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Men’s match play tournament a time-honored tradition at Pottawatomie Golf Course

Around for more than 30 years, the annual men’s golf tournament at Pottawatomie Golf Course in St. Charles is more than just a round of golf. It’s the opportunity to bring your A game, to play against peers and to take home bragging rights about competing in one of the oldest and most challenging tournaments in the area.

Instituted by former Pottawatomie Golf Course manager and PGA pro Jim Wheeler, the men’s tournament is a testament to Wheeler’s legacy, says current course manager and PGA pro Ron Skubisz. 

“It was a tournament that he truly loved and believed in and put his heart and soul into,” Skubisz said.

It’s also a tournament that has undergone a fundamental change in format. For the first time this year, the tournament is being conducted over two weekends instead of three. In prior years, the first weekend was devoted to a qualifying round based upon score. It would be followed the second weekend by classification placement and the third weekend by match play. This year, the initial qualifying round is being eliminated. Golfers will be admitted to the tournament based upon their Chicago District Golf Association or U.S. Golf Association official handicap.

“We found that committing to three consecutive weekends of golf is getting harder and harder for players to do,” Skubisz said. 

It’s also difficult for the course to close to regular players, season pass holders and other visitors for three weekends in the middle of the summer. Chicago’s golf-playing season is short even in the best of times, but – in recent years – wet, cold springs and the early onset of winters have compacted the season even more.

In any year, the tournament is unique for its final match play round. Using a scoring system whereby a player earns a point for each hole in which he has outperformed his opponents, match play tournaments are relatively rare, according to Skubisz. 

“We’re not the only golf course to do so, but there are very few courses that do offer match play events. It is unique, and we wish to carry it on,” Skubisz said.

Another tournament change is that – for the first time this year – the tournament is open to players who are nonpark district residents. Any player with the aforementioned CDGA or USGA handicap is qualified to play. The registration deadline for the tournament is July 13 or whenever a full 96-player field is reached. The registration fee of $60 includes green fees.

Players will be vying for a golfer’s choice package, yet another tournament change from previous years. Instead of awarding a traditional tournament trophy, this year’s prizes can include everything from a golf club to a set of irons to other golf equipment.

“Trophies are always important, but our ultimate goal is to make it a great golf tournament,” Skubisz said. “It has a huge history. It’s one of the traditions of the course.”

For information, contact Pottawatomie Golf Course at 630-584-8356.

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