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Len Ziehm On Golf

KemperSports ready to take charge at Cantigny

February is again show-time for Chicago golfers. The third annual Tinley Park Golf Expo begins a three-day run on Friday (FEB 7) at the Tinley Park Convention Center and the 31st Chicago Golf Show takes over the Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont on Feb. 21 for a similar three-day run.

In the meantime, though, there has been a lot going on within the Chicago golf scene even during these extraordinary winter months. Most notable is a management change at Cantigny, the well-regarded 27-hole facility in Wheaton

Northbrook-based KemperSports will take on management duties in mid-February, leading in to Cantigny 25th anniversary season. Cantigny becomes the 16th Chicago golf facility under the management of KemperSports.

The takeover triggers the start of a bus year for Cantigny. The facility will host the Illinois State Amateur for the fourth time and also welcome the Chicago Open for the second straight year.

Changes in the pro shop

Dick Wagley, named the Illinois PGA Professional of the Year in 2013, has announced his retirement at Indian Hill in Winnetka and Jay Casaletto, the head professional at Royal Melbourne in Long Grove, decided to leave the golf business.

Their departures at two of the area’s most prominent private clubs led to replacements being named at both places. Wes Warren replaces Wagley and Brad McMillan takes over at Royal Melbourne. Neither are newcomers to Chicago golf.

Warren spent the last nine seasons as head professional at North Shore Country Club in Mequon, Wis., but he was an assistant at Onwentsia in Lake Forest form 1999-2003 and Indian Hill (2004) before moving to Wisconsin.

McMillan was named director of golf at Royal Melbourne. He had been general manager at Turnberry, in Lakewood, from 2010-13.

Riverside, Evanston selected

The Western Golf Assn. has picked host clubs for two of its upcoming Junior championships. The Western Junior will be held at Riverside, in North Riverside, in 2015 and Evanston Golf Club, in Skokie, in 2018.

Flossmoor will host this year, from June 16-20, and Rich Harvest Farms, in Sugar Grove, will be the site in 2017. The WGA hasn’t named a site for the 2016 Western Junior yet.

Riverside and Evanston will host the prestigious tourney for the first time. Both were among the 11 charter members of the WGA when it was established in 1899. Only seven of the charter clubs still exist.

Remember Packard

Larry Packard, a long-time Chicago course designer and former president of the American Society of Golf Course Architects, has died in Tarpon Springs, FL. He was 101.

Packard’s Chicago creations include Palatine Hills, Lake Barrington Shores, Elgin Country Club and Silve Lake in Orland Park. His work nation-wide was highlighted by the Copperhead course at Innisbrook Resort in Florida, where he resided in recent years.

Copperhead has been a PGA Tour site, as home of the the event known in various years as the Tampa Bay Championship, Transitions Championship and – this year – the Valspar Championship. Wheaton’s Kevin Streelman won his first PGA title at the tourney last year.

Packard’s son Roger is also a course architect. His most prominent design is Cantigny, in Wheaton.