In Wheaton, Cantigny celebrates 30 years of golf excellence and growing the game.
To many, Cantigny Golf’s scenic and challenging 27 holes may appear to be well over three decades old. The layout has a mature look and feel, thanks to the stately oaks and hickories lining its lush fairways. Can it be only 30 years since Andy North struck the inaugural tee shot?
It’s true. Cantigny Golf was dedicated on June 5, 1989. Amid many spectators, a 9-hole exhibition match was played that day by North, the two-time U.S. Open champion, and three top amateurs from Illinois. Two of the latter were reigning 1988 high school champions—an early sign that youth would be well served at Cantigny Golf. (This year also marks the 20th anniversary of the 9-hole Cantigny Youth Links.)
In its January 1990 issue, Golf Digest named Cantigny Golf the “Best New Public Course in America.” The honor was a tribute to course architect Roger Packard and it put Cantigny on the map for golfers throughout the region. Glowing local press coverage also fueled demand for tee times.
The late 1980s and 1990s were a boom time for golf. The golf industry has slowed since then but Cantigny still ranks among the top courses in Chicagoland. This summer, July 16-18, Cantigny will host the Illinois State Amateur Championship for the fifth time. Spectators are welcome!
It’s important to know, however, that the McCormick Foundation has always positioned Cantigny Golf as more than a fine test of golf.
Managed by KemperSports since 2014, Cantigny believes in the game’s power to improve lives. For example, more than 800 local students have participated in Cantigny’s caddie program, and for some the experience is life changing. Sixteen Cantigny caddies have earned the prestigious Evans Scholarship.
In addition, more than 1,200 kids are introduced to “the game of a lifetime” every year through Cantigny’s junior golf clinics and Youth Links. Cantigny also partners with The First Tee of Greater Chicago and Illinois Junior Golf Association. Besides being fun, junior golf promotes camaraderie, character building, responsibility and sportsmanship. Cantigny instructors emphasize these values right along with proper swing technique and putting drills.
Reflecting the McCormick Foundation’s commitment to veterans, Cantigny Golf—through the free-to-join Cantigny Honor Club—offers special green fees and other benefits to veterans and active duty members of our armed services. It also supports organizations that assist veterans and children with special needs through donated facility use and staff time. Nonprofit partners include Revelation Golf, Sunshine Through Golf and Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital.
Finally, Cantigny Golf demonstrates a strong commitment to the environment. The 300-acre property is a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary, a status achieved through responsible land and water management, and with high-quality natural areas for wildlife.
Golf has changed a lot since Cantigny’s splashy debut 30 years ago. Check out the equipment and technology now offered at the Cantigny Golf Academy! But the traditions that define golf’s enduring greatness are intact and celebrated along Mack Road in Wheaton. For those who love the game, and those wishing to learn it, Cantigny awaits.