Early Debate around Tiger’s Chicago Project

A few hours after the Chicago Tribune broke the news of Tiger Woods’s involvement in the effort to renovate the city-owned Jackson Park and South Shore golf courses, I registered my skepticism on this blog. I admit that this response was premature; we will not know the details of this vast public works project, much less be able to assess its effects, until years from now. A couple of smart folks on Twitter, in that unmistakeable tone of mild social media annoyance, told me as much. While I still think my doubts are well founded (see: the general history of gentrification and the specific history of Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the South Side), I do acknowledge the wisdom of chill the eff out and see what happens.

But I can still follow the debate, right?

The discussion board at Golf Club Atlas has an informative thread on the topic. A few of the participants are in my camp; several are cautiously optimistic; some are incredulous that anyone could find fault with such a well-intentioned endeavor.

For the Tribune, Teddy Greenstein reports that a few community members have already butted heads with project leaders. Local golfer Gloster Mahon — great name — says simply, “Our dialogue did not go well.”

Mahon, 65, took some blame. A specialist in economic development who has consulted for agencies such as the Chicago Housing Authority, Mahon said he and fellow area golfers were “all over the place” with their requests and ideas.

Nevertheless, Mahon said, “They seem to have their minds already made up.”

Will this be a community golf course? Or a Chamber of Commerce golf course?

Let’s chill the eff out and see what happens.


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