Chick Evans Golf Course Overview
The October 10, 1923 Chicago Tribune wrote “The Northwestern golf course, located on forest preserve property near the Glen View club, is practically completed and will be ready for play next year.” The Trib also claimed it would cost $0.50 to play on weekdays, and $1.00 on weekends. In 1924, the course debuted and was incredibly popular, due to the relative dearth of public playing opportunities for golf-crazed Chicagoland. In 1970, the course was renamed to honor the legendary Chick Evans for his 80th birthday. Among numerous other accomplishments, Evans was the first golfer to win the US Open and US Amateur titles in the same year, in 1916. And of course he went on to found the Evans Scholars Foundation. The club’s 100th anniversary is really something to celebrate! Practically nothing lasts that long any more.
The property is one of ten Cook County Forest Preserve golf courses. Chick Evans is in line with the others in terms of course maintenance and amenities; they do a good job with the budget they have, but don’t expect perfection. Forest Preserve golf is all about good value and having fun on the course, which it easily accomplishes. The North Branch of the Chicago River runs directly through the heart of the property, and actually splits into the West Fork as well. As a result, flooding can be problematic here. Like other courses along the river, flooding can shut down certain holes or the course entirely.
Chick Evans measures 5,634 yards, so it’s short by modern standards. Par is 71, encompassing just two par 5’s and three par-3’s. The course rating is a friendly 67.4, and the slope is 111, which is a signal that this place is mostly gentle to bogie golfers. The venue’s main defenses are narrow fairways and the aforementioned waterways that ramble throughout. As you’d expect, trees are abundant, but there’s some space between the parallel fairways. The longest hole is the par-5 3rd at 497 yards. However, my favorite is the 14th, which features overhanging power lines. I once saw a golf ball hit the wires, which created massive sparks... It was awesome. We never found the ball, and I like to think it exploded. You get a free re-tee due to local rules.
There’s no driving range here, but there’s a medium-size practice green. The pro shop features a decent amount of merch to gear you up for the round and also doubles as a snack bar.