Joe Jemsek was a big man who did big things. He used to win long-drive and eating contests. He did nothing small.
He has been the source of many legendary tall tales. One of them involves how the No. 4 course at Cog Hill got its nickname, "Dubsdread."
According to his son, Frank, there's a golf course in Orlando named "Dubsdread." Joe, who never was shy about gambling, played the owner for the right to win the nickname.
"He actually won the golf course," Frank said. "He didn't see any way he could use the course, so he just stuck with the name."
Jemsek knew that "Dubsdread" would work for his greatest creation. His vision might have been his best trait.
Ken Lapp, Cog Hill's golf superintendent, recalled that Joe once came to him about building a spectator mound behind the 14th green. The request came at least a decade before the Western Open moved its tournament to No. 4.
"He said, 'Someday we're going to get a tournament here, and this will be a great place for spectators,'" Lapp said.
Sure enough, "Pork Chop Hill" usually is jammed during the Western.
Even though Jemsek died in 2002, his presence still lives on at Cog Hill. It is carried on by his son Frank's family and by the facility's extended family that includes Lapp and manager Nick Mokelke.
Lapp has worked with the Jemseks for 53 years. "They are the only family I've ever worked for," he said.
He eventually moved over to Cog Hill in 1973. By then he had long since learned what Jemsek expected of him.
"I couldn't get used to spending all this money, so I went up to him and asked, 'Am I spending too much money,'" Lapp said. "He said, 'Keep spending the money. You'll hear from me if it's too much.'"
Mokelke actually started working at Cog Hill as an eighth grader in 1963, picking up the rocks for what would eventually be the fairways for "Dubsdread." He also is a veteran of doing it Joe's way.
"Joe was a great teacher," Mokelke said. "He wanted you to care about the place. He got you thinking that the course was yours."
Mokelke said Frank has the same approach, but he does it with a much different personality.
While Joe was a larger than life figure, Frank is much more reserved. Born in 1940, Frank attended Loyola in New Orleans on a basketball scholarship.
Frank eventually went into the family business, operating quietly in his father's shadow.
"It didn't bother me," Frank said. "Back then, I was quite shy. I thought it was wonderful that everyone was interested in someone else."
Frank, though, did establish himself in his own way, showing as Mokelke says, a "knack for numbers." With his father's health declining in his later years, Frank took over the operation, adding his own mark.
"He doesn't compete with Grandpa," said Frank's daughter, Katherine. "He stands on his own feet. He saw what he admired about Grandpa, what he liked about the way he did things. He incorporated them in the way he does things."
Katherine is part of the next generation of Jemseks who are running Cog Hill, serving as the facility's vice-president. Her sister, Marla, a fine amateur player, also works at Cog Hill. She is married to Kevin Weeks, one of facility's teaching professionals. Their brother, Joe, is learning course design while working for Pete Dye's company.
Frank's kids were brought up around golf and serving people. Often they ate dinner at St. Andrews in West Chicago, another Jemsek facility. That meant they had to wait to be served after "the paying customers."
Katherine recalled this frustrated her young brother Joe, who said, "For once, can we go to a place where we're the paying customers?"
The lessons began early. Joe Jemsek certainly would be pleased to see his legacy continue.
His stamp is everywhere at Cog Hill. The memories, like the person he was, are large.
"I can still hear his voice, saying, 'check this out, check that out,'" Mokelke said. "He taught us all a lot of lessons. And it goes on and on."