For many Chicagoans, finding a golf course close to home may seem like an unattainable task, given how densely packed the city is. Little do these residents know that an affordable and accessible golf course lies in their own backyard.
Located just north of Belmont Harbor off of Lake Shore Drive, Sydney R. Marovitz Golf Course is one of few golf courses located near downtown Chicago. It is a Chicago Park District nine-hole course that sits along the lakefront and is amongst the busiest courses in the Chicagoland area. Despite Chicago’s density of buildings and need for space, the course and its surrounding fields have been maintained since its completion in 1932. Ed Rasmussen, General Manager of the course and Regional Director of Golf for Chicago Park District golf courses, spoke about the course’s unique qualities.
“This location specifically is unbelievable. To be able to be right on the lake in the real estate of where it is, in one of the most densely populated areas with all the high rises right across the street- it’s wild to me,” he said. “It’s an unusual thing to have- not just in the city, but in the actual heart of the city.”
The course not only allows for golfers in Chicago to avoid having to travel to the suburbs to play, but also meet other locals from around the city. Matt McIntee, Senior Regional Vice President of Troon Golf, the company which manages Chicago Park District golf courses, spoke about the kind of space the course has become for golfers.
“It’s not just recreation, it’s socialization. I think of the things that I bristle at as a longtime city resident is that I don’t get enough open space outdoors,” he explained. “It was really highlighted during the pandemic, how fantastic [golf] is. You can do just about everything. You can have fun, you can get exercise, you can socialize. I think that means a huge amount to the communities.”
Sam Flemmer, 26, has been a resident of Chicago since 2019 and had just finished playing before commenting on the course.
“It’s just nice to have green space. I feel like I, living in a small apartment, don’t get out and enjoy nature that much,” he said. “So having something so close by is nice during the summer, to get out here is convenient and you actually see grass and birds and animals.”
Jack Talaga, 26, grew up in the Northwest Suburbs of Chicago before moving downtown in 2019. He played alongside Sam and one of their friends at the course.
“I mean, if you’re trying to really play, this is at least a third of the distance from everywhere else,” he said. “And it’s longer than a lot of Chicago Park District courses, so it makes it a little more challenging.”
The cost for playing at the course is around $30, which many of the golfers who commented on the course praised. For tourists, the course is a unique place to play golf in a city densely surrounded by high-rises and skyscrapers. For many locals, it’s a convenient and affordable course to get out of their apartments and into the fresh air.