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posted: 2/20/2013 1:13 PM

30th Chicago Golf Show opens Friday

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  • The Chicago Golf Show will celebrate its 30th anniversary when it opens on Friday at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont.

      The Chicago Golf Show will celebrate its 30th anniversary when it opens on Friday at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont.
    Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer/2012 file


The Chicago Golf Show celebrates its 30th anniversary beginning on Friday, and some significant announcements will be made as part of the festivities.

For one thing, the Chicago Open will be revived again, this time as a fundraiser for the Illinois Junior Golf Association. And Val Russell, publisher of the golf newspaper called Chicago Area Golf the last three years, will announce a name change for his publication.

The show begins at noon Friday at the Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont and runs through Sunday. The first 200 visitors each day will receive practice round tickets to September's BMW Championship at Conway Farms. Each visitor can also claim a coupon for one free round of golf at one of the many area courses managed by Golf Visions. Wilson Sporting Goods is also having a golf ball giveaway as part of the show.

The featured celebrity will be World Golf Hall of Famer Lanny Wadkins, who will take center stage at noon Saturday. Recently named Golf Channel's analyst for the Champions Tour, Wadkins will be on hand to promote Chicago's return to the senior circuit at June's Encompass Championship at North Shore.

Last year, the Chicago Golf Show had a record 16,000 visitors. This year's gathering will be able to check out 400 booths, each offering information about destination resorts, courses, tournaments and equipment. The Shannon Rovers will open the show each day.

Show hours are noon-7 p.m. on Friday, 9:30 a.m.-6 p.m. on Saturday and 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. Adult admission is $5 on Friday and $10 on Saturday and Sunday. Youngsters 12-18 will be admitted for $4, and those age 11 and younger are free.

Illini add assistant coach

University of Illinois men's coach Mike Small has a new assistant. Eldorado, Ill., native Justin Fetcho has replaced Zach Guthrie, who left the Illini to work as caddie for his brother and former Illinois golfer Luke, now a rookie on the PGA Tour.

Fetcho was assistant men's coach at South Florida from 2009-11 and assistant women's coach at Oregon from 2011 until joining Small's staff.

The //">Illini, ranked 19th nationally, are coming off their first victory in the Big Ten Match Play tournament. Thomas Detry, a freshman from Belgium, was named the league's player-of-the-week for his showing in that event. Detry never needed to play beyond the 15th hole en route to winning all three of his matches.

Did you know?

//">KemperSports has added still another Illinois club to its growing portfolio. Rockford Country Club, one of the state's most prestigious private facilities dating back to 1899, will now be managed by the Northbrook-based firm.

• CareerBuilder has been named presenting sponsor of the Encompass Championship, the first Chicago stop on the Champions Tour since 2002. It'll be held at North Shore from June 17-23. It'll feature a Wednesday-Thursday celebrity pro-am before the 54-hole main event that has already attracted Ben Crenshaw, Hale Irwin, Tom Kite, Bernhard Langer, Nick Price and Tom Watson.

• Fyre Lake, a course under new ownership in Sherrard, Ill., near the Quad Cities, is now managed by GolfVisions.

• For more golf news, check out Len can be contacted by email at

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