The Evanston Wilmette Golf Course Association is asking taxpayers to pick up the tab for watering the course along the North Shore Channel.

Alderman Jane Grover.

The Evanston Wilmette Golf Course Association is asking taxpayers to pick up the tab for watering the course along the North Shore Channel.

The association, which owes over $14,000 to the city for unpaid water bills from the past two years, told aldermen this week that despite efforts to improve course management and operations over the past year, it sees no way to be able to pay its water bills going forward.

The group says it is hoping to come up with additional revenue sources through memberships and grants and also expand the number of volunteers working on the course.

And it argues that the association’s maintenance of the golf course saves the city money, compared to having the city maintain the park land itself.

It also argues that the city generates revenue from fees it charges for the city golf program at the Chandler Center that uses the course, but the association doesn’t get a share of that revenue.

Alderman Jane Grover, whose 7th Ward includes much of the course, said she believes the golf course is “the highest and best use for that property.”

But she said she wanted to see a balance sheet for the association that would show its operating expenses and revenue — including revenue received from football game spectators who park on the course.

City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz said he hoped to get direction from the City Council soon about what to do regarding the water bills and said he’d return to the Human Services Committee with more information for a further discussion at the committee’s April meeting.

Related document

Golf association memo to city (.pdf)

Related stories

Golf course water deal approved

Game day parking on golf course expanded

Golf course gets breather on water bill

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. Golf course unconscionable use of water

    My opinion is that no golf course anywhere should be allowed to use any water that is not provided by rainfall.  Water used in this way is a waste of energy and natural resource. During dry spells let the grass dry out.

  2. Why I probably won’t go back other than to tailgate for football

    The golf course convenient and is a good value for bad golfers, like my wife and me. I played it once and have no plans of going back because (i) a bunch of idiots just walked across the thing all the time, noses in held high in a true North Shore fashion, oblivious to the fact it was a golf course that someone was playing on and (ii) two different groups just walked on in front of us from the neighborhood and started playing. One of the groups even offered an expletitive when I pointed out that we were next on the tee. Wilmette should take its name out of this thing, it hurts the brand equity in the town. 

    I know it is hard for people running a People's Republik to understand, but a municipal owned golf course needs to act as an evil for profit business and exclude those who haven't paid greens fees from trespassing on the course. 

  3. What golf staff already fails at

    I constantly see golfers starting away from the 1st tee.  Clearly not paying ANY fee.  If the management won't have at least spot checks for fee tag, they don't deserve to even be considered for free water.

    What do they pay to the city anyway for use of the property ? Taxes ? Fees ?

    This is not a church or hospital that deserves exemptions.

  4. I’m ready with my watering can

    As a retiree who, though he doesn't golf, lives a block from the community golf course and welcomes productive exercise, I stand ready to walk over with my watering can and keep one square yard of the course watered on a regular basis (that's all my watering can could handle).

    If each Evanstonian will do this we can water 675,000 square feet and, if it rains, we take the week off and we can all take the winter off. It will be a great chance to meet the neighbors, exchange ideas on houseplants and compare watering cans.

    Tee shirts could be provided that say "Water one for the Golfer!"

    Who will join me?

    1. Fore!

      While you're out there with your silly water can, do I yell "fore!" as I hit my ball at you? 

      1. Courtesy and Respect please

        Please, a retiree wrote in on a public forum. 

        He talked about how the golf course contributes to his life.  

        I am sure you have more important things to do than mock seniors and talk about hitting them with golf balls.

        I think it is important to be considerate and kind to our elders, to the ones who have gone before and paved the way for us.



  5. What? Huh?

    Seems they are asking alot for very little in return. If you don't want the expense to maintain the land then hand the land over to the city. Why are you asking me to pay your water bill again? Really, I'm not getting it here.

    1. They think it is private property !

      Ever been jogging or even worse trying to cross the wood bridge over the canal north of Noyes ?

      The grounds crews yell  out that 'this is private property—keep out.'

  6. Pay bill or else

    The city should do what it does to any other citizen that doesn't pay their water bill.

    – add the amount due to the next water bill with a penalty added. If that is not paid

    – add more penalties to the next bill with a notice of turn-off.

    – turn off the water and add a turn-off charge and additional penalties.

    We are way past this point where this should have happened. As far as city owned golf courses in the area, Evanston's course is, by far, the worst and the worst maintained. Even Skokie's short par 3 is a better course.

    Either turn the place into a better 9 hole course or shut the place down.

  7. Are they kidding?

    Are they kidding? 

    If they can't pay their way, confiscate their property.

  8. Let’s Take Advantage of the Golf Course Default

    Having just paid my water bill, perhaps I am more sensitive than usual to the failure of the Evanston Wilmette Golf Course Association to pay its bill, and to its request that it be relieved of its contractual and civic obligation to do so.  So dumping on the Association would be not only easy, but cathartic. There may, however, be more important issues involved than spleen venting and, in any event,  I suspect that we are missing some relevant facts.
    Isn’t it true that the City of Evanston does not own the golf course property, that it leases the property from the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District? If so, is the failure of the City’s subtenant to pay its water bill a default under the City’s lease, and what are the consequences if it is? Are they financial or are there other problems?
    Next, Alderman Grover contends that the highest and best use of the property is for a golf course, but that “highest and best use” language is normally invoked for commercial real estate appraisals in connection with a sale. That approach may, but may not, be appropriate here. What uses are permitted under the City’s lease with MWRD?
    Could, for instance, the City by itself or with others reconfigure the property to more resemble and become an extension of the Ladd Arboretum, perhaps with separate pathways for walkers and bikers, and maybe even an access point for canoeists and kayakers?  Wouldn’t the property then be useable by more people for more activities at more times of the year, maybe even at a less annual maintenance cost after the reconfiguration?
    We can make fun of the EWGCA or take advantage of what may be an opportunity. What makes more sense for Evanston?

    1. Forward thinking

      This is the kind of foward thinking that we need more of. If the land gets converted to your suggested use, we would not have to worry about watering.

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