Illinois Valley Golfers
Spring Creek Golf Course
"Bureau County's Favorite Golf Course"

2015 / 2016 / 2017 LaSalle News Tribune Poll


John Potthoff was looking for a way to make a living when the zinc works were closing in the early ‘60s at Illinois Zinc in LaSalle and Peru. He found it as close as his very own backyard.

Having Interstate 80 being developed right outside their farmhouse and heavy equipment in their backyard led to frequent conversations with Charles Ind, the owner of a concrete company out of Rockford. Looking over their acreage, Ind told Potthoff his farm’s hilly terrain, the mature trees and vegetation would make for a perfect setting for a golf course.

Those conversations led to a vision … Spring Creek Golf Course, developed by Potthoff with assistance from his brothers, Leo, Clem and Ted, and his brother-in-law, Harold Dean of Princeton.

Construction of the golf course took about three and one-half to four years, said Chris Potthoff, John’s son and current co-owner, opening on June 20, 1964. The original nine holes were on the west side of the course, which is now Holes 10-18.

Two years later, the second nine holes on the east side of the course, now Holes 1-9, opened leaving the aged trees, hillsides, wildflowers, and the course’s namesake, Spring Creek virtually untouched.

Chris Potthoff, who oversees daily course operations with his brother, Jack, was 16 when the course opened in 1964. He said it’s been a real “lifetime experience” keeping the family business running all these years. He said his father’s work ethics were extraordinaire.

“Growing up with your father ... following his dream, having Dad’s dream develop into your dream and seeing your dream, develop into your siblings’, children’s, nephew’s and grandchildren’s dream is priceless,” he said.

“Through hard work and perseverance we have been sincerely blessed with a fantastic family and loyal customers.”
Kathy Potthoff, Chris’ wife, said it’s been “a good 50 years.”

One golfer who has played for 50 years and running at Spring Creek is Vern Golden of Hollowayville. Many golfers, have come and gone, but Golden remains one constant at Spring Creek.

“He’s 80 years old, and nothing stops him,” said his wife, June.
“I’ve taught my kids how to golf there. I used to drop them off, my four boys, on my way to work and pick them up at night,” said Golden, who carded an 89 on Father’s Day with two of his sons.

Golden remembers the old No. 8 hole (now No. 17) was virtually still a cornfield when it opened, and the original west course was completely bare with no trees. He said Spring Creek planted poplar trees because they were fast growing.

On occasion, one can see the three generations of Potthoffs with Chris and his son and grandsons having a round of golf together, which Kathy, calls “a nice site, a good feeling.” But rest assured, one does understand that all of their work is done before play.

That’s how they’ve been doing it at Spring Creek for over 50 years.

LPGA Announcement at the 2013 Solheim Cup  
Mary Dagraedt, inducted into the LPGA Golf Hall of Fame.

Mary is a co-founder of the ILLINOIS VALLEY WOMEN’s GOLF INVITATIONAL. Being instrumental in the development and being actively involved with the Invitational for 58 years, Mary has enhanced women’s golf in all of North Central Illinois.

Although retired, your continued presence and volunteer service remain with us.  Your 38 years as our club professional remain in our hearts and in our golf game. 

Your induction into this prestigious LPGA Teaching and Club Professional Hall of Fame is so well deserved.  Thank you LPGA for recognizing Mary’s efforts and accomplishments.  Mary has certainly made a lasting impression on golf.  We consider ourselves blessed to have crossed paths.


LPGA Teaching & Club Pro HOF
National Golf Coaches HOF
Illinois State University Athletics HOF
Florida Comm. College Activities Assoc. HOF
Sports Society HOF
To receive all 3 National Awards
National Professional of the Year
National Teacher of the Year
National Coach of the Year