The 2014 Illinois PGA Senior Masters winners. John Schickling of Rolling Green CC (L) and Kevin Marion of the Old Elm Club. Photo Courtesy of IPGA and Mike Schoaf.
The Illinois PGA has announced that John Schickling from Rolling Green Country Club in Arlington Hts., and Kevin Marion of the Old Elm Club in Highland Park are the 2014 Senior Masters award recipients. The senior masters pro-am was played in late July at the Onwentsia Club in Lake Forest.
The golf club professional ranks are an industry where people move around, some pro’s spend their entire career bouncing from club to club.
For Schickling that hasn’t been the case, as he has spent his entire career in golf working at just one club, Rolling Green Country Club. Schickling started at the club as an assistant professional and long time RGCC head professional Bill Ventresca. When Ventresca moved on, Schickling got elevated to head professional. 34 years after starting at Rolling Green, Schickling is still there.
“I was provided the good fortune to start my career at Rolling Green and I have never wanted to go anywhere else,” Schickling is proud to say. “It has been a great place to work. I couldn’t ask for a better situation.”
Schickling started playing golf as a kid with his dad at the Willow Run golf course in south suburban Mokena. When his father learned that some kids in the neighborhood were making money caddying at Ravisloe Country Club, he encouraged Schickling, who was only 12 years old to go try it. The family lived 15 miles from Ravisloe, so Schickling had to ride his bike, carpool or hitchhike to the club.
Schickling went on to be the No.1 player on high school team, and then played college golf at Illinois State University. He was teammates was WGN-TV sports anchor Dan Roan and 1976 USGA Publinks champion and IPGA professional Jerry Vidovic. He just missed by a couple of years of playing with D.A. Wiebring.
During his time with the IPGA, Schickling has served on several committee’s. His dedication and time spent being involved, has earned him his place as a IPGA senior master.
KEVIN MARION grew up outside of Detroit, golf was not a part of his life in the early going. ” I just didn’t have a lot of exposure to golf,” Marion said.
His sister was attending Ferris State University and told him about the PGM program the school had. Marion obtained a 2-year degree from Michigan State in turf management and then went to Ferris State. Four years later he was off and running in the golf world.
Right after graduation Marion became an assistant professional in Scottsdale arizona at the newly opened Desert Mountain Resort. He was fortunate to work with traching professional Jim Flick, who Marion says,”really helped me with my game.”
Four years later Marion returned to Michigan, and head professional and general manager at the Manistee Golf and CC. With Marion’s wife being from Hinsdale, the opportunity to become the head professional at Ruth Lake CC in 1992 was something he could not pass up. At that time he joined the Illinois PGA.
During the winter months Marion would spend time at Pine Tree Golf Club in Florida, where pro Mike Adams would help him with his game. Pine Tree member and Rich Harvest Farms owner Jerry Rich, remembers getting a call one day from the head of the search committee asking about Marion for their GM/ head professional opening. Rich says he told them they wouldn’t regret hiring Marion.
Old Elm did just that in 1997 and 17 years later Marion is still there.
“To be at Old Elm is something I am very proud of,” said Marion. ” I am very fortunate my career has brought me here.”
Marion has had his moments to be just as successful on the golf course, as he is off of it. In 2010 he won the Illinois Senior Open. That was one year after he made the cut in the 2009 U.S. Senior Open at Crooked Stick. He credits playing section events against fellow IPGA professionals like Jim Sobb, Gary Groh and Mike Harrigan, as being a privilege and making him a better player.
The senior masters award is an honor that means a lot to him. “It always means more when your honored by your peers.”
Click here to hear interviews with Kevin Marion and John Schickling.
All of us at Golfers on Golf congratulate john Schickling and Kevin Marion on being named 2014 Sr. Masters award winners.