July 30th 2019 - Billy Rosinia remembers it well. The ropes, the signage, the tee announcers and the players in their matching outfits. He was six
years old and at Columbus Park Golf Course where his father, Michael, an automotive parts manufacturing plant VP, was
competing in the Cook County Amateur. He was dazzled by the atmosphere and knew right then he wanted to be a part of it.
“I have always loved being inside the ropes competing in events against challenging players on beautiful courses,” said Rosinia
while chatting recently in the Flagg Creek Golf Course clubhouse.
And compete he did. From those humble beginnings growing up in the western suburbs and attending Proviso West High
School with good friend Dave Erickson (St. Andrews Golf & CC), Rosinia has parlayed his playing ability and passion for the
game into a remarkable 40-plus year career.
“I grew up in the Jemsek ‘bullpen’ working at Fresh Meadows Golf Course and Driving Range in Westchester,” said Rosinia.
“I spent a lot of time playing and learning the game there with my Dad. Dave and I both worked there while we were in high
school, and I met Marty (Schiene/Odyssey CC) while he was at Pine Meadow and Glenwoodie.”
Rosinia, an all-around athlete, thought football might be right for him and attended Missouri Western where he played outside
linebacker. At 5’10” and 185 lbs., he relied on his speed and instincts to excel on the gridiron, but as servicemen in the mid-
1970s were returning to civilian life and attending college on the GI Bill he was suddenly competing against some much bigger,
older and more mature men out on the field.
“After I got clocked by a big Texan I thought maybe I should re-think this football thing,” recalls Rosinia.
So, after freshman year and a summer at home refining his golf game, he headed west to Mesa Community College where he
played on the men’s golf team. It was there he thought he could make a profession out of this game both in tournament play
and golf course management.
Following college, he landed his first job at Ville Du Parc Country Club in Mequon, Wisconsin, just north of Milwaukee, under the tutelage of Ken Ellsworth, a former PGA TOUR player. “I fell in love with the industry right then,” said Rosinia.
While learning the ropes, he continued to pursue his playing career competing in mini-tour events in Southern Wisconsin and
Northern Illinois. He had his share of wins and successes and through various career moves found himself back in the Chicago
area where he established himself as a leading player in the Illinois Section.
During the course of his career, Rosinia qualified for four PGA Tour events – two Western Opens at Cog Hill, the 2008 U.S.
Senior Open at Broadmoor where he made the cut and was welcomed to the Champions Tour and the Senior PGA Championship at Harbor Shores. In addition, he’s won the Illinois PGA Assistants Championship, two Illinois PGA Senior Match Play Championships, the Senior Illinois Open Championship, several stroke plays and is a two-time Illinois PGA Senior Player of the Year. He also played on seven Radix Cup teams and, most recently, qualified for the 2018 Senior PGA Professional Championship at PGA Golf Club.
“Once you’ve been bitten by the competitive bug it sticks with you,” Rosinia says. “I admire guys like Gary Groh and Mike
Harrigan who continue to play competitive golf and I plan do my best to play as long as I can.”
Despite what many would call a successful playing career, when Rosinia was in his early 40’s he found himself at a time of
reflection trying figure out what he wanted exactly out of the industry.
“I’m a public course guy. Give me nine holes, a range and a food and beverage operation and I’m in my element,” said Rosinia.
In November 1999, he knocked on a few doors including Flagg Creek Golf Course in Countryside. The old 12-hole Maple Crest
Golf Course had been condemned several years earlier and the City of Countryside and Pleasantdale Park District entered into
an agreement to keep it a green space and renovated the course. A Greg Martin design and new clubhouse was the result of
the collective efforts and by Spring 2000, Rosinia was the Head PGA Professional and General Manager.
“By that time in my life I knew that a Head Pro/GM role really fifit my personality and this facility has accommodated all the
desires I’ve had in the business,” he says.
Today, Rosinia oversees a flourishing golf operation complete with men’s and women’s leagues, a PGA Jr. League team and full
junior program, a range and clubhouse that hosts weddings, funeral luncheons, high school reunions and even Vegas night fundraisers. He has two long-time teaching professionals on site in Ken Malnar and Wayne Solomon who, while in his 90s, still
visits and teaches lessons.
As Rosinia, a grandfather of four, looks back on his career and the Senior Masters honor he knows some thank you’s are in
order. His partner of nearly 20 years, Chrissy, has been his coach, psychologist and sometimes caddie as he’s continued to play
well into his senior years. And his children Bianca, Taylor, Michael and Raquel have been in his corner all the way.
As he looks out onto Flagg Creek Golf Course, thinking of his accomplishments on the course and in the business, thoughts of
his father and their time together at the Fresh Meadows Golf Course and range begin to sink in.
“My father said it was advisable that I pursue my PGA credentials in case tour golf didn’t work out. And, like most fatherly
advice, he was right. I’ve had a wonderful life in golf through the PGA of America.”