It Ziehms to Me: Changes are coming in Chicago club pro ranks

There wasn’t much movement in Chicago’s club professional ranks the past few years, but that’s not the case now. Already five well-established head pros have announced plans to move on. The move creating the most ripple effect was Mike Scully’s departure from Medinah immediate after the Ryder Cup.  He is now in charge at Desert Mountain, a Scottsdale, Ariz., resort that has five courses. Scully was also the vice president of the Illinois PGA, so his leaving the area after nearly 10 years created some adjustment in the section’s rotation of officers.  Chris Gumbach became the IPGA’s 25th president at the Fall Annual Meeting. Gumbach, a member of the board of directors from 2007-12, succeeds Casey Brozek, who will continue on the board as honorary president. (more…)

It Ziehms to Me: New bunkers have change the look of Kemper Lakes

Kemper Lakes Bunker Project 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. (more…)

It Ziehms to Me – Ryder Cup, Teaching, Western Golf Assn and more

by Len Ziehm THE RECENT RYDER CUP may have seemed a downer after the collapse of the U.S. team in the Sunday matches, but – while being on site at Medinah every day – I found an uplifting story behind the scenes -- the reunion of the Sweeney brothers. Frank and Mary Sweeney, their parents, moved to a residence on Sunset Terrace – about 600 yards from the Medinah clubhouse – in 1962 and raised six children there. Their four boys – Frank, Phil, Pat and Brendan – were all Medinah caddies, and the Ryder Cup marked the first time they were all together since 2007. Their father passed away in March and their mother lives in Venice, FL. (more…)

MY GOLFVISIONS RECORD: 16 courses in four states

CHESTERTON, Ind. – Tim Miles  Sr. tells me I’ve made golf history. He says I’m the first member of GolfVisions’ Player Pass program to play all of the 16  courses offered in this most innovative program, and I’ll tell you it wasn’t easy. Miles,  the GolfVisions president, started the Player Pass program two years ago and tweaked it for this season. GolfVisions is a course management firm that Miles founded under the name GreenVisions in 1989.  It presently oversees 11 courses in Illinois, two in Indiana, one in Michigan and two in Florida. Under the Player Pass program, you pay an annual fee to join, then get one free greens fee at each course plus other perks – the lowest fee the course offers for your playing partners, free range balls and discounts on meals and pro shop merchandise. (more…)

Quad Cities should be considered a golf destination spot

By Len Ziehm MOLINE, IL. – For years now I’ve told my golf-media buddies from the Quad Cities that they reside in ``the golf capitol of Illinois.’’ They think I’m kidding but, after four decades of covering the PGA Tour stop in that community, I’m not so sure. In fact, I can now say that the area encompassing Moline and Rock Island in Illinois and Davenport and Bettendorf in Iowa could be a golf destination – and I’m NOT kidding. Golf in the Quad Cites is relatively inexpensive. That’s a big plus.  Nothing…continue reading →

Yarrow, Island Hills are Good Bets for Golf in Michigan

By Len Ziehm AUGUSTA, MI. – Michigan-based golf course architect Ray Hearn has made an impact in Chicago with his work at Flossmoor Country Club, one of the area’s top private facilities, as well as at Mistwood in Romeoville, one of the best public courses. If you want to test more of Hearn’s work you don’t have to go very far. Two of his earlier works are just over the Michigan line, and they’d make good stopovers for those who plan to attend the second Champions Tour major tournament in Michigan this summer.…continue reading →

Golf Now Chicago’s Concierge Golf Outing

By Len Ziehm TINLEY PARK, IL. – At first it seemed a walk down memory lane. I hadn’t been back to the Odyssey Country Club in Chicago’s south suburbs since 1997 – the third and final year the course was used as the site of the Illinois Women’s Open championship. Odyssey got that tournament, the state’s most prestigious for women,  off to a great start. This recent visit was to participate in the Concierge & Hospitality Professionals Golf Outing, a delightful affair organized for the eighth straight year by Cheryl Justak to create…continue reading →

Indiana’s Swan Lake lands U.S. finals, ING gathering

By Len Ziehm GREENVILLE, S.C. – Swan Lake, the Indiana resort that has operated  relatively low-key since its opening in 1969, is about to elevate its profile. Located in Plymouth, near the Notre Dame campus, Swan Lake hosted the National Junior College Championships last week and will host that event again in 2014. Of even more note, it’ll be the site of the U.S. finals of the World Golfers Championship this September and the International Network of Golf spring meeting in 2013. The announcements of both came at this year’s 22nd ING spring…continue reading →

French Lick Adds A Fourth Course, Sultan’s Run

By Len Ziehm FRENCH LICK, Ind. – If ever there was a comeback story in the golf business, it is the one unfolding at French Lick Resort. This little town of the same name in southern Indiana, near Louisville, was  the home to one of the popular vacation retreats in the United States in the early 1900s and its two stately hotels reflect that. The French Lick Hotel (now with a 24-hour casino added) has 443 rooms and suits and dates back to 1845. The West Baden Hotel, with 243 rooms and suites,…continue reading →

Eagle Ridge

By Len Ziehm GALENA, IL. – I’ve always had a warm spot in my heart for the Eagle Ridge Resort. Not only has it been a favorite get-away retreat for about 40 years, it’s also a place where I’ve been on hand for some special events. In 1984 I played in the grand opening outing for Eagle Ridge’s South course, a Roger Packard design. In 1997 I played in another celebratory round, one to mark the opening of The General -- Eagle Ridge’s premier layout, created by Packard and Andy North. That’s why…continue reading →
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