Weather notwithstanding, you know the local golf season can’t be far away when the Chicago Golf Show is on the horizon.
The show started on a small scale 33 years ago, an experimental venture by the Illinois PGA at Harper College in Palatine. It has grown into the largest consumer golf show in the country. About 300 exhibitors and 20,000 visitors are expected to attend the Friday-Sunday event at the Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont
While the smaller Tinley Park Golf Expo celebrated its fifth anniversary two weeks ago, the Chicago Golf Show remains the big one for local players anxious to start the season. This year’s show will feature its first-ever exhibition by popular local trick shot specialist Peter Longo, dubbed the “King of Clubs.’’
Three members of the 1985 Super Bowl champion Bears – Emery Moorehead, Mike Richardson and Jim Morrissey – will celebrate the 30th anniversary of their championship season by taking lessons from IPGA professionals Kevin Weeks, Brad Syslo and Kurt Kollmeyer. Moorehead will get his public lesson on Friday, Richardson on Saturday and Morrissey on Sunday.
Exhibitors include local courses and organizations, equipment and fashion manufacturers and travel destinations. Show hours are noon-7 p.m. on Friday (FEB 26), 9:30 a.m.-6 p.m. on Saturday (FEB 27) and (9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. on Sunday (FEB 28).
Adult tickets are $5 on Friday and $10 on Saturday and Sunday. Youngsters under 12 will be admitted free and those 12-15 will get in for $4. Show attendees will also get coupons for free rounds from GolfVisions, which operates 16 area courses.
Though the courses have been basically closed since last fall, the Chicago golf community has not been idle during the winter, and tournament play isn’t far off. Carrie Williams, starting her first full season as executive director of the Illinois PGA, used Chicago Golf Show Week to make her first major announcement – the return of the Illinois Open to Royal Fox in St. Charles.
Royal Fox will host the tourney for the eighth time; only The Glen Club, in Glenview, has hosted the premier event for Illinois golfers more times. The Illinois Open has been played at The Glen nine times. Royal Fox will co-host with St. Charles neighbor Royal Hawk from July 25-27.
The Illinois Open will have seven state-wide qualifying rounds in June to determine 258 finalists. It’ll mark the second year for an expanded field and two-course format for the 54-hole finals. All qualifiers will play both courses in the first two rounds, and those who survive the cut will battle over Royal Fox in the final round.
The Illinois PGA will begin its tournament season on April 11. Its full schedule will be announced this week and registration will open on the section’s website on March 1. and The Chicago District Golf Assn. campaign will tee off on April 27.
While the only Western Golf Assn. tournament for this season in the Chicago area will be the Western Amateur, to be played at Knollwood Club in Lake Forest from Aug. 1-6, there are two new professional tour events on the calendar — the Web.com’s Rust-Oleum Championship at Ivanhoe from June 9-12 and the Ladies PGA UL International Crown, at Libertyville’s Merit Club from July 19-24.
The CDGA has created a major new addition to its schedule – an Individual Net Series for players with established handicaps. It’ll include four Better Ball of Pairs events and two Individual Net competitions, all to be played between May 23 and Sept. 13.
New IPGA head professionals have been named at several clubs. They include Daniel Behr, at Ravinia Green in Riverwoods; Dan Kochevar, at Carriage Greens in Darien; Nathan Perry at Aurora Country Club; Luan Ramadani, at Joliet Country Club; Chad Robbins at Arrowhead, in Wheaton; Andrew Stevens, at Calumet Country Club, in Homewood; and Shane Stuart, at Silver Ridge, in Oregon, IL.
Cog Hill, the premier public facility, has announced the creation of a new tournament that is planned as an annual attraction. The Cog Hill Amateur will be played May 21-22 on the Nos. 2 and 4 courses at the 72-hole Lemont facility. Entries will be limited to the first 100 applicants and the top 72 after 36 holes will qualify for the championship flight.
Both Cog Hill and Cantigny, in Wheaton, have announced starting dates for major teaching programs. Cantigny will kick off a new six-week course on fitness training for golfers on March 3 and the Golf Academy schools at Cog will begin on March 19.