Belated Happy New Year! I am Chris Charnas, Vice President/Golf at Canal Shores, and this is our Winter 2024 update on the Canal Shores course renovation. The above photo is of our namesake canal which runs the length of the course and shows Evanston in all its winter glory. The photo is actually in color, but  if you have lived in Chicago for any length of time you know that January is gray. While we wait for the grass to grow in, I thought you might be interested to learn more about the history of Canal Shores.

Canal Shores has a long history that dates back to the 1890’s. Some even refer to it as the Cradle of Golf on the North Shore.

  • Original Evanston golf course was known as the King’s Daughters Club, the second oldest club in the US specifically developed for women, and located on the Kidder tract in north Evanston.
  • In 1898, the course was incorporated as the Evanston Golf Club, and shortly thereafter moved to a new tract in Evanston (general Canal Shores location) where the clubhouse was located just west of Ridge Road and north of the Evanston Hospital near the border of Evanston and Wilmette.
  • From this clubhouse location the course played out to the west and north, then swung south before returning back north to the clubhouse.  The land occupied by the course was leased from private entities.
  • In 1905, the North Shore channel was cut through the course, which disrupted several holes of play.  From the beginning, beautification of the channel banks has been a priority.
  • Also in 1905, the Chicago and Milwaukee electric rail line was built through the grounds, further disrupting the golf course layout.  According to a newspaper clipping (Dec 31, 1920), “the canal and railway thus seriously interfered with the purpose for which the golf course was intended, but the members carried on though the canal provided a ‘hazard’ which taxed the time, patience and pockets of the members.”
  • In 1911, a group of members chose to leave the Evanston Golf Club and move west to get more land and they formed the new Westmoreland Country Club.
  • In 1917, a new permanent location was found for the Evanston Golf Club in Skokie, IL where it resides today.  Donald Ross was hired to design the new course.
  • On November 22, 1918, the Northmoor Country Club was formed and occupied the course over 2 years until it became apparent to the Board of Directors that 9-holes was not enough to satisfy its growing membership.  Thus in 1919, the board leased the current Northmoor CC property, hired Donald Ross to build their new golf course, and left the Evanston locale.
  • In 1919 Local Evanston businessman and future alderman Peter N. Jans put together a group to finance and build a new public golf course in Evanston. Tom Bendelow is hired to design the 18 hole golf course.
  • On September 22, 1919, Judge Richard Tuthilll played the first round on the first public golf course in Evanston, which was being run by the Evanston Community Recreation Association and had been established on the grounds formerly used by the Evanston Golf Club.
  • Between 1922 and 1923, in order to get 18 holes on the public lands, five new holes (pre-current renovation 5-9) were routed up to Sheridan Road to the north, extending the golf course into the Village of Wilmette. The remaining 13 holes, situated in Evanston, were incorporated mostly from the original golf course with a few new additions and a rebuild of most of the greens.
  • The same year, a new brick clubhouse was built between Central and Lincoln Streets and modeled in a Colonial style, including wraparound second-story porches on the west and north sides (which have since been enclosed and/or removed as part of the American Legion Post 42, still on the second floor of the clubhouse building). The building and land were donated by Thomas Leahy (namesake for Leahy Park)

  • In April 1998 the bridge over the Canal at the southern end of the course is put in place.
  • 2007 – Peter N Jans Golf Course is renamed Frank Govern Memorial Golf Course.
  • 2012 – the course is renamed Evanston Wilmette Community Golf Course
  • 2013 – the course is renamed Canal Shores Golf Course

Progress Report:

For those of you in the local area, the winter weather has been atypical. Although we had the longest stretch of cold days since 1996, currently we have no snow cover and last week we even had temps in the 50’s for 2 days.

We know that the construction has been an inconvenience for our neighbors who typically enjoy walking, running and walking  their dogs on the course. We are asking for continued patience from our neighbors as the grass is very vulnerable at this stage and walking on it will delay the opening. We hope to have a schedule for when the course will open for play announced to the public on June 1.

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

HOLE #14

PAR 3 120 – 155 YDS


The 14th gets its name from the cheeky portmanteau (*the combining of two words) of Restoration and Renovation, indicating that the overhaul of Canal Shores is a combination of both approaches. The same is true for the 14th hole, which will be recaptured in its original form from tee to green, with the putting surface expanded back to the original green pad and guarded by steeper side slopes and adjacent hollows. The contours of the putting surface will be renovated to include some new rolls and distinct pinning areas.

Hole #18

PAR 4 215-285 60-75 YDS; 


The closing hole at CS pays homage to the O.G. of golf, the 17th “Road Hole” at St Andrews, Scotland, and its Chicagoland brethren at Shoreacres (10th) and Chicago GC (2nd). The yardage of this final hole will flex a bit depending on whether hole 17.5 is in play. When it’s not, the tees can stretch back to nearly 300 yards. Regardless, position off the tee is key to scoring here. For those who are willing and able to brave the left side and the threat of the canal, the green angle will allow for access to any pin, including a central green ridge that will help to funnel rolling approaches to the tightly guarded back, right. For the less bold who choose the wide open right side, the approach will be a much more difficult test requiring a precise shot to a very narrow green guarded by a grass “Hellhole” hollow. Central Street also lurks behind and slopes will funnel mishits away on either side. Birdie here will definitely deserve a cold Sketchbook Level Par Lager on the updated Canal Shores Patio!

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. Canal Shores is a 501(C)(3) and any donation is tax deductible.  We have currently raised $5.5 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





Translate »