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Philanthropy is in the DNA of Lake Forest residents. We have long promoted public-private partnerships as a way to improve various aspects of our community: Ragdale, Market Square, Forest Park, Elawa Farm, and Gorton Community Center have all benefited by the generosity of our residents. Now it’s time to improve Deerpath Golf Course using this same, proven strategy.
In fact, Deerpath Golf Course grew out of the philanthropy of local residents. In 1922 A.B. Dick, an avid golfer and visionary, gave a parcel of his farm property to the City of Lake Forest. He was joined by a number of other residents, including Noble Judah and John Griffith. These men and others agreed with Mayor Henry Rumsey that a community of Lake Forest’s stature deserved a first rate public golf course. It should be noted that a restriction was placed on the gift, ensuring that the property be used by the city in perpetuity for recreation purposes only. In 1926 the first nine holes, designed by Alex Pirie, the club professional at the Old Elm Golf Club, were ready for play. To complete the course, in 1929 voters approved a referendum to expand the course to 18 holes and in 1932 the clubhouse was built.
Deerpath Golf Course has been enjoyed by multiple generations since its founding and the community assumed that the golf course would always be with us. However, in about 2007 the Course ended its recent period of self-sufficiency and new funding models had to be employed to keep it going. The course managed on reserves for several years and then the City began subsidizing the course through the Parks and Recreation Department. Hiring KemperSports Management in 2012 helped add efficiency to the operation but at the same time the course was getting older and it was clear that course improvements were necessary if it was to continue to attract Lake Forest residents as well as other members of the public.
Because other public-private partnerships have been so successful in this community, we decided that this valued legacy amenity should be next in line for support. Lohmann Golf Design helped determine the needed projects for the course and the City committed $1.2 million to support improvements including extensive club house renovations, an expanded terrace and landscaping, tree removal and other work on the course itself. This project hopes to raise $2 million in private funds which will be used to improve drainage, improve course restroom facilities, expand the driving range, create a new short game practice area, upgrade the cart fleet and build a new cart barn.
We are heartened by the excitement in the community with the improvements already undertaken and the belief that DPGC is well worth additional investment. We have a strong team on staff at DPGC and our junior program is absolutely thriving. Our regular players, many of whom have played Deerpath for decades, are thrilled that the club they love will be even more welcoming and we feel certain that an improved course will draw additional non-resident players.
Your participation in this project is deeply appreciated! The pledge period for gifts extends to December 31, 2020 so a multi-year payment plan is an option. All gifts over $1000 will be noted on a donor board in the Clubhouse. There are naming opportunities at the level of $100,000 and above. Checks to the Friends of Lake Forest Parks and Recreation, may be mailed to Deerpath Golf Course, 400 Hastings Rd, Lake Forest, IL 60045. Questions about this project can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Thank you for your support!