Greetings – 124 days after receiving our permits from the Metropolitan Water Reclamation  District, The City of Evanston and Wilmette Park District –  Wadsworth Golf Construction finished their portion of the project this week.  I am Chris Charnas, Vice President/Golf at Canal Shores, after endless rains in October, I am still here – happy to report that  this is your final regular 2023 update on the progress of renovations at Canal Shores. In golf it’s not how you start, but it’s how you finish and we think that the last three (really four) holes are going to keep golfers coming back to Canal Shores again and again. The above photo shows, from bottom right counterclockwise, the finishing holes at Canal Shores (16, 17, 17b and 18). Holes #14 and #15 are on the left side of the canal, top to bottom.

This week I want to highlight our key partner, The Western Golf Association. When the Canal Shores Youth Training Campus is fully completed in late summer 2024 it will allow us to:

  •  Positively impact the youth of Evanston, Wilmette and surrounding communities through our life skills programming, a reimagined practice area, and unprecedented on-course access
    • Including a 100,000 square foot short game area, alongside Canal Shores Hole #1, which gives our coaches the ability to teach the full game while also accessing the course
  •  In partnership with the Western Golf Association, create a unique path for our First Tee participants to become caddies and pursue Evans Scholarships
  •  Connect with local schools and community organizations to expand our programming to kids in all regions of Chicago

The below photo is of the Youth Training Campus with the first green and the new bunker on the top, just south of and viewable from the Central Street bridge. The old school bunker is the only sand bunker on the golf course and will be used to help caddies learn their trade.

Youth Training Campus – Evans Scholar Caddie Training Academy 

The Evans Scholars Foundation (ESF) awards full tuition and housing scholarships to high-achieving caddies with limited financial means. Established in 1930 by the Western Golf Association (WGA) and celebrated amateur golfer Charles “Chick” Evans Jr., the Foundation oversees the nation’s largest scholarship program for caddies.

To qualify for an Evans Scholarship, caddies must meet the requirements of having a strong caddie record, excellent academics, demonstrated financial need and outstanding character. Scholarship applications are accepted at the beginning of an applicant’s senior year of high school, as well as from college freshmen. The Evans Scholarship value is $125,000.

The first two Evans Scholars enrolled at Northwestern University in 1930, and since then, 12,040 outstanding young men and women have graduated as Evans Scholars. Evans Scholars are enrolled at 24 leading universities nationwide including 17 where the Foundation operates a Scholarship House. A record 1,130 Evans Scholars are currently in school for the 2023-24 academic year. Evans Scholars live and work together in community, with each chapter electing its own officers, running social and service activities, and participating in campus programs.

As part of our ambitious long-range plan that includes doubling the number of youth caddie opportunities and achieving 1,500 Evans Scholars in school by 2030, the Evans Scholars Foundation is fully dedicated to funding a WGA Caddie Academy chapter at Canal Shores. As part of our commitment, we will have a caddie manager assigned to the course and the ESF will pay all caddie fees, so golfers at Canal Shores will be able to take caddies at no cost to them. It is our hope that these golfers will perhaps buy them a Gatorade and a hot dog and just agree to help mentor these kids on their way to applying for the Evans Scholarship. We are hoping many of these kids come to golf through First Tee’s outreach with schools in Evanston and the north side of Chicago.

We cannot thank enough our partners at Western Golf: John Kaczkowski, Steve Brueggeman, Jeff Harrison, Mike Maher, Kevin Buggy – Past Chairman, Joe Desch – Chairman, Mick O’ Rourke and Josh Lesnik.

Progress Report:

The bad weather finally broke and we have had enough sunshine and mild temperatures for Wadsworth to finish the construction phase of the project. A huge thank you to Eric Wadsworth, Pat Karnick, Doug Myslinski, Matt Lohmann, Mario Salas, and the entire on-site Wadsworth team that put Canal Shores back together. Grassing has been completed on all 18 holes and we are in full grow-in mode!

As the holes grow in, we continue to  highlight the great new golf experiences coming to Canal Shores:

HOLE #17 

PAR 4 275 YDS


That’s the 16th green on the right with its thumbprint green.

Leading off for the final stretch, the 17th is a slight dogleg par 4 that offers ample room from the start, but quickly narrows upon approach to the green. This tapering effect is aided by a fairway cigar mound and hollow that cuts in on the right at 220 yards from the back tee, challenging the tee shot and helping to drain one of the perennially wet fairways on the course. The long, narrow green here has been relocated along the top of the canal bank with hollows guarding the right and back sides. Positioning down the left side off the tee will offer the best run-up access to the green, but beware a back right pin location where the slope falls away into one of the greenside collection area.

Green Inspiration: Original

Hole #17B

PAR 3 70-85 YDS; FAMILY 60 YDS


17B – Tee in the foreground, the new wetland and then the green behind it. You can see the 18th green in the distance at the top of the photo.

While small in stature, this “bonus” hole serves a critical role in the function of the greater golf course. On select days when youth programming requires extra space, the 1st hole will be used as a practice area, taking it out of the 18-hole rotation and moving the start to the 2nd. Hole 17b will then be added to the lineup to complete the 18. The green here occupies the location of the original 17th, but doubled in size with a small, pinnable central plateau that divides the surface into distinct areas left, right and back. Fronting the green is a newly excavated wetland area with low-growth plantings that serves as both a storm water storage area and a buffer for the native wetland found immediately to the east.

Green Inspiration: Recapture and expansion of 1920s Bendelow green

Please let me know if you have any questions on the project or would like a tour. If you prefer to be unsubscribed from this newsletter, please let me know. Finally, a huge thank you to all that have donated to the Canal Shores 2nd Century project. We have currently raised $5.4 Million of our $5.9 Million goal.  If you have not yet donated and are interested, you can email me to set up a meeting or you can access our donation site here.

Happy Thanksgiving,



*** Photo Credits to Patrick Hughes, Jr.

*** Writing help from Tim Pretzsch




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