Greetings – I am Chris Charnas, and I continue to be Vice President/Golf at Canal Shores. This is our final 2023 update on the Canal Shores course renovation. The above photo is from the east looking at the three hole loop on the north end of the course (holes 6, 7, 8). While construction is complete and we are waiting for warm weather to grow in the grass, KemperSports and our staff have been busy preparing for 2024 and all the fun that will come with opening the new Canal Shores. We plan to keep you updated on all the changes in the coming months.

To keep you excited for the 2024 golf season here is a video showing every hole from 1-18 including 17b.

This week I want to highlight our partner in golf, KemperSports. Without their help and guidance we would not have been able to complete the renovation of Canal Shores. Their insights and industry contacts have been invaluable throughout the entire process. We  cannot thank them enough for all of their help in moving Canal shores forward into its 2nd Century.

KemperSports is a leading sports, entertainment and hospitality company that delivers operational excellence in property and experience management. Headquartered in Chicago with regional offices throughout the U.S., KemperSports manages more than 140 golf courses, private clubs, sports venues, and destination resorts nationwide. It has more golf properties named among the top 100 U.S. public and resort courses as rated by GOLF Magazine, Golf Digest and Golfweek than any other management company.

As a leading partner in the revitalization of Canal Shores, KemperSports was brought in because its team shared our Board’s vision for Canal Shores – a community golf haven and an example of forward-thinking programming for underserved youth in the community. KemperSports is also a founding member of First Tee – Greater Chicago and has a shared commitment to using the game of golf to positively impact youth in the area..

For over 40 years, KemperSports’ development and construction team has led a range of projects including golf developments, clubhouses, recreational facilities, activity fields and conference centers. Other notable KemperSports construction work in the Chicagoland area includes building The Lawn, a 30,000-square-foot putting and chipping experience at Deerpath Golf Course in Lake Forest, an ongoing 27-hole course renovation at Winnetka Golf Club, and an upcoming short game renovation at Vernon Hills Golf Course as well as a 27-hole renovation at Cantigny Golf in Wheaton.

Thank you to the entire team at KemperSports for their commitment and dedication to this project and the communities surrounding Canal Shores. Special thank you to Josh Lesnik, Tom Grey, Brad Helms, Vince Juarez, Mary Kate Walsh and our entire Maintenance and Pro Shop staff – Lou Rossetti, Charlie McCormick, Andrew Mack, Rick Brinkman, Chris Nitto, Laura Collyer, Kein Nelson and Ella Capozzi.

Progress Report:

In late December, our Maintenance Staff and volunteers covered the final greens with tarps. The tarps help with erosion control along with providing an insulating cushion which should help with grow-in in the Spring. We are hopeful that the grass under the tarps grew during those 50 degree days in December. Special thanks to Bryn Mawr Country Club, Northshore Country Club Biltmore Country Club and Twin Orchard Country Club for helping us with the green covers.

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


PAR 3 115-150YDS


The 8th is a nod to the great Redan holes of the McDonald/Raynor/Banks template architecture. Its design most closely mimics the 7th at Chicago GC, but is muted to cater to the Canal Shores golfer. With the front quarter of the green sloping towards the line of play, and the remaining green sloping away from play at roughly a 45-degree angle, the smart play here is to use the banking slope at the middle, right of the green to funnel shots toward back pins. Missing right or left of this green will leave a tough recovery to a narrow green with a cross slope that falls hard away.

Hole #7

PAR 3 60-75 YDS; 


The first of its kind in the Chicagoland area, the 7th has been designed specifically to be a putting hole playing on a southeast axis toward the Baha’i Temple. Clearing of the invasive buckthorn growth along the top of the canal bank allows for some incredible views of the majestic structure and a  peek at Lake Michigan in the distance. The 70-yd long green plays along the edge of the existing ridge and hints at a crescent moon shape, a spiritual symbol of the Baha’i faith. The green surface is banked on the right side using the backside mounds of the punchbowl 6th, allowing for players to use multiple avenues to reach the pin. Misjudging the break could easily lead to a chip from the back of the green, making this shorty one of the harder holes on the course to make par.

Yes, we realize this is a different type of golf hole and certainly not traditional, but Canal Shores is not traditional either. We think this new hole will be the signature hole of the entire renovation. Our GM, Tom Grey, is already planning weekly putting contests.

As we close out 2023 we also wanted to mention some of our other highlights from the past 12 months. Our volunteer Lumberjacks (they just added their 200th member) managed to make significant progress on the walking trail from Green Bay Road to Sheridan Road. The trail is now almost three miles in length. Once finished, it will help direct walkers and dog walkers onto their own path and away from the golf play. They have cleared acres and acres of buckthorn, an invasive species that has taken over a large portion of the banks of the canal. The lumberjacks have regular work sessions most Saturdays and are always looking for new members to help clean up and clear out buckthorn. It took over 100 years for all that buckthorn to overgrow the banks of the canal, we are hoping to get it cleared in less time than that! Here is a long video that Patrick Hughes put together about the Lumberjacks.

Please let me know if you have any questions on the project or would like a tour. It’s a little cold, but if you want a tour I am happy to walk about. 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. If you are looking for an end of year place to donate, Canal Shores is a 501C3 and any donation is Tax Deductible.  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.

Best Wishes and Happy New Year,


*** Photo Credits to Patrick Hughes, Jr.

*** Writing help from Tim Pretzsch




One last photo – the Windphone on the 11th hole. That’s a story for a future newsletter.

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