ST. CHARLES – Powerade, Nutrigrain bars and Famous Amos cookies invariably appear sparkling to golfers finishing a sweltering summer round.
That’s only the half of it at Pottawatomie Golf Course. The concessions, golf balls and even the insect repellent are displayed under glass counters that once sat in a jewelry store.
The new counters are just part of an offseason facelift to Pottawatomie’s pro shop, a project that has opened up the area and kept players talking.
“Quite often, you’ll get a lot of people who haven’t played this year who will come in and go, ‘Oh, my God, this is looking good. It’s really nice now,’ ” said Tom Sweet, who works at the pro shop three days a week.
“Yeah, it’s a completely different pro shop than it was. Fifty-four years ago, when I started playing down here, you should have seen it.”
The homey shop has been part of Pottawatomie since it opened in 1939, and who knows, perhaps the renovation will help the track ascend up Golf World magazine’s ranks of America’s best nine-hole courses. It currently stands 15th.
While the counter switch is arguably the most visible change – makes sense, since they used to be wood – it is merely the eye candy of less glitzy behind-the-scenes fixes.
After the Kane County Health Department approached Pottawatomie pro Ron Skubisz about facility updates the organization wanted to make, the project turned out to be more than upgraded plumbing and new, stainless steel sinks.
When leftover capital funding remained when a tractor purchase cost less than originally budgeted, Skubisz asked permission for a new coat of white paint. The ceilings were spiffed up and merchandise displays were updated.
Then word-of-mouth made an impact.
Knowing of the renovations ahead, Pottawatomie regulars told Skubisz about the relocation of Perlman Fine Jewelers from Geneva Commons to downtown Geneva. The counters were available at a discounted rate and just happened to fit perfectly into the pro shop space.
“They were accommodating [at Perlman’s] and the golfers were good enough to let us know,” Skubisz said. “It’s just like all these different pieces fell into place and it just worked.”
Skubisz uses the same refrain about last season’s big renovation, the transformation of the course’s former golf cart corral into a patio picnic area.
Augmenting the handful of circle tables inside, the patio is a natural space for awards ceremonies and other recognition associated with Pottawatomie’s looming schedule of city tournaments.
It didn’t take much doing, either, for Skubisz and course superintendent Denise Gillett-Parchert to create a new talking point. Move a fence here or there, and you’re good.
“Sometimes little things seem little,” Skubisz said, “but they change a lot of things besides what you originally planned on doing.”
• Kevin Druley is a sportswriter for the Kane County Chronicle. He can be reached at 630-845-5347 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Furrie, Furtney move on at women's amateur
Recent St. Charles North graduate Ariana Furrie will face Carol Stream's Hanna Netsingha in the third flight championship today at the Illinois State Women's Amateur at Cantigny Golf in Wheaton.
An incoming player at Wagner College in Staten Island, N.Y., Furrie on Thursday defeated Danielle Coffman of Streamwood, 3 and 2, in her semifinal. Furrie's younger sister, Gianna, lost a fifth flight semifinal, 2 up.
Youth was served elsewhere in the event, as Haines Middle School seventh grader Megan Furtney of South Elgin defeated St. Charles East product Nicole Rae – now of the University of Iowa – 1 up after 20 holes.
Today's matches are set to begin with the sixth flight championship at 8 a.m. Ariana Furrie (8:30) and Furtney (9) will follow.
Champions descend on Rich Harvest
Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove on Monday hosted the inaugural Chip Beck # 59 Champions Tour Pro-Am, uniting 15 tour professionals with a collection of amateurs while raising money to benefit the Kids Golf Foundation.
The "59" is a nod to Beck's landmark round during his time on the PGA Tour. The Champions Tour was in the area after the Encompass Championship at North Shore Country Club in Glenview this past weekend.
The Kids Golf Foundation, established in 1998, has benefited more than 150,000 youth golfers since its inception. The program is designed to introduce children between ages 5 and 17 to golf.