Golf show just a taste of what’s ahead in 2013
BY HERB GOULD email@example.com February 23, 2013 12:10AM
9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Stephens Convention Center, Rosemont.
Updated: March 24, 2013 6:15AM
Golf season may seem a few shivers away after Friday’s wintry-mix snowstorm. But the opening of the Chicago Golf Show, which will be held through Sunday at the Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, is a reminder that golf may be closer than we think.
The show offers golfers a variety of enticements, including a free round at an attractive course for everyone who buys a golf-show ticket. Vacations and merchandise prizes also are being given away. The opportunity to check out equipment and receive tips/lessons also are lures for the show, which is in its 30th year.
The show also is a reminder that the Ryder Cup was only the beginning. After a slow period, Chicago-area tournament golf will pick up where the game’s premier team event left off last fall.
Not only is the BMW Championship, the tournament formerly known as the Western Open, returning this season, but the Champions (senior) Tour will be back for the first time since 2002. And the Illinois Junior Golf Association has revived a historic name, the Chicago Open, for its new tournament.
The two PGA events will set up on the North Shore, close to home for members of some of the area’s top private clubs. The BMW will be played Sept. 12-15 at Conway Farms in Lake Forest.
Players on the Champions Tour, last played here at Harborside in ’02, are excited about their Encompass Championship, which will be held June 21-23 at North Shore Country Club in Glenview.
‘‘The players are ecstatic not only to play in Chicago, but at North Shore,’’ Golf Channel analyst Lanny Wadkins said Friday.
‘‘Anytime they get a chance to play a great venue like this, they just salivate. It will have one of the best fields of the year, if not the best.’’
The Chicago Open, which will be played Oct. 7-9 at Cantigny in Wheaton, is a new event designed to attract aspiring pros from the Web.com tour and other mini-tours as well as local club pros and amateurs. It will have a purse of at least $50,000 and will benefit the IJGA.
‘‘It will be [primarily for] young kids chasing purses trying to get on tour,’’ IJGA president Marty Schiene said.
‘‘When I was playing, there were events like this. There’s not that many events anymore. And yet the volume of players is five or 10 times what it was. Kids are looking for places to play.’’