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updated: 10/11/2011 12:46 PM

Ceremonies set for Illinois Golf Hall of Fame

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  • Steve Benson, who spent most of his professional golf career at Hillcrest (now Royal Country Club of Long Grove), will join three other inductees this month as the newest class of the Illinois Golf Hall of Fame.

      Steve Benson, who spent most of his professional golf career at Hillcrest (now Royal Country Club of Long Grove), will join three other inductees this month as the newest class of the Illinois Golf Hall of Fame.
    Associated Press/2006 file

 
 

Another Chicago golf season is almost history now. All that is left -- except for the few recreational rounds remaining when weather permits -- is the Illinois Golf Hall of Fame induction ceremonies. They're coming up on Oct. 21 at The Glen Club in Glenview.

The Hall of Fame welcomed its first inductees in 1989. Classes were inducted annually until 1993 when inductions were made on a biennial basis. This year's inductees include club professionals Steve Benson and Sherm Finger, superintendent Paul Voykin, and the late Bob Gardner, a legendary amateur who took on a variety of leadership roles as well.

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Benson, who spent the bulk of his career at Hillcrest (now the Royal Country Club of Long Grove), and Finger, who was long based at Knollwood in Lake Forest, bring to 13 the number of club professionals included in the Hall, which is administered by the Illinois PGA and features photographic exhibits and memorabilia at The Glen Club. Voykin was the superintendent at Briarwood in Deerfield for 47 years.

Dukelow comes through

Rich Dukelow's victory in last week's Players Championship at Eagle Ridge in Galena also earned him the Illinois PGA's player-of-the-year award.

Dukelow, 42, won the award for the first time, but he had previously been the Chicago District Golf Association player-of-the year in 1996, 1999 and 2001. In his last CDGA award season he captured the Illinois Amateur by nine strokes. The Players was the first big win in the club pro ranks for the teaching assistant at Cantigny in Wheaton, but he was the IPGA Assistants player-of-the-year in 2006, 2007 and 2008.

"I love teaching golf, but I still like to get out and compete against other professionals," said Dukelow. "I'm thankful that Cantigny encourages me to do both and follow my dreams."

Matt Slowinski, of Glen Oak in Glen Ellyn, was the IPGA Assistants player-of-theyear for this season and the Ivanhoe Club's Jim Sobb won the award for senior pros.

Getting ready for Ryder Cup

With the 39th Ryder Cup matches still nearly a year away, the PGA of America has already done some fine-tuning on the big event coming to Medinah Country Club.

A walking tour of the course with managing director of tournaments and marketing Kerry Haigh revealed that the long, tough layout will be set up at 7,658 yards for the matches between the PGA stars from the U.S. and Europe with two of the four par-5s measuring more than 600 yards (No. 7 at 617 and No. 14 at 609).

Most interesting of the yardage determinations was at the new 15th. It'll share a tee box with the par-4 12th hole, but Haigh could set the 15th at 391 yards or 308 yards. If the short tee box is used it'll become driveable, though a pond guards the green on the right side. If that tee is used, No. 15 could be the most exciting hole of the competition.

Tickets will be scarce, and those who registered for the random drawing for individual tickets will learn how they fared sometime this week. The gallery will be limited to 40,000 per day.

"The PGA of America has seen record interest for the 2012 event, which has sold out many times over," said Ryder Cup director Michael Belot. "That kind of response is a great testament to the last popularity of the Ryder Cup."

Merger talk

John Kaczkowski, president of the Western Golf Association, was the featured speaker at the Women's Western Golf Association fall meeting. The two longstanding organizations will join forces on Jan. 1, which could eventually produce some significant changes in tournament operations.

"We'll work together on our amateur and junior tournaments next year, then see where it goes from there," said Kaczkowski, who wouldn't rule out a revival of the Women's Western Open eventually. The WWGA discontinued that tournament, once a major tourney on the LPGA tour, after 1967.

Kaczkowski also said no decision has been made on a site for the 2012 BMW Championship. He expected a decision on that matter "in 30 to 60 days."

Did you know?

The Chicago golf community has lost Bob Held, veteran teaching professional at Fresh Meadows in Hillside. He died suddenly last week. The White Pines Golf Dome in Bensenville is scheduled to open on Nov. 1. The Windy City Golf League will conclude its season on Sunday with the Arghe Isle Cup tournament at Arrowhead in Wheaton. Tickets have just gone on sale for next year's U.S. Women's Open, to be played July 2-8 at Blackwolf Run in Kohler, Wis.

• This is Len's final report for the local golf season. His column will return next spring before the Masters. To contact him, visit lenziehmongolf.com.

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