The controversy surrounding the sale and proposed redevelopment of Calumet Country Club showed one thing with some clarity: Golf courses matter to our community, even to non-golfers.
As was pointed out a number of times during the Homewood Planning and Zoning Commission hearing, Calumet Country Club represents a significant portion of the open land greenspace in the village.
And it is one of the historic courses that has been part of the village for more than a century, which means it's part of the landscape that people grew up with or moved to be near. It's not just golfers who have an interest in the fate of the course, or any of our courses.
Assuming Calumet Country Club gets converted into a warehouse complex, as planned, it won't be the first course we've lost. Dixmoor Country Club only lasted about five years in the 1920s. It also isn't the first course to be threatened with extinction. Until current owner Claude Gendreau bought it, Ravisloe Country Club was in danger of being converted to another use.
Those cases, and the controversy over the fate of Calumet Country Club got us thinking. Because the future of that course matters to so many people, the future of our other courses matters even more.
We decided it would be a good time to check in with the owners and players of those courses and see how things are going.
Golf courses developed along and near the Illinois Central line in the first quarter of the 20th century. They were once known as the Five Sisters — Calumet, Ravisloe, Idlewild, Flossmoor and Olympia Fields.
For our State of Golf project, we talked to owners, managers and players from six courses, the Five Sisters plus the only publicly owned local course, Coyote Run.
What we have learned so far is that each course contributed in its own way to the community's history, culture and economy. Each has its own character, it's own niche, it's own story to tell.
In order to tell the story of golf in our area, we wanted to employ a range of tools, from print to web, voice and video.
For the video centerpiece of the project, we are working with Bionic Content, led by Marcellus Marsh of Flossmoor. Bionic Content has produced a number of video products for local businesses and organizations in recent months, including the Chronicle's Meet the Candidate interviews before the spring election.
Video production, however, is a bit beyond the Chronicle's usual budget, so we're turning to the community to help us complete the project.
We think the result will be a compelling story, and an important one for a community with a history and future entwined with golf.
We're inviting contributions to a GoFundMe campaign to raise $2,600 by Sept. 10.
Everyone who pitches in $10 or more will be listed on the community sponsors screen of the video. The video will be posted on the Chronicle's YouTube channel and shared as far and wide as we can.
We hope you'll consider adding your name to the list.