Midwest Golf HouseIn its origin, the Chicago District Golf Association offices were housed in downtown Chicago. In the late 1970s, the organization made the move to suburban Oak Brook, however, by 1998, after nearly 20 years of residency in Oak Brook, the CDGA began to look for a new home. It was during a meeting in 1998 between CDGA personnel, Frank Jemsek and Nick Mokelke of Cog Hill, that the seeds were planted for the Midwest Golf House. After a $1.4 million land donation by the Jemsek family (owners of Cog Hill), planning and fundraising for the 22,000 square foot facility began. Throughout the duration of the project, nearly $5 million in funds was raised by the CDGA Foundation in a campaign dubbed “Sunshine Through Golf” (which was later made the Foundation’s moniker).
In conceptualizing the project, architects drew from visits to the Golf House, a United States Golf Association (USGA) facility in New Jersey, as well as the Metropolitan Golf Association headquarters in New York. A ceremonial groundbreaking was held in conjunction with the 2000 Western Open, with construction beginning that August. The Midwest Golf House opened for operation on April 16, 2001, and had more than 300 people attend its formal dedication on June 3.
The Midwest Golf House currently houses the offices of the CDGA, the CDGA Foundation, Illinois Junior Golf Association, as well as providing office space to other allied associations, including the Midwest Association of Golf Course Superintendents, USGA and The First Tee. In addition to the administrative offices, the 100-seat Michael Keiser/Jerry Rich Education Center, a museum/library, state of the art turfgrass research facility and the Three-Hole Sunshine Course also reside in the 15-acre complex.
The construction of the facility would not have been possible without the tireless work of volunteers to help raise funds for the project. To honor the financial contributions of the donors, a donor wall was created in the lobby to commemorate their assistance in the creation of the facility.
Three-Hole Sunshine CourseConstructed in 2002 by Brent Wadsworth Construction Co., the Three-Hole Sunshine Course serves the needs of the CDGA Foundation and its educational clinics. The course feature three par-3 holes with varying tee boxes, allowing golfers of all skill levels to play. ILT Vignocchi served as the landscape architect for the course.
Adjacent to the course is the I*Mag*Jen Clubhouse, a 1,100 square foot facility designed by Midwest Golf House designer Rob Walker of Otis Koglin & Wilson. The multipurpose building is full furnished, including a common area, office, restrooms, and a covered porch. In addition to those amenities, the facility is fully-handicap accessible.
Each year, hundreds of players hit the links with the assistance of the CDGA Foundation, which aims to bring the game to veterans, juniors, individuals with physical and mental challenges, and the economically disadvantaged. For more information on the CDGA Foundation or to schedule a round on the Three-Hole Sunshine Course, contact Alex Nolly, Director of Foundation Administration.
Sunshine Course Resources* CDGAFoundation.org: Website for the CDGA Foundation
* The Foundation’s Home: "Rays of Hope" article on the Sunshine Course
* Sunshine Course Dedication: 2004 Chicago District Golfer article on the Sunshine Course’s opening