It Ziehms to Me: Tweaking is almost done at Erin Hills

Len Ziehm on GolfBy Len Ziehm Erin Hills has undergone more than its share of tweaks in its brief history, but interest in the layout 35 miles northwest of Milwaukee has never wavered. In fact, enthusiasm for the course has grown with each of the changes made since the opening in 2006. It's good news, though, that the alterations are just about done. (more…)

It Ziems To Me: Getting No. 1 Seed Gives U.S. Boost For International Crown

Len Ziehm on GolfBy Len Ziehm

There's a drawback to designating one prime superstar in a sport. That policy can work to the detriment of others, and that's what happened this week, when Tiger Woods announced he wouldn't play in this year's Masters. In this case the victim was the LPGA, which had its own big news to unveil at its first major championship of the season. (more…)

It Ziehms To Me: Georgia’s Summer Grove Course Could Be Called Jemsek South

Len Ziehm on GolfBy Len Ziehm

NEWNAN, Ga. - It's no secret that the Jemseks are the first family of golf in Chicago. In fact, it's been that way for a long time.

It all started when Joe Jemsek purchased St. Andrews, in West Chicago in the 1930s. He later bought Cog Hill, in Lemont, and expanded it from 36 to its present 72 holes. [caption id="attachment_1835" align="alignright" width="251"] A cheery welcome greets golfers when they arrive at Summer Grove.[/caption] The Jemseks are now three generations deep in Chicago golf. For years the family operated Glenwoodie, in Glenwood, and - in addition to Cog Hill and St. Andrews -the Jemseks also operate Pine Meadow, in Mundelein. But the family's golf involvement isn't limited to the Chicago area. Though it's not widely known, the Jemseks also have a course in Georgia – and it’s one that in some ways has more family involvement than the Chicago layouts. (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…)

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…)

It Ziehms To Me: A fitting honor for Chicago legend Bill Ogden

By Len Ziehm A golf professional’s job was much different when Bill Ogden ran the shop at North Shore Country Club. Ogden not only could compete at the highest level, but he also was a master at handling the detail work that was required on the job. The Chicago area never has had a club pro as widely successful as Ogden, and his myriad of accomplishments were recognized this week when he was named among eight inductees into the PGA Golf Professionals Hall of Fame.  He’ll be inducted posthumously at PGA Village in Port St. Lucie, FL., on March 12. (more…)
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