Jackson Park Golf Course Overview
Jackson Park Golf Course is a functional monument to the history of golf in the United States. The course opened on May 11, 1899 as a 9 hole course, and 18 holes followed the next year. It was the first public golf course west of the Allegheny Mountains. The Chicago Tribune recorded the event with a long article, which included an illustrated chart of the first three tee shots ever hit there. Said the Trib, “The opening of the links was watched by a crowd of golf players, and several hundred people anxious to learn the game. Following are the tabulated results of the first 15 minutes of play. Lost balls: 4. Sticks broken: 1 driver. Shins bruised: 5.” Playing golf was free there until 1920, when a nominal fee was introduced.
These days, the course maintains a shorter 18 hole layout at 5,508 yards. With a course rating of 65.7, it’s not the most demanding course. However, the fairways narrow considerably on most of the 13 holes south of Marquette Drive, necessitating accurate tee shots. Despite the course’s proximity to Jackson Park Harbor, water is only in play on three holes.
Jackson Park’s clubhouse is named after Cecil A. Partee, a trailblazer who broke color barriers in Illinois politics and served in a variety of state, county, and city government roles during his lifetime. Partee also invested a lot of energy into making the golf course the best it could possibly be. The pro shop at Jackson Park has some intriguing Chicago golf memorabilia, such as the Chicago City Golf Championship trophy, not to mention a decent selection of golf gear. There’s a practice putting green near the clubhouse, and a driving range a few blocks north of the course.