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S19 Episode 04: Spotlight on Golf


Golfer Jon Lee and his daughter, Abby, tell how golfing enriched their lives this summer during the pandemic. Director of Golf Kevin Carlson reflects on the growth of golf at Naperville Park District's two courses and the challenges of operating during COVID-19.

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Quotes from the episode: “Abby mentioned having something to look forward to every week and getting out and being together. There’s something about being on the golf course that takes you away from your everyday activities, you can talk about concerns, fun things, whatever. With Abby and I, one of the things we talk about is golf as this metaphor for life. You get good breaks in golf, you get bad breaks in golf; you just have to keep moving ahead and try to forget about what just happened and focus on the thing that’s in front of you. We’ve been able to spend some good time together that the pandemic kind of created because it wasn’t a natural thing we were thinking of doing, with all of the other activities that Abby normally has. She plays softball, volleyball, and basketball. But when those things were taken away, this (golfing) became an opportunity and we were able to see how much fun it is.” –Jon Lee

“It’s been an extraordinary year, a bit of a rollercoaster you could say. This summer we averaged a 20% increase in rounds versus last year. If you look back in the spring when we were sitting in lockdown, and if you would have told me that we would see this in the summer, I would have thought you were crazy. But after slowly ramping up in May, and then to summer, when restrictions lifted, we were full from dawn to dusk. People were looking for opportunities to get out. The tee times filled up, the driving ranges were full, our lesson programs have been very popular this year, and our tournaments have had big numbers.” – Kevin Carlson

Abby and Jon at Springbrook Golf Course. Photo courtesy of the Lee family.

Kevin Carlson, Director of Golf 

Springbrook and Naperbrook Golf Courses

Naperville Park District owns and operates two public golf courses, Springbrook Golf Course and Naperbrook Golf Course. Springbrook Golf Course is an 18-hole championship course with a natural turf driving range, two practice putting greens and a short game practice green with bunkers. Naperbrook Golf Course is a “links-style” course, with a ten-acre driving range, separate lesson tee and 10,000 and 3,000 square foot practice putting greens.


Bunker shot at Springbrook Golf Course


Driving range at Naperbrook Golf Course

Both courses will remain open as long as weather conditions allow. The final scheduled event for 2020 is the annual Turkey Shoot tournament on November 21 and 22 at both courses. Registration will open online on November 14 at 8:00 a.m. Naperbrook and Springbrook will host two separate “Cross Country Turkey Shoots.” Each event will consist of a field of up to ninety players, a total of eighteen fivesome teams.


Golfers enjoy the annual Turkey Shoot no matter what the weather. Photo from 2018.

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On Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2011 Naperville Park District officials heard the good news for which they have been waiting for many months: the District has achieved national accreditation through the National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA).

The decision was announced at the NRPA national conference in Atlanta following a formal hearing before the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA).

Naperville is only the second park district in Illinois to earn this distinction and the 104th nationally accredited agency in the nation; there are more than 10,000 recreation agencies in the United States. The Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies accredits a handful of park agencies each year that have completed a multi-step process involving a self-review by the agency, a site visit, and an evaluation and formal report by the Commission.

“We are extremely proud to bring this honor to Naperville,” said Park District Executive Director Ray McGury. “It’s an affirmation of our high standards and also an encouragement to continue bringing high quality recreation and parks experiences to our community.”

The Park District’s accreditation process began approximately one year ago and included an extensive self-evaluation by staff and a 5-day visit from CAPRA reviewers this past July. Maintaining the accreditation requires annual reports and 5- and 10-year reviews.

Park District staff members noted that the CAPRA process has helped them see the big picture, focus on long term goals and plans, review plans more regularly, organize documents so that they are accessible and useable, and collaborate more effectively with other departments and outside organizations.

Our Mission
We provide recreation and park experiences that promote healthy lives, healthy minds and a healthy community.
Our Vision
To be a national leader in parks and recreation providing and promoting high quality experiences and facilities at a great value to our community.
Core Values
Health and Wellness, Environmental Education, Stewardship and Sustainability, Community Enrichment, Public Safety, Accessibility, Personal Growth and Enrichment.
© 2021 Naperville Park District