Golf Chicago!
News and Notes of Illinois Golf Professionals
by Dave Berner

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Playing or Watching—You Need To be a Part of the Illinois Open

This is just perfect. Great golf, great course, and up-close fun. I’m talking about the new and improved Illinois Open. It’s the state championship of golf with the strongest local field of any tournament. An event that is taking a big, new step and moving to an exciting level not just for the competitor but for any one who loves to watch golf.

The Illinois Open, run by the Illinois Section of the PGA, now has a brand new, essentially permanent home, at the fabulous Glen Club in Glenview and this August the tournament lines up 168 players to fight for a purse of $100,000 and the Open trophy. They’ll come from all over the state; players who are club professionals and amateurs who’ve made it through one of six qualifying events. If you’re up to the challenge and you live in Illinois—go for it. Amateurs with official handicaps of 10 or less can sign-up to play in a qualifier, try to make the final field and battle it out in three rounds, August 5-7, at The Glen Club

“We had some 600 entries last year and we hope to get more,“ says IPGA Executive Director, Mike Miller.

“It’s an advantage to get to The Glen Club. We think it will attract more players and grow the event,” says Miller.

The Illinois Open has a strong history, 53 years to be exact, and back in the 1920’s it had the elite status of a tour stop. The Open never really had a solid place to call home though; moving around for years to different golf course in different times of the season. But the IPGA is now settling in on some consistently that is expect to appeal to the competitor and to those who might want to come out and see good players test their games.

“It’s a chance to see some really quality golf, get up close to it, right in there and watch with no roping, no huge crowds like a big PGA Tour event,” says Miller. The Glen Club is a good place for a spectator. There is plenty of room and the mounding around the course allows for great views from almost anywhere. This would be a super event to take your children along and introduce them to watching championship golf.

“You don’t have to see Tiger Woods to see good golf,” adds Miller. “Plus our event is free.”

The Illinois Open has grown steadily over the years and although it’s not a formal goal of the IPGA, Miller says the event does have the potential to get even bigger. “There’s always the possibility of getting it to the level of a Tour event, a BUY.com tournament, but right now it is not something we’re thinking about. We continue to try to elevate all aspects of this tournament by making competitors feel like it’s a top-quality event. Right now it’s more for the local golfer to see if they can compete at a high level, “ says Miller. If you are considering attempting to qualify for the tournament, the deadline is June 1, 2002. Entry forms are available from the IPGA’s website, www.ipga.com.

Most of us aren’t good enough, certainly, to be a part of the field, but we still can explore this event. Being there can be one of the best experiences in spectator golf. No other area tournament has the quality of players combined with accessibility like the Illinois Open. It’s a delight to watch; a very relaxed, comfortable atmosphere and now with the move to The Glen Club, the Illinois Open is the best it has ever been.

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Last Updated: 6/2/02