July 16th 2018 - Most everyone remembers a pivotal point in time when they made an important decision that set their lives on a certain course. For Ron Skubisz it was a fateful winter business trip as an auditor for the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
“My boss and I took a business trip during the winter to Iowa. The meeting was ok but the trip back was terrible. Bad storms and delayed flights,” he said.
While waiting in the airport Ron had more time than usual to talk with his boss who knew about his golf playing abilities and weekend work at Glenwoodie Golf Course.
“My boss asked me why I would want to be an auditor when I could work in the golf business,” said Ron. “And I got to thinking he was right.”
So, in January of 1980, at 21 years old and armed with a Finance and Political Science degree from Northern Illinois University, Ron went to work full time for Nick Mokelke at Glenwoodie, which at that time was part of the Jemsek family portfolio of courses.
“I was opening the course every day my senior year in college so it didn’t seem too different to work there full-time shortly after graduation and after my stint as an auditor. Except that I knew I wanted this to be my career.”
Like many golfers, Ron started out playing lefty because he was a left-handed shot in hockey. But he switched to righty and got better eventually becoming a scratch golfer although he never played on the high school or college golf teams. It was Dave Mose’, another pro at Glenwoodie, who would mentor him and set him on the path to becoming a PGA Professional.
“Once again it was serendipity,” said Ron, referring what seems to be his luck in the business. “It’s being in the right place at the right time and having the right people give me a chance.”
Ron would stay in the Jemsek organization for more than 30 years moving from Glenwoodie to Fresh Meadows and then on to St. Andrews Golf and Country Club where he was the General Manager and Director of Golf overseeing a thriving daily fee, golf outing, teaching and event business.
Joe Jemsek passed away and the family decided to go in a different direction so they parted ways and Ron left the hectic GM duties behind only to come full circle and land at Pottawatomie Golf Course in St. Charles. Again, serendipity.
“Jim Wheeler was the long-time pro at Pottawatomie and was planning to retire,” recalled Ron. “He called me up and said I’d be crazy not to apply for this job. So, I did and it’s been great.”
In 2011, Ron went back to his roots managing a 9-hole golf course operation complete with open and close duties twice a week, teaching lessons and overseeing the pro shop and golf course operations. And, he couldn’t be happier.
“We’re a municipal park district golf course with an old-fashioned private club feel,” said Ron. “The Robert Trent Jones, Sr. design has challenging greens, tough par 4’s and is a great walk.”
As for that Finance and Poli Sci degree, Ron says “I actually used my Poli Sci knowledge quite a bit when I was in my early twenties taking care of customers who were in their sixties and had served in the military. All that World History came in handy and allowed me to converse with them about their WWI and WWII experiences as well as other worldly topics.”