KemperSports selected to manage 100-year-old, community-based Chicagoland course
Courtesy of KemperSports

KemperSports selected to manage 100-year-old, community-based Chicagoland course

Canal Shores Golf Course will remain a 501(c)(3) as part of the agreement.

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KemperSports announced that it has been selected by the Evanston Wilmette Golf Course Association (EWGCA), a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit charitable organization, to manage Canal Shores Golf Course in Evanston, Illinois.

Canal Shores has been an integral part of its local community for more than 100 years and offers a unique golf experience for players of all ages and skill levels. As part of the partnership, KemperSports will look to elevate every facet of the golf operation, improve playability and create new and dynamic pathways for local kids to experience and benefit from the game of golf.

“We are extremely excited to partner with KemperSports and work with its first-class management team,” said Karl Leinberger, president of the Evanston Wilmette Golf Course Association. “KemperSports brings proven and unrivaled management expertise combined with an appreciation and understanding of the charm of Canal Shores. With a shared commitment to the course’s core pillars of golf, youth development, ecology and community, we couldn’t have chosen a better partner to shepherd a brighter future for Canal Shores.”

Canal Shores opened in 1919 and was designed by prolific golf course architect Tom Bendelow. The 3,600-yard, par-60 layout has undeniable charm and just enough challenge. Dubbed “the gem in your backyard,” the course winds through urban and suburban neighborhoods along the North Shore branch of the Chicago River. Golfers play through a 100-year-old oak forest alongside Chicago’s “L” and Metra train tracks, traverse several road crossings and are treated to beautiful views of the Bahá'í House of Worship, which creates a golf experience unlike any other.

“Canal Shores is a 100-year-old community gem that offers a one-of-a-kind golf experience and plays an important role in making the game accessible to a wide range of junior golfers,” said Josh Lesnik, president of KemperSports. “If you love unique golf experiences and are visiting Chicago, Canal Shores is a must-play, especially as we improve the golf experience while preserving its undeniable charm. We could not be more excited to help ensure that this memorable and purpose-driven golf course thrives for the next 100 years.”

As part of its efforts to enhance operations and the overall golf experience at Canal Shores, KemperSports plans to improve course conditions, create a more comfortable social experience for both pre- and post-rounds and assist in implementing an Ecological Master Plan, which began in 2017 and has already resulted in improvements that have earned the course an award from the Friends Of The Chicago River. Canal Shores has also received certification by the National Wildlife Federation as a wildlife habitat and accreditation as an Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf.

KemperSports and the Evanston Wilmette Golf Course Association are committed to a shared vision that brings opportunities to local youth through golf. Canal Shores offers free, weeklong summer camps to underserved youth throughout its communities. The program focuses on introducing the game of golf and its accompanying health and social benefits to underserved players from Evanston who are new to the game and/or want continued quality instruction.

Canal Shores will remain affordable and accessible for local golfers and residents and continue to operate as a 501 (c)(3) non-profit, thanks to a strong community of volunteers.