Shortly upon transitioning from a full-time golf instructor to a summertime specialist, Larry Venzon discovered an unsung saying about his craft.
Those who can teach golf don’t play it as often as most folks think.
“It’s a job for me,” Venzon said, “so the more I’m playing, the less I’m working.”
For the past 11 years, Venzon has headed south from his Algonquin home to offer most of his lessons at Bliss Creek in Sugar Grove and Valley Green in North Aurora. The miles might add up, but he never has minded.
“I always wanted to teach,” Venzon said. “I’d rather get better at my profession than the game itself.”
The starting point for success always has been availability. Venzon’s lessons last 45 minutes and are scheduled at each player’s convenience. His clients include both 9-to-5 professionals and those who work more nontraditional shifts, so he is accustomed to being on his game at nearly any time of day.
From 1995 to the early 2000s, he worked full-time at Family Golf Center in Warrenville, but was forced to find other work when the facility closed in 2001. Already a longtime physical education teacher when a newspaper ad led him to golf instruction in the mid-1990s, Venzon returned to teaching.
Since he already had accumulated a strong client base, Venzon continued giving summer lessons at Bliss Creek, Valley Green and Boulder Golf Range in Hoffman Estates.
While tutelage from renowned PGA Tour instructor Jimmy Ballard bolstered Venzon’s golf know-how, he found the actual lessons felt a lot like a classroom or gymnasium.
“Teaching is teaching,” Venzon said, “as long as you find the right method that works. Some learn by words, some by pictures, some by copying. Examples. Videos. Whatever it takes.”
Venzon offers instruction on any aspect of golf, but stresses swing fundamentals, the short game and practice drills. He offers individual lessons for $45 and a four-lesson pack for $160. Rates include range balls.
For more information, contact Venzon at 847-915-5739
In the winter, Venzon also works around to various golf domes and indoor facilities. His family understands his nomadic ways when it comes to golf, so they don’t mind. Just like Venzon.
“Being accessible,” he said. “That’s my job.”
• Kevin Druley is a sports writer for the Kane County Chronicle. He can be reached at 630-845-5347 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bunch of amateurs
Several Kane County Chronicle-area golfers are set to compete in various U.S. Amateur qualifiers Monday, with the majority teeing off at Bull Valley Golf Course in Woodstock.
The Bull Valley field includes four St. Charles residents, headlined by St. Charles East graduate Jordan Wetsch (Colorado State) and Wheaton Academy alumnus Blake Biddle (UNLV). Wetsch and Biddle will tee off at the same time for both halves of the 36-hole event – 8:50 a.m. and 1:50 p.m. – but are part of different pairings that start on the other side of the course.
Richard Balla Jr. and Elio Vento also are part of the St. Charles contingent among the 89-golfer field, which includes Marmion alum Bryce Emory (Northern Illinois). The top four finishers will advance to the Aug. 13 to 19 U.S. Amateur at Cherry Hills Country Club and CommonGround Golf Course in Denver.
East alumnus Wes Apple will vie for a qualifying spot at Edgewood Country Club in LaGrange. Nationwide qualifying tournaments began July 9 with events in Texarkana, Ark., and Fort Worth, Texas.
Pottawatomie Golf Course opened its summer string of annual St. Charles city tournaments with its nine-hole event for women earlier this month.
The bustle keeps course superintendent Denise Gillett-Parchert and her staff busy with plenty of maintenance, but golfers have noticed no struggles on their part as Pottawatomie stays pristine.
“Nobody keeps the course in shape like Denise,” Pottawatomie Women’s League president Debbie Keup said. “She is phenomenal. She and her crew do so much to make that a special place for us. However she has done it, she gets a huge pat on the back, she and her crew.”