Construction is underway at Sunset Valley Golf Club for the new Youth Golf Development Center. Over $200,000 in donations were raised by the Parks Foundation of Highland Park since 2018 to cover the design and construction costs of this state-of-the-art facility. The new Center will feature:
The new Center will be located adjacent to the Sunset Valley Golf course. It will be used primarily for short game youth golf instruction by the Sunset Valley professional staff and for practice by Sunset Valley golfers when not in use for teaching. The projected opening for the new Center is Spring 2021.
The Sunset Valley Youth Golf Development Center is the Parks Foundation of Highland Park’s first capital project since its founding in 2016. The Parks Foundation spearheaded several fundraising initiatives for the Center and also received a significant donation from Highland Park resident and Illinois Amateur Golf Hall of Famer Joel Hirsch as well as a $50,000 grant from the Wadsworth Foundation to fund the project.
Sunset Valley’s new state-of-the-art Center will be a welcoming high-quality environment where young people can learn discipline, fairness, and patience by practicing the game of golf. There is no better place for young golfers to discover the social and cultural lessons of golf than to be part of the experience. At the new Center, young players will have the opportunity to learn and improve their game and sports etiquette within the broader environment of the award-winning Sunset Valley Golf Course among seasoned players and professionals.
The Center will be located on an approximately one-acre plot of land adjacent to the new Sunset Valley golf course. It is intended to carry on the club’s tradition of being the primary community center for future generations to learn and love the game. This unique facility, typically only seen at private clubs and learning centers, will be Highland Park’s and the surrounding communities’ primary Center for youth golf instruction and skill development in the fundamentals of the short game –the most critical golf skills.
Young golfers will be able to practice shots up to 50 yards from fairways, rough areas and bunkers with the feel and aesthetic of a real golf course. Hitting bases for long shot practice will also be featured at the Center. When not used for its primary purpose: youth golf instruction, the Center will also serve as a practice facility for all Sunset Valley’s golfers. Group and private lessons, as well as summer camps, will take place at the Center. The Highland Park High School Girls and Boys Golf Teams, IJGA tournament players, PGA Junior Leagues, and Sunset Valley players will also have access to the Center when not used for instruction. Sunset Valley is a participating course of the CDGA “Youth on Course” program and the club’s “Kids Play Free after 5 pm with a paid adult” program ensuring the new Youth Development Center will be fully utilized throughout each golf season.
For 100 years, Sunset Valley Golf Course has been a valued part of the Highland Park community. Generations of residents learned to play golf at Sunset, including Illinois Amateur Hall of Famer Joel Hirsch and newcomer to the PGA tour Patrick Flavin. The course is also home to the high school golf teams. In August 2018, the Park District of Highland Park reopened Sunset, following an extensive $7 million renovation that took 18 months. The new Sunset Valley accommodates every level of golfer. It is an open British Heathlands course design that reflects the character and aesthetics of a 1920’s era golf course. The project included the renovation of all tees, fairways, greens, bunkers, and infrastructure, drainage, and storm water management.
The Parks Foundation of Highland Park is dedicated to the belief that every resident deserves the opportunity for an enriched, healthy lifestyle. The Foundation supports and enhances the Park District of Highland Park’s exceptional facilities and provides resources to ensure that all community members are able to participate in Park District programs. The Parks Foundation of Highland Park is an independent, community-led, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. For more information, visit https://pfhpil.org.
Photograph: (front row, left to right) Highland Park High School Golf Team players: Emilia Schwank, Ally Kovitz, Ben Shanberg, David Aloush. (second row, left to right) Ryan Ochs, general manager of Sunset Valley Golf Club; Brian Romes, executive director of the Park District of Highland Park; Rick Jacobson, president of Jacobson Golf Course Design; Joel Hirsch, Illinois Amateur Golf Hall of Famer; Bob Bernstein, president of the Parks Foundation of Highland Park; Brian Kaplan, commissioner of the Park District of Highland Park; Greg Korneta, project manager from Wadsworth Golf Construction; Cole Sangern, facility supervisor for the Sunset Valley Golf Club; Paul Harris, head varsity golf coach from Highland Park High School.