Rosemont show is `unofficial’ start to Chicago golf season

Carrie Williams, the executive director of the Illinois PGA, has no problem calling this week’s 39th annual Chicago Golf Show “the unofficial kickoff to the Chicago golf season.’’ That is what it has become for more than three decades.

The annual mid-winter event begins its three-day run on Friday (FEB 23) at the Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont. All the major Chicago golf organizations are involved with the Chicago District Golf Association expanding its role in its third year as the event’s presenting sponsor.

Attendees will be greeted by a panoramic view of a new CDGA Town Square that will cover 11,000 square feet and encompass, among other things. two side-by-side Longest Putt competitions.

The CDGA is also partnering with Best Hole-in-One to present a new Break the Glass Challenge in the new club Demo Day area.  Attendees will also be offered a free round of golf courtesy of GolfVisions, which operates 14 area courses.

Show hours are noon-6 p.m. on Friday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m.-4 p.m. on Sunday.  Adult admission is $7 on Friday and $12 on the weekend days. For youth 12-15 it’s $4 all days and those under 11 will be admitted free.

CHAMPIONS TOUR: Batavia-based club manufacturer Tour Edge is lamenting the Achilles injury that sidelined its prime ambassador, Bernhard Langer.  Langer was set to defend his title in the Chubb Classic, a Florida event in which he tied Hale Irwin’s record PGA Tour Champions 45 victories in 2023.

Langer, 66, took sole possession of the record by winning last year’s U.S. Senior Open and had announced plans to make his last appearance at the Masters a few days before the injury sidelined him indefinitely.

The Chubb event was shortened from 54 to 36 holes when rain deluged the Tiburon course in Naples last Sunday. Stephen Ames was declared the champion after the course was deemed unplayable

Finishing in a tie for second was Mark Hensby, who has a sterling record in Illinois. He won the Illinois State Amateur in 1994, the Illinois Open in 1996 and the John Deere Classic in 2004.

HERE AND THERE: Illinois will again be limited to three local qualifiers for the men’s U.S. Open but berths in the finals of the U.S. Women’s Open will be on the line at Briarwood, in Deerfield, on May 13. That’s the first of 13 non-local qualifiers for U.S. Golf Assn. championships to be conducted by the CDGA this year.

Pine Meadow, in Mundelein, hosted successful Illinois PGA Super Senior championships for men in recent years.  Now Pine Meadow will hold one for women Aug. 27-28.  It’ll be conducted in age-based flights – 60-64, 65-69, 70-74 and 75 and over.

Jeff Kawucha, who had been at Oak Brook Golf Club, is now the head professional at The Preserve at Oak Meadows in Addison.