IT ZIEHMS TO ME: New bunkers have changed Kemper

Illinois PGA will have a different challenge if the section decides to keep its first major tourney of 2013 at Kemper Lakes.

The club, which hosted the 1989 PGA Championship, the 1992 U.S. Women’s Amateur and several Champions Tour stops before it became a private venue in 2009, has begun a renovation project.

Taking small steps at first, the club approved Libertyville architect Rick Jacobson’s plans to radically change the bunkering. The original course had 199,000 square feet of bunkers. When Jacobson’s work is done it’ll have 112,000. But the number of bunkers will probably increase from the present 63.

Kemper has a 10-year master plan, and Jacobson started with the green-side bunkers on the back nine. They’re smaller and deeper now, and that trend will continue when he takes on the front nine next fall. A fall round at the Long Grove layout revealed some eye-catching new looks, particularly at Nos.13, 15 and 16. Only temporary greens were in play – with the exception of the tight par-4 12th, which remained unchanged — after Genesis Golf construction company began work on Oct. 1.

In its public days Kemper hosted 24 consecutive Illinois PGA Championships. Since going private the club has cut back on outside tournament play, but it does host the IPGA Match Play Championship in April. If the tourney returns in 2013 its players will face nines with radically different sets of bunkers. Not only will the size and depth of the bunkers be different, but so will the sand. The white variety, so well-received at Knollwood during this season’s U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship, will be used in Kemper’s new bunkers.

Having such a lack consistency from one nine to the other is not ideal, but the IPGA might decide that keeping continuity at one of its favorite tournament sites overrides that.

A great fall for the Rosinias

In September Michael Rosinia won the boys 15-17 age competition in the Youth Skills Challenge, a Ryder Cup preliminary that drew over 3,000 entrants and concluded at Medinah the week before the U.S. and European pros went at it in their memorable team competition.

Two months later the IPGA announced that Billy Rosinia, long-time head professional at Flagg Creek in Countryside and Michael’s father, was its Senior Player-of-the-Year. He’ll pick up his prize at Medinah, too, when the IPGA hosts its awards ceremony on Thursday, Nov. 15.

Rosinia and Ivanhoe’s Jim Sobb have dominated the IPGA senior events and one or the other has been player-of-the-year in each of the last six years. Rosinia edged Sobb this time, finishing in the top 10 of all six tournaments he entered with one victory and two runner-up finishes on his scorecard.

St. Charles assistant Curtis Malm had earlier clinched a rare sweep of the IPGA Player-of-the-Year and Assistant Player-of-the-Year honors. Malm was the third man to do it, and the first since Glen Oak’s Matt Slowinski in 2009.

Streelman sticks with Wilson

Equipment changes have done in many a touring pro over the years, and it’ll be interesting to see how successful world No. 1 Rory McIlroy is after making a switch in 2013.

As for Chicago PGA Tour player Kevin Streelman, he’s not taking such a risk. Streelman is staying with Chicago-based Wilson Sporting Goods. Streelman, from Winfield, signed with Wilson in 2010 and just signed an agreement to continue playing Wilson Staff FG Tour V2 irons. He’ll also carry a Wilson bag and wear a cap supporting the company.

Streelman had three top-10 finishes in 2013, including a tie for eighth at the John Deere Classic.

Jemsek Golf remains at Pine Meadow

There was plenty of doubt for most of the summer, but Jemsek Golf will continue to operate Pine Meadow in Mundelein.

The Jemsek family, owners of Cog Hill, began a lease agreement with the University of St. Mary of the Lake and the Archdiocese of Chicago in 1985. The next year, after architects Joe Lee and Rocky Roquemore worked their magic on the land, Pine Meadow was named the Best New Public Course in the U.S. by Golf Magazine. It’s been widely recognized as one of Chicago’s best layouts ever since.

Negotiations on an extension of the lease were lengthy and complicated but they were eventually successful, though terms were not announced.