Cultural Center and Golf Courses. All Chicagoans are welcome to utilize the facilities, but why anyone suggests children “play ball” other than golf on a golf course is asinine. There are playgrounds and fields throughout the parks to accommodate children playing ball, but unfortunately stray bullets are the primary concern for parents today.

It’s not the same environment and mindset we grew up in 40 years ago. Facts and data attest to scholarships, careers and economic development through golf; as well the millions raised by the PGA Tour and donated to charitable causes.

Moreover, we applaud the desire and actions of Chicago’s 5th Ward Alderman, Leslie Hairston, to revitalize the community, notably 71st Street, which once was the “South Side Magnificent Mile.”

We are avid amateur golfers, our children are golfers, and we have countless friends and family who are amateur golfers. Many of us enjoy the sport because golf connects us with nature, allows us to walk miles boosting exercise, promotes networking, and when applicable, helps support caddying, employment, and scholarship opportunities for juniors.

We golfers are actually contributing to economic development as opposed to stifling it by paying our greens fees and supporting concessions at the golf courses; all growing revenue for the Park District.

It’s time to promote a sport that can be played from toddler to elder and a career path for children beyond basketball, baseball, soccer, and football—with fewer physical consequences!

It’s time to end the misinformation campaign the nature sanctuary will be destroyed. Golf is probably the only sport that epitomizes the symbiotic relationship with nature and creates “nature sanctuaries.”

It’s time to end the mischaracterization of golf as a privileged sport that African Americans shouldn’t play, especially not on Chicago’s South Side. It’s time to be thankful and note the golf course improvements will be funded by private charitable donations; not taxpayers.

It’s time to revitalize Chicago’s South Side and invest in the community’s children, elders, working-class (golf courses need employees), and safety.

Sincerely,

Tracy Raoul, Jackson Park Golf

Association