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.
As a competitor Ogden was the Illinois PGA Player-of-the-Year a record six times and the only golfer to win the Illinois Open, Illinois PGA Championship, IPGA Match Play title and IPGA Assistants crown.
From 1953-72 Ogden won 31 of the section’s major titles and also competed effectively in PGA Tour events, gaining a tie for third in the 1956 Bing Crosby National Pro-Am and a tie for fourth in the 1968 Tucson Open.
Ogden was much more than a player, though. In his 40 years in charge at North Shore he became well known for grooming his assistants. Forty-three of them went on to land head jobs.
In 1970 Ogden was not only the IPGA president, he was also the section’s Professional-of-the-Year – and North Shore wasn’t exactly a full-time job for him. In the winters he was head professional at five different clubs in Palm Springs, Calif., between 1970 and 1980.
Ogden was the man among Illinois pros when I came on the golf-writing scene here in 1971. He retired from North Shore shortly after that and lived in California until his death at age 78 in 2005.
NU goes for a four-peat
Illinois, ranked 17th in the national collegiate polls, is the top-seeded team for the fifth straight year in the Big Ten Match Play Championships, which begin Friday at the Jack Nicklaus-designed Concession course in Bradenton, FL.
The Illini, though, have never won the league’s Match Play event. Northwestern has dominated, winning the last three titles. The Wildcats are the second-best Big Ten team in the national rankings, standing 29th.
KemperSports adds Harborside
KemperSports manages a wide variety of golf facilities in 26 states as well as internationally. Now the Northbrook-based firm will take on one of Chicago’s premier public facilities, 36-hole Harborside International.
Harborside, designed by Dick Nugent, was one of the first golf facilities created on what had been a landfill. Its development was a big boost for the far South Side, and now it’ll get the Kemper touch.
“We plan to introduce a variety of new programs at Harborside to cater to the residents of Chicago and surrounding areas,’’ said Kemper chief executive officer Steve Skinner. “We look forward to elevating the service, playing conditions and guest experience to make Harborside a must-play for Chicago golfers and visitors to the city.’’
Wadkins featured at Chicago Golf Show
Wadkins was just named as lead analyst for Champions Tour telecasts on The Golf Channel and he’ll be in Chicago to promote the new Encompass Championship, which comes to North Shore June 21-23. That event will mark the first Champions Tour stop in Chicago since 2002 when Harborside hosted.