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Golfers Flock to Chili Open's Frozen Fairways

The annual Chili Open Golf Classic transforms Crystal Lake into 9-holes of winter fun.

L to R: Steve Hagg, Jack McCarter, and Mark McCarter stand with their Polar Vortex sled during the Chili Open Golf Classic. Photo: Stephanie Price
L to R: Steve Hagg, Jack McCarter, and Mark McCarter stand with their Polar Vortex sled during the Chili Open Golf Classic. Photo: Stephanie Price
For the first time in four years, the weather cooperated with the annual Chili Open Golf Classic in Crystal Lake.

Hosted by the Crystal Lake Park District, the 42nd golf outing returned Sunday to the frozen surface of Crystal Lake and enjoyed a strong turnout of die-hard participants.

The event has been canceled for three consecutive years when mild winter weather thawed the makeshift 9-hole course.

With temperatures in the 20s and a steady stream of snow showers, the 148 golfers dragged their clubs, colored balls, sleds rigged with tiny Weber grills and beverages, and attacked the course with vigor.

"A lot of the participants are saying this is the perfect day," said CLPD recreation supervisor Joe Davison. "There's not a lot of wind....we've done this event (in past years) in the rain, the cold and snow."

There were 37 foursomes registered to tee off between 8 a.m. to noon, a slightly higher turnout than in most years, Davison said. It took most teams about two hours to complete the course. Afterwards, everyone was treated to warm chili in the beach house, and prizes were awarded.


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