On Jan. 12, over 100 polar bear golfers converged on the nine-hole, par-3 course at Golf Center Des Plaines, for the annual Des Plaines Park District Chili Open Golf Tournament.
The arctic golf challenge drew sports enthusiasts and hobbyist golfers of every age, as they attempted to battle the wind and thirty degree temperatures before heading into Club Casa Cafe for chili and hot chocolate.
"The milder weather and lack of snow resulted in an even larger crowd than last year," said Brian Panek, manager of Golf and Facilities. This is the second year the open was played at Golf Center Des Plaines.
"One of the reasons we moved the event," said Panek, "was to give golfers an opportunity to warm up on the driving range before hitting the links. The heated bays are typically 25 degrees warmer than the outside air temperature," he continued. "We golf 364 days a year on the range, and, starting this year, on the par 3 course, as well."
The Open featured two shotgun starts, one at 9 a.m., and one at noon. Golfers competed for prizes in Lowest Score and Closest to the Pin categories. At the 9 a.m. tee-off, William McGean tied Ralph Rieser for the Lowest Male Score with a 30. Jessica Lang tied Allison Goodman in the women's category with a 31. A prize for the most honest score was awarded to Lawrence Nievers for his 53. Brian Burton won for the longest putt on hole No. 2, and on the 89 yard hole No. 4, for Closest to the Pin. Ron Voyda won the Closest to the Pin challenge on the 122 yard hole No. 8. Raffle winners also took home gift cards, hats, towels, and bathroom golf games.
Golf Center Des Plaines is at 353 N. River Road, just north of Golf Road. Through Feb. 28, the Driving Range is open from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. and the nine-hole, par-3 course is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
For information about the range, specials, and golf lessons, call (847) 803-GOLF or visit www.DPParks.org.