It hasn't been difficult for Ron Skubisz to adjust to his new job as course manager and head pro at Pottawatomie Golf Course.
"Everybody has been so nice and so helpful, it feels like I've been here forever," Skubisz said of his first month at the nine-hole St. Charles Park District course nestled along the Fox River.
He could actually make the "forever" statement about St. Andrew's Golf Course in West Chicago, where he worked for 23 years before coming to Pottawatomie to take the position left open when Jim Wheeler retired.
"What I need right now is some warmer weather," Skubisz said last week. "March is a funny month, almost with a sense of humor, because one day it can be 60 degrees, and then you are back to winter for two weeks."
Skubisz isn't letting his chilly start at Pottawatomie detract him from his vision for the popular course.
"I don't intend to replace any of the tournaments we have here already, as they are great tournaments, but they are for the purpose of competing and declaring a winner," Skubisz said. "I want to add a fall scramble, with the goal being some buddies just having fun, or a family, like a grandfather or grandmother, father and son all being on the same team.
"We want to increase the events in which just having a good time is the goal, while also continuing to enhance the competitive tournaments we already have."
Skubisz said golf lessons will still be offered at Pottawatomie, but his first intention, once the weather warms, is to offer a week of free clinics titled, "Welcome Back to Golf at Pottawatomie."
The clinics are a good way to meet people, but also to encourage golfers to have more fun by setting realistic goals or, as Skubisz puts it, "Your personal par."
"If everyone was examined on whether they shot par on the course, 99 percent of the people would fail, and that's ridiculous," Skubisz said. "Golf shouldn't be a mountain you are trying to climb. It should be more of a slope with gradual improvement."
Skubisz said assistant Bill Ogiego has helped him tremendously already, and groundskeeper Denise Gillett-Parchert will create junior tees on the course, with the goal of having more families play together.
"You want to view the course from a child's eye," Skubisz explained. "If a young kid is hitting the ball only 50 yards, the course should be shortened for him."
Skubisz is amazed at the strong bond between Pottawatomie patrons and the golf course designed by Robert Trent Jones during the Great Depression.
"People just love this place, and that is really great," Skubisz said. "It is really amazing, and I don't know that I've seen anything quite like this."
Biking for Kevin
The Bike Rack in St. Charles will hold its spring Trek Fest early this year, staying open from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. today -- for a special cause.
A percentage of sales today will benefit Geneva resident Kevin McDowell, a prolific triathlete who was recently diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma.
An event titled "Miles for McDowell" will take place with riders' sessions starting at 5 a.m. and lasting until the store closing at 5 p.m. There is no set time amount for riders, so those who can spare only a half-hour are encouraged to do so.
All riders are asked to donate whatever they can to benefit McDowell, as funds can be used to allow him to travel with his MultiSport Madness Triathlon Team, or sent to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in his name. Riders can donate at the event, or online at mmtt3.org or through the Lymphoma Society.
McDowell was a 2010 Youth Olympic silver medalist, and a USA Triathlon Junior Athlete of the Year in 2009 and 2010, but he needs your help with this challenge.
If you have time for a bike ride after reading this, head over to the Bike Rack.
A good crop
At first I thought I might be softening my standards on who qualifies as a good local political candidate. Was it possible that virtually all of the candidates I met ahead of Tuesday's election were highly qualified and capable? Turns out, the same insights were shared by other media outlets, and it appears safe to say that voters have a vast variety of solid candidates to choose from. They key, of course, is that residents get out and vote.
That crazy in-box
You can't beat humorous e-mails as a silly diversion. But you can do without the spam files that are flat-out inaccurate, whether motivated for light entertainment or political brainwashing.
I received one last week that supposedly showed a 92-year-old Ginger Rogers recently dancing with a grandson. The elderly woman was terrific on her feet, for sure. Problem is, Ginger Rogers died at age 83 in 1995.
Another one last week claimed a Vietnam War hero named Capt. Ed Freeman had just passed away at age 82 -- and it slammed the media for not saying a word about it and choosing instead to spread idiocy about Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan on a regular basis.
Would have been a good point, if Capt. Freeman hadn't died at the age of 80 in 2008 after fighting Parkinson's disease for years. I knew the e-mail was wrong because I remember when Freeman was given the Medal of Honor for his heroic action in piloting a helicopter into a war zone to rescue wounded soldiers, and also that he had passed away -- because the media reported on both.