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Len Ziehm On Golf

It’s Show-time, not snow time, for Chicago’s golfers

This weekend’s 32nd annual Chicago Golf Show will be highlighted by Lee Trevino’s two appearances on Saturday, but much more will be going on than that during the event’s three-day run at the Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont.

Winner of six major championships and 29 tournaments on the PGA Tour, Trevino will be joined by Australian David Graham on the main stage at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday. Graham, winner of the 1979 PGA Championship and 1981 U.S. Open, will be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame this summer.

Their appearances will be sandwiched in between an array of teaching seminars and booths manned by resorts, courses and golf organizations from around the country. Even with snow on the ground, the Chicago Golf Show has become the unofficial start to the Chicago season, and the first 1,000 attendees each day will receive ticket vouchers for July’s Encompass Championship — the annual Champions Tour event at North Shore Country Club in Glenview.

The Illinois PGA has always played a major role in the Show, and this year its role has expanded with the creation of the IPGA Village where instruction will be the focus.

For Michael Miller, the IPGA executive director, it’ll also be the time to announce major changes for this summer’s Illinois Open. The IPGA has long been looking for ways to expand the premier tournament for Illinois residents, and Miller will remain mum on the subject until Friday’s show-starting luncheon.

Miller had a busy few months since most of the courses called it a season in November. He had to hire a new tournament director after Jared Nowak opted to leave the golf industry following a five-year stint on the job. His replacement will be Robert Duke, who had been running the junior programs for the Northern California Golf Assn.

Though the site of the Illinois Open remains a mystery, the IPGA did announce the move of one of its other four major tournaments. October’s IPGA Players Championship will return to Eagle Ridge, in Galena. It had been held the last two years at Metamora Fields.

In addition, three of the best-established area club professionals — Jim Holmes at Ravinia Green in Riverwoods, Bruce Carson of Onwentsia in Lake Forest and Paul Colton at Chicago’s Ridgemoor – announced their retirements. Holmes was the IPGA’s Professional of the Year in 2014.

Their departures triggered an unusually large transition within the IPGA ranks, with at least 12 new head professionals taking over pro shops in 2015. Nick Papadakes moved from Old Elm in Highland Park to replace Carson and John Warkentien, who had been an assistant at Crooked Stick, replaced Holmes. Among the other newly-named head pros were David Fazio, at Eaglewood in Itasca; Phillip Lenz, at Bartlett Hills; Jason Mannina, at Deerfield; and Joshua Weaver, at Deerpath in Lake Forest.

Additionally, two of the top players in the IPGA ranks, Frank Hohenadel and Rich Dukelow, changed jobs as assistant pros. Hohenadel left Midlothian for Westmoreland, in Wilmette, and Dukelow shifted from Cantigny, in Wheaton, to Medinah.

The Chicago District Golf Assn. will also have a significant presence at the Show. The CDGA will hold a putting contest in conjunction with its membership drive and will announce its Member Days schedule on Sunday. It’ll include new stops at Lost Dunes in Michigan and Flossmoor Country Club.

Show hours are noon to 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.