By Dee Longfellow

For The Elmhurst Independent

Piacenza designs ‘Hole 9 Yards’
Pictured here is Donna Piacenza, who designed Hole #9, a Par 3 hole entitled, “Hole 9 Yards.” She used yardsticks for the “9 yards” and, with sustainability in mind, the yardsticks will be used in three Elmhurst gardens after the exhibition has concluded.

They call it an exhibition where recreation and art collide. It’s Par Excellence Redux: The Back 9, the second phase of the previous Par Excellence Redux: The Front 9, that recently closed to make room for the follow-up exhibit, which is now on view. It opened Wednesday, Oct. 13 and will continue through Jan. 2, 2022. 

The art exhibition is a fully-playable 9-hole golf course designed by artists and architects from throughout the Midwest and beyond. It pays homage to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s popular 1988 exhibition, Par Excellence.

The Independent was privileged to be invited to a media preview on Wednesday, Oct. 13, where not only the exhibition was on display, but also many of the artists were available to explain their particular contributions.

Meeting the artist of ‘Hole 9 Yards’

Among those on hand for conversation was Donna Piacenza, who designed Hole #9, a Par 3 hole titled, “Hole 9 Yards.”

“I wanted to use something common and everyday and to keep sustainability in mind,” Piacenza told the Independent in an exclusive interview. “I took used yardsticks—nine of them to create the obstacle—then the yardsticks will be used in three local Elmhurst community gardens after the exhibit is dismantled.”

Piacenza holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Product Design from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana and has spent most of her career in furniture and lighting design. 

The nine painted yardsticks create colorful pathways and obstacles for the golfer, who will have to calculate the path that leads to a hole-in-one. The sign by the 9th hole shows how the yardsticks will be used in the future.

Soiree 2021: Par-Tee coming Oct. 23

Meanwhile, there are special events coming to the Elmhurst Art Museum to celebrate the exhibition and provide visitors with the opportunity to try their hand at the course.

On Saturday, Oct. 23 from 6 p.m. to midnight, Soiree 2021: Par-Tee at the Museum will take place. This golf-themed fundraiser features a cocktail reception, multi-course dinner, auctions with fabulous prizes, and evening miniature golf. Limited tickets will be available. Funds raised during this event will support an expansion of education programs during the museum’s 25th anniversary in 2022.

Other coming events

Other upcoming events include a Thanksgiving Food Drive from Nov. 1-7, when the Museum will hold its first-ever food drive to benefit the Elmhurst-Yorkfield Food Pantry, an organization dedicated to providing food, compassion, and hope to its neighbors and children in need. All individuals who bring two or more pantry items will receive a coupon for a discounted tee time valid for a ‘Tee-rific Thank You Night’ on Friday, Nov. 12. 

In December, the Museum plans an “Ugly Sweater Night” on Friday, Dec. 10 from 5-9 p.m. Then on Saturday, Dec. 18 from 1-4 p.m., there will be a Family Holiday Party to celebrate the holidays with a “ho-ho-hole in one.” In addition to playing mini golf, families can visit the special holiday display in the Museum’s historic McCormick House, enjoy hot cocoa, cookies, and hands-on art activities, along with a visit from Santa at 2 p.m.

The Museum will be open Wednesday and Thursday from 12-5 p.m.; Friday through Sunday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; and every second Friday of the month from 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Golf prices are $10 for adults (ages 16 and over), $8 for seniors, $5 for children ages 5-15, and free for kiddies younger than 5. For more information, call 630-834-0202 or visit


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