Dear Neighbors and Friends of the Evanston-Wilmette Community Golf Course:
In 1919, when the North Shore Channel was new, and the area surrounding it was largely unusable, some progressive and creative leaders of Evanston and Wilmette joined together with a vision for a golf course -- not just any golf course, but one tailored to wind through our communities and provide a unique public golf experience. As the 2012 golf season winds down, we want to update you on the changes we’ve implemented at the course, our plans for 2013, and talk a little about how you can help us preserve this treasure in our midst and make it a resource for the next generation of golfers and residents.
The Evanston-Wilmette Community Golf Course Association is a not-for profit organization which benefits the Evanston and Wilmette communities by:
The Golf Experience
We continue to work on maintenance and upkeep of the course and have made a great effort to rebuild troubled greens. The golf experience can start when you walk out the door of the new Pro Shop, now located in the American Legion building – convenient to the parking lot. We now offer a “baker’s dozen” golf option, which is an ideal alternative for golfers wishing to play fewer than 18 holes at a reduced price. This concept has been endorsed by a number of golf professionals, most notably Jack Nicklaus, and depending upon our experience this season and next, it may become one of the first such options in the Midwest.
What’s Ahead for 2013
We have a fiduciary responsibility to meet the obligations in our sublease, and it is imperative we get on a sound financial footing and meet the financial challenges we have faced in light of the economic downturn. We are looking at ways to introduce new golfers to the course and to provide golfing at a competitive price. We are working with Evanston and Wilmette to develop a new approach to our water bills given the fact that in many ways we are the equivalent of a public park, offering amenities that can be enjoyed year round by the wider community.
We are committed to instituting a fundraising campaign so we can be prepared for emergencies and to developing a long range plan to anticipate expenses. Our plan includes reaching out to individuals, local businesses and organizations for donations and we will be developing a long term capital fund. We are looking at increasing our membership base and inviting the participation of more of our neighbors. To increase revenues, we have also looked into the possibility of expanding services on the course, including concessions that will be open to the public. The parking experiment has indeed boosted our bottom line and, with good management, provided respite from traffic jams and safe off-street parking for visitors.
Management of the Association
We are rebuilding the association with plans that will enable us to better meet its debt obligations, to maintain or replace our aging grounds-keeping equipment and to market the course to a wider audience. We want to broaden our membership base and invite new faces to join us at the table to add their expertise by serving on the board and on committees. We want to be open and transparent, and welcome new ideas on how to manage the association and fulfill our special responsibility to the community. We hope to collaborate and partner with businesses and other organizations in the area we serve. We are looking at hosting special events. We know it is more than golf that drives interest in our course. We’re extending an invitation to interested neighbors to become members of the Evanston Wilmette Golf Course Association Board of Directors. The Board meets typically once a month, is all volunteer and consists of members who contribute time, ideas, and initiative. Board members may serve on committees with specific Golf Course improvement goals. Please contact us with your interest -- we’ll soon have an information meeting where we can discuss what’s involved in joining the Board.
We are making a commitment to be more open and keep in touch regularly with our neighbors and our councils so we can all work together to make our community the best it can be. In coming months, we will be making the rounds of neighborhood events and meetings to keep you apprised of what we are doing and hope to accomplish in the next year. We invite you to join us and learn more.
How You Can Help!
Unfortunately, speculation continues about the future of the property. Our intent is to keep the course public and promote it to the widest possible audience. As part of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, the two municipalities of Evanston and Wilmette have a long term lease, and have made a commitment to supporting open space and vibrant public spaces. Open public lands are a huge asset to us all and critical to property values and quality of life – a reason many of you live in this area. We want to continue in that tradition.
We are optimistic about the future. We encourage you to join us to express your concern and appreciation for the course and its history by making your voice heard to your local elected officials and community leaders. We further encourage those interested in joining the Board, to please let us know (use the contact info below). With a little creative thinking and cooperation, this unique asset to our community will continue to serve us all. We hope you will all take time to visit the course, see what we are doing and join us in rebuilding and maintaining this gem in our midst.
The Evanston Wilmette Golf Course Association