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…)

It Ziehms to Me: Bob Spence wants to take Kinderlou Forest to a new level

By Len Ziehm Kinderlou  Forest Hole 4VALDOSTA, Ga. - Bob Spence is about to hit the 60-year mark as a golf professional.  Now his focus is on Kinderlou Forest, a stunning 18-holer just 16 miles from the Florida state line, but Chicago golfers should remember him well. Spence, who turned pro in 1954 - a few months after graduating from high school, was the first director of golf at Kemper Lakes.  The late Jim Kemper hired him in 1978 to direct the opening of the Long Grove course designed by Dick Nugent and Ken Killian.  Kemper Lakes was an instant hit. It was the first public course to host a PGA Championship in 1989, a year in which Payne Stewart was crowned the champion. (more…)

It Ziehms to Me: Rich hopes International Crown has long run – and at his course

By Len Ziehm Jerry RichJerry Rich's dream took its first big step towards reality immediately after the 2013 LPGA season concluded Sunday with Shanshan Feng's victory in the CME Group Titleholders tourney at Tiburon in Naples, FL. That was the last event in which countries could earn points for participation in next year's inaugural International Crown event. Rich was a primary force behind the International Crown's creation, and his Rich Harvest Farms  facility in Sugar Grove, IL., will host the second staging of the innovative biannual team competition in 2016. Rich hopes the International Crown will be played at Rich Harvest many times after that, but first things first. (more…)

It Ziehms to Me: Malm takes his talents to White Eagle

By Len Ziehm The best player in the Illinois section of the PGA is moving. Curtis Malm, the IPGA Player-of-the-Year in 2012 and 2013 while an assistant professional at St. Charles Country Club, has moved to White Eagle in Naperville as the head professional. Malm, who spent five seasons at St. Charles, won the Illinois Open as an amateur in 2000 and blossomed in the IPGA ranks with back-to-back victories in the section'’s Match Play Championship at Kemper Lakes in 2012 and 2013. He was the first player in 25 years to win that title in back-to-back years. The 2013 season also saw Malm match the Elgin Country Club course record when he shot a 9-under-par 63 in an IPGA stroke play event. (more…)

It Ziehms To Me: Streelman will be part of U.S. effort in World Cup

By Len Ziehm The team of Matt Kuchar and Gary Woodland gave the U.S. its first victory in 11 years in the last staging of the World Cup of Golf. Now Wheaton's Kevin Streelman will be part of the U.S. title defense. The World Cup, first played in 1953, is a two-man team competition with players chosen off the World Rankings. Kuchar got his spot on the defending champion team with a No. 8 ranking after No. 1 Tiger Woods, No. 3 Phil Mickelson and No. 7 Steve Stricker turned it down. [caption id="attachment_447" align="alignleft" width="300"]Jack Nicklaus Jack Nicklaus was the featured guest at the Western Golf Association’s third annual Green Coat Gala at the Peninsula Chicago Hotel. The sold-out black tie event raised over $900,00 for the Evans Scholars Foundation[/caption] Jack Nicklaus was the featured guest at the Western Golf Association’s third annual Green Coat Gala at the Peninsula Chicago Hotel. The sold-out black tie event raised over $900,00 for the Evans Scholars Foundation. Kuchar got Streelman as his partner after higher-ranked Americans Jason Dufner, Zach Johnson, Jim Furyk, Kevin Bradley, Webb Simpson, Dustin Johnson, Hunter Mahan, Bubba Watson, Nick Watney, Bill Haas and Rickie Fowler didn't want to play. Woodland's ranking has slipped to 81st, so he wasn't a viable partner this time. (more…)

Guss takes charges at Treetops Academy

By Len Ziehm GAYLORD, MI. -- Treetops has grown into - arguably at least - Michigan's most spectacular golf resort and one of its main features is its teaching program. Started in 1990 by Rick Smith and Henry Young, the school thrived as the Rick Smith Golf Academy and Smith became prominent far beyond his home state as both a teacher and course designer. His success as an instructor at Treetops led to him eventually becoming a swing guru for Phil Mickelson and he now also works with PGA Tour players Rory Sabbatini, Jerry Kelly and Sang-Moon Bae - winner of this year’s Byron Nelson Classic. Treetops Academy MichiganSmith remains the owner and architect for three courses - Tradition, Signature and Threetops - at Treetops North. Threetops is widely regarded as America's best par-3 course. Inevitably, Smith's success in teaching and course architecture led to his spending more time away from Michigan - he's even designing a course in China now -- and that led to a revamping and renaming on the teaching side. It's now the Rick Smith and Jason Guss Golf Academy. (more…)

New lodge creates a rebirth for Michigan’s Forest Dunes

By Len Ziehm ROSCOMMON, Mich. - There never was a doubt about the quality of the 18 holes at Forest Dunes. The course has consistently been ranked as the No. 2 public layout in golf-rich Michigan, behind Arcadia Bluffs. A Tom Weiskopf design that opened in 1999, Forest Dunes is --in the words of general manager Todd Campbell -- "in the middle of nowhere." Still, the national course raters have found it. Golf Digest had it No. 20 among America's 100 Greatest Public Courses for 2011-12 and No.99 among America's Greatest 100 for the same period. GolfWeek ranked Forest Dunes No. 87 on its Best Modern Courses list. Ausable Woods at Forest Dunes (more…)