Canal Shores Golf Course Overview
The September 21, 1919 issue of the Chicago Tribune stated "Evanston, one of the local cradles of golf, has finally obtained a public course." This popular and historic track celebrated its 100th birthday in 2019. Formerly it was known as the Evanston Wilmette Community Golf Course, then as the Peter N. Jans Memorial Golf Course. Positioned along the North Shore Channel of the Chicago River, Canal Shores is built largely on public property and is managed by the Evanston Wilmette Golf Course Association, and deeply woven into those two communities. On this truly unique course, golfers play along the river, cross numerous city streets, and pass by rail lines for both the CTA and Metra trains. In fact the CTA Central St. stop is conveniently right across the street from the course entrance.
Tom Bendelow, the original architect of Medinah Country Club’s three courses, designed the Canal Shores layout. A relaxed and unpretentious atmosphere awaits you. Last time I played here, there were at least a dozen people walking their dogs on the course, and others jogging, stretching, and doing Tai Chi. It’s basically a neighborhood park that happens to have a golf course run through it, and the vibes are extremely chill.
The goal here is to offer golf that is fast, affordable, and fun. Canal Shores measures 3,612 yards and par is 60. There’s 12 par-3’s and 6 par-4’s, the longest of which is 330 yards. The short yardage lends itself to fast play, but the course really leans into speedy alternatives, with an option to play either a 5 or 10 hole loop instead of the full 18. Green fees are modest, and while golf carts are available, it’s very walkable. Just keep in mind the routing is confusing at times and signage can be lacking. On your trek, you’ll soak in views of the striking Baha’i Temple, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. The canal itself is also on the Register.
The pro shop isn’t large, but they’ve done a good job of packing it full of both unbranded and branded Canal Shores merch. There’s no driving range, but some nets to hit into. There’s two practice greens -- one with real grass and one with astroturf. Note that starting June 2023, a major renovation is starting at Canal Shores and the course will close August 1st. $6 million is being spent to create a youth golf facility and caddie academy. Re-opening is targeted for summer 2024.