Springtime = Discounts At Top Area Courses

By Jim Zuccarelli April is one of my favorite times of the year to golf, as the lengthy Chicago winters always have me anxious to dust off the clubs, and I love taking advantage of the spring discounts offered by many of the top courses, a great way to play some of the best the area has to offer at an excellent price.  With a few notable exceptions (ThunderHawk 4/23 and Mistwood 4/25), most every course in the Windy City area has opened for play, but the historically severe winter of 2014 has taken its toll on the turf and several facilities have extended the spring rates to the end of the month and into early May to account for the conditions. (more…)

Why Am I Not Getting Better?

Jay casalettoBy Jay Casaletto, PGA Director - Golf Channel Am Tour-Chicago How many of you have heard these phrases before: "I don't understand why I didn't score better, I was hitting the ball so well at the range" or "The way you practice is the way you play in the game".  If the latter is true, it is no wonder why most of us don't get any better at golf. (more…)

It Ziehms to Me: Economic downturn hasn’t hurt Kiawah

Len Ziehm on GolfBy Len Ziehm KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. - With so many golf facilities struggling these days, Roger Warren's report on the popular Kiawah Resort is eye-catching to say the least. "We had the best year in the history of the resort last year," said Warren who left the Chicago area for Kiawah in 2003 and has been the resort's president since 2005. "There was a halo effect from (hosting the 2012) PGA Championship, but we experienced four years of double digit growth from 2009 on." [caption id="attachment_609" align="alignleft" width="300"]Roger Warren has plenty of good memories from his recent Ryder Cup experiences. Roger Warren has plenty of good memories from his recent Ryder Cup experiences.[/caption] Why is that? “I know it flies in the face of what's happening in the rest of the game, but there's a segment in this country that's doing just fine - and that's my customer," said Warren. "They continue to come here. This is a beautiful island, and there's a lot to do here." This five-course facility near Charleston, S.C., doesn't need a commercial after already hosting an historic Ryder Cup (in 1991) and a major - the PGA, won by Rory McIlroy. Its Pete Dye-designed Ocean Course has witnessed it all. (more…)

It Ziehms To Me: International Crown trophy will be impressive

Len Ziehm on GolfBy Len Ziehm DAYTONA BEACH, FL. - I'll let you in on a secret. The trophy that will go to the winner of the LPGA's biggest-ever event will be one of the most impressive in all of sports. I received a sneak preview of the prize that the players in the new International Crown event will play for in July during my first visit to LPGA headquarters here (photo below). No pictures of the trophy or descriptions of it were allowed then, and the trophy won't be officially unveiled until April 1 at the Kraft Nabisco Championship. (more…)

House Rules

Eric Aldrichby Eric Aldrich, PGA Head Golf Professional Bolingbrook Golf Club What excites us about getting up at sunrise and carving out at least six hours of our day to play a sport that continually beats us up?  And how does this same sport keep us coming back for more?  Is it the exercise?  The fellowship?  The competition?  It surely isn't enjoyment, is it?  How can we possibly take pleasure in playing something so difficult and something that takes so long to play?  But in the end, and at the detriment of future golfers, golf must be enjoyed.  But how?  One of the best ways to enjoy the game of golf more - Don't play by the rules. (more…)

Golf on Florida’s Treasure Coast isn’t just for the touring pros

By Len Ziehm PORT ST. LUCIE, FL. - Florida's Treasure Coast embraces three counties - Martin, Palm Beach and St. Lucie. Add the surrounding areas and the golf options in this east coast area are numerous, diverse and competitively priced. That's why so many tour players make this their offseason home. Tiger Woods, Dustin Johnson, Ricky Fowler and Nick Price are among 16 present or past tour players who are members at Medalist in Hobe Sound. Luke Donald, Rory McIlroy, Keegan Bradley, Ernie Els and Camilo Villegas play at The Bears Club in Jupiter and Greg Norman, Russ Cochran and Scott Langley are at The Dye Preserve - another Jupiter club. Old Palm, in Palm Beach Gardens, includes Lee Westwood, Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel, Darren Clarke and Raymond Floyd. Even President Barack Obama has visited the area's links; he made a weekend vacation trip to The Floridian in Palm City. (more…)

New Twilight Rate Available at Dubsdread in 2014

By Jim Zuccarelli 6th Hole Cog HillCog Hill Golf & Country Club, the 72 hole public golf facility in southwest suburban Lemont, recently unveiled their greens fee schedule for  the 2014 season, and new for this year is a twilight rate on the #4 course, the iconic Dubsdread.  Beginning at 4 pm each day, a round can be played for $100 (including cart and range access), a 35% discount from the normal rate of $155. "It was my daughter's idea" stated owner Frank Jemsek, referring to Cog Hill President Katherine, "and we wanted to give golfers who might not be able to afford the regular rate an opportunity to experience the #4 course." In the height of the summer (mid-June to mid-July), the first few twilight times have a good chance of completing the round, so as many as 500 additional golfers can play 18 holes on a course that has held 20 PGA tour events and have some extra dollars left for a drink afterwards. (more…)

Encompass tourney gets the spotlight at Chicago Golf Show

By Len Ziehm Chicago Golf Show The only pro golf tour event in Chicago in 2014 will also headline the 31st Chicago Golf Show. The Encompass Championship, which made its Chicago debut on the Champions Tour in 2013, will be the presenting sponsor of the winter attraction that begins a three-day run at the Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont on Friday (FEB 21). Golf at Encompass Championship 2013 Jeff Sluman, the Champions Tour veteran from Hinsdale, will become the fourth former major champion to appear at the show, following John Daly (2008), Craig Stadler (2012) and Lanny Wadkins (2013). Sluman won the 1988 PGA Championship. (more…)

KemperSports ready to take charge at Cantigny

By Len Ziehm 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. Cantigny Golf Wheaton, IL 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. (more…)

PGA Merchandise Show

By Len Ziehm PGA Merchandise ShowORLANDO, FL. - It's become a tradition now. For the ninth straight year David Glod, president of Batavia-based Tour Edge, has gotten a jump on his club manufacturing rivals at the massive PGA Merchandise Show. The biggest show in golf begins a three-day run at the Orange County Convention Center on Wednesday with over 1,000 golf companies and brands and over 40,000 industry professionals from around the world displaying their wares. Over 20 Chicago area companies will have a big presence. (more…)