Jackson Park golf course history should be promoted, not erased

1899 was the first decade during which golf was played in more than a handful of places in the United States. Few courses from that era survive, and those that have often little resemble what they were at the start.

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Golfers play a round at Jackson Park Golf Course.

Golfers play a round at Jackson Park Golf Course.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

In the recent editorial that favored upgrading the Jackson Park golf course rather than replacing it, I was pleased to see its historical status cited. 1899 was the first decade during which golf was played in more than a handful of places in the United States. Few courses from that era survive, and those that have often little resemble what they were at the start. This historical aspect should be promoted, not erased.

The Wikipedia article about Jackson Park cites Col. B.J.D. Irwin, a local golfer and retired surgeon, for advocating free play at Jackson Park to make golf available to people of modest means at a time when almost all golf was played at private clubs. This important historical precedent should be honored.

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I suspect this contributed to the Chicago District being a competitive powerhouse in the early days of golf in the Midwest that produced two Chicago-area golfers, Charles E. “Chick” Evans and Robert Gardner, who collected five national championships between 1909 and 1920 when American golf was otherwise dominated by eastern golfers.

The proposed new course sounds like a dismissal of Col. Irwin’s concept in favor of a trophy facility that the high and mighty can point to. I can play a cookie-cutter modern course any time. I’ll have the time-travel, please, with a side order of better course maintenance.

Curt Fredrikson, secretary, Golf Heritage Society, Mokena

A reminder about a progressive state income tax

Ken Griffin, formerly Illinois’ richest resident, spent approximately $50 million to help defeat the Fair Tax Amendment, which proposed a progressive state income tax that would have lessened the tax burden for all wage earners except those in the top 1%.

Griffin’s real estate holdings in Illinois include one condo valued at $13.5 million, another condo at $15.75 million and two condos for which he paid $13.3 million and $58.75 million. Perhaps this information will remind readers why a fair, progressive income tax is still needed in Illinois.

The good news for Griffin is without the sale of any of these properties, he still has the wherewithal to build his mother a 21,433-square-foot-home and a 7,133-square-foot guest house on an 11.5-acre waterfront estate in Palm Beach. The current tax laws have been a big help to him and other billionaires, but not so much for everyone else.

Addison Woodward, Gold Coast

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