Club pros are among the golfers at 65th Illinois Open Championship

Scott Baines, the assistant golf professional at Bryn Mawr Country Club in Lincolnwood, is scheduled to play in the Illinois Open. The tournament starts Monday at The Glen Club in Glenview. | Photo courtesy of Mike Schoaf/Illinois PGA
Scott Baines, the assistant golf professional at Bryn Mawr Country Club in Lincolnwood, is scheduled to play in the Illinois Open. The tournament starts Monday at The Glen Club in Glenview. | Photo courtesy of Mike Schoaf/Illinois PGA

Less than a week before playing in the Illinois Open, Scott Baines was out on the golf course at Bryn Mawr Country Club helping a member with his game.

Baines, an assistant golf professional at the Lincolnwood club, said he might teach six hours a day during the summer, yet he rarely works on his own game.

But Baines will be among 41 club professionals in the field at the Illinois Open, which is scheduled for Monday through Wednesday at The Glen Club in Glenview. Club professionals are the guys who give the lessons and run the pro shops. A club pro hasn’t won the tournament since Illinois men’s golf coach Mike Small finished first in 2007. Antioch’s Joe Kinney, a 27-year-old touring pro, was the tournament’s champion last year.

“We are not the college kid who practices and plays all the time or a pro who plays for a living,” the 43-year-old Baines said. “These tournaments are harder for us.”

Doug Bauman has been the head club professional at Barrington’s Biltmore Country Club for 26 years. Bauman, 57, won the 1996 and 1997 Illinois PGA Championships, but he hasn’t won the Illinois Open in 27 tries.

“This is the state’s main tournament, and I like that it’s a mix between the amateurs and pros,” he said. “It’s the best way to determine who is the best golfer in Illinois that year.

“As long as it doesn’t interfere with my duties at the club, I try to play in as many tournaments as I can. I like the competitive part of my job. It’s a fun challenge for me.”

Baines said he works at Bryn Mawr, where he’s been since 2003, six days a week and up to 12 hours a day. He estimated he plays nine holes twice a week and hardly ever practices his craft. But he said he does play between 11-15 tournaments a year.

“My personal view is pretty old school,” Baines said. “I think a club pro should be the best player and best teacher on the property for the members.”

Baines will be joined at the Illinois Open by Eric Hoff, another Bryn Mawr club pro.

With Bryn Mawr hosting outings Monday and Tuesday, Baines and Hoff will be pulling double duty. Baines is in the first group to tee off in the first round, and he said he will head over to his home club as soon as he holes out in his final shot. Hoff will work at Bryn Mawr on Monday morning and tee off in the last group at the Illinois Open.

“That’s pretty much a snapshot of a club pro’s life,” Baines said.

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65th Illinois Open Championship

When: Monday-Wednesday

Where: The Glen Club, Glenview

Format: The tournament is a 54-hole, stroke-play event and the size limit of the field is 156 players.

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