South Shore Golf Course Overview
Historic South Shore Golf Course began its journey as South Shore Country Club in 1906, a private and exclusive country club with 65 acres of land along Lake Michigan between 67th and 71st Streets. South Shore was a thriving society for Chicago’s elite for decades, but in the 1960s, due to the changing demographics of the neighborhood, the club lost many members. In 1973, in dire financial condition, the club voted to liquidate its assets. The Chicago Park District purchased it for $9.7 million in 1974. The stately clubhouse, opened in 1915, was later converted into the
South Shore Cultural Center
. The center doubled as the “Palace Hotel Ballroom” in the movie Blues Brothers and also served as the venue for Barack & Michelle Obama’s wedding reception back in 1992. The building was officially designated as a Chicago landmark in 2004.
As you pull into the South Shore Cultural Center, you’ll see its beautiful landscaping and garden. The pro shop is on the left side of the giant building. The Park District owns this 9-hole golf course, and like its other tracks, the venue is all about laid back, casual golf. South Shore isn’t manicured to perfection, but for $22 you didn’t expect that anyway. You’re out here to enjoy some sun, greenery, and some really nice views of Lake Michigan and the skyline. The track isn’t always busy, but this place isn’t for folks obsessed by pace-of-play issues. When I last golfed here, it was on a holiday, and things were running about 25 minutes behind schedule at 10AM on a gorgeous day. The group in front of me had two golf bags for four people. I witnessed multiple swings and misses on the first tee. It happens; it’s not the end of the world. Just set your expectations properly and enjoy the ride.
South Shore is a 9-hole affair, measuring 2,720 yards from the back tees. Par is 33, composed of three par-3’s and six par-4’s. There are no par-5’s. The longest hole is 435 yards, the 3rd hole, which runs adjacent to S. Lake Shore Drive. Hole #2 is a very slight dogleg left and is the best hole on the course, providing a beautiful view of Chicago’s skyline across Lake Michigan on clear days. The lake can be seen on several holes, a real draw for this muni. In contrast to the lake views, there’s no actual water on the course. South Shore’s holes are tight, tree-lined, and almost all parallel fairways. The course rating is 32.9, and slope is 112.
The pro shop at South Shore is easy to miss against the huge cultural center building. It’s just a walk-up window. They have some snacks and drinks, and do sell alcohol. Don’t purchase parking in the pay lot. With a paid green fee, they give you a parking pass for a nominal fee. Tucked away in the back of the property is a fine practice area, called the SouthShore Golf Learning Center. Tune up your short game with the two separate putting greens. Calibrate your bunker skills with their two sand traps. There’s no driving range, but there’s a wide net to hit into with mats overlooking the lake.