Chicago Golf Show has more exhibitors than ever before

Carrie Williams, the executive director of the Illinois PGA, calls the Chicago Golf Show “the unofficial start of the Chicago golf season.’’ Maybe it should be designated as the official start, based on the wide range of participants in the three-day event that tees off on Friday at the Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont.

This year’s 37th staging of the show will have more than 400 exhibit boots, the most in the event’s history.

While the celebrities featured on the Daily Herald Main Stage are mainly present or former football stars – Robbie Gould, Patrick Mannelly, Jay Hilgenberg, Emery Moorehead and Otis Wilson – World Long drive competitor Steve Kois of Wheaton will be there, too.

Attendees will again receive free golf rounds at the 14 area courses operated by GolfVisions. It’s the 11th year that GolfVisions president Tim Miles has offed that incentive to attend the show, and the Illinois PGA will have 60 of its professionals on hand to provide swing and putting lessons. Indiana’s French Lick Resort returns as the show’s presenting sponsor.

Show hours are noon-7 p.m. on Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are $6 on Friday and $11 on Saturday and Sunday. Youth 12-15 can get in for $4 on all three days and those 11 and under are free.

Two Jemsek courses get Open locals

The U.S. Golf Association has announced 109 sites for U.S. Open local qualifying, and four are in Illinois. Both facilities owned and operated by the Jemsek family were included. The Dubsdread course, at Cog Hill in Lemont, with host on May 4 and Pine Meadow, in Mundelein, on May 11.

Other Illinois locals are at Spencer T. Olin, in Alton, on May 4 and Illini Country Club, in Springfield, on May 11. Illini will host a local for the 42nd consecutive year. Sites haven’t been announced for the sectional qualifiers, which will send survivors directly to the U.S. Open proper at New York’s Winged Foot course from June 18-21.

BMW tourney update

The Western Golf Association has announced its BMW Championship will be headed out of town in 2021 after this year’s event is played in August at Olympia Fields. Cave’s Valley, in the Baltimore suburb of Owings Springs, Md., will host the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup Playoff event from Aug. 17-22 in 2021.

The tournament rotated in and out of Chicago since 2007 with Medinah hosting last year. The event was set for Olympia Fields – which meant back-to-back Chicago stages — when contract negotiations with the auto manufacturer were stalled temporarily.

The WGA also announced sites for two of its women’s championships in 2021, both of them at Chicago area private clubs. The Women’s Western Amateur will be at Park Ridge and the Women’s Western Junior at Aurora.

Here and there

Wheaton’s Kevin Streelman has been named to the 2020 PGA Player Advisory Board.

Jordan Abel-Haq has resigned as executive director of the Illinois Junior Golf Association to become a loan officer for Chicago’s Homeside Financial. He was with the IJGA for nearly 10 years, the last four as executive director.

Joliet Country Club, one of the oldest golf facilities in the Chicago area, is apparently headed for redevelopment. Joliet operated as a private club for 114 years before going public and being renamed Joliet Golf Club last July.

Cog Hill has started a Senior Club for players 60 and over. A $35 membership fee will give players a reduced rate Monday through Thursday on the Nos. 1 and 3 courses, which are open year-around.

Vince Juarez, general manager at Deerpath, in Lake Forest, and T.J. Sullivan, director of instruction at Golf-Tec Oak Brook, have earned Master Professional status from the PGA of America.