If you’re thinking of a summer visit to Michigan and need an extra reason to visit its beautiful Upper Peninsula, consider taking the family to join the spectator gallery at the Second Island Resort Championship at the Sweetgrass Golf Club in Harris, Mich., Monday, June 25, through Sunday, July 1.
The event, just west of Escanaba, is part of the LPGA’s Symetra Tour (formerly Futures Tour). For its 144 up-and-coming professional women golfers, it will offer a $110, 000 purse and $15,400 first prize. More than 8,000 spectators are expected to attend.
LPGA Symetra Tour Vice President of Tournament Development Tracy Kerdyk said the Island Resort Championship is a favorite of the Symetra Tour players. “Sweetgrass is one of our most challenging courses and offers some of the best conditions,” she said. “When I originally announced the event as part of the tour, I said I thought it would be the players’ favorite in 2011, and it was – by far. It’s a good course for spectators; they can see a lot of different holes. The holes are very different, which for the players, is challenging; they have to use just about every club in their bag. All-in-all, it’s just a perfect facility.
“They just do everything right,” she added. “The resort, the casino, the people that run it, the tribe – it is one of our best stops on tour, if not the best,” she added.
Island Resort Marketing Director and Championship Co-Chair Susan Harris said the 2012 Island Resort Championship offers “a week of great golf and fun for all.”
In addition to two Pro-Ams on Wednesday and Thursday, Wednesday afternoon, there will be Junior Clinic, sponsored by Charter Communications, and Thursday, the pre-tournament banquet will feature the Green Bay Packers Jerry Kramer.
Dave Douglas, director of golf at Sweetgrass, said the LPGA has lengthened the course a bit this year, but otherwise, he expects to offer the players the excellent course conditions they experienced last year.
Spectators looking to view the most action from one spot will likely sit where the 8th and 12th tees meet. “From there, you can see holes 12 and 8, and turn around and look down 11. Number 7 is right alongside there, and you can see the island green, Number 15,” he said. “You really can watch several holes without even moving.”
Tickets for the championship are just $10 for all three tournament days, and free for those under 18. They can be purchased from more than 30 nonprofit organizations, which actually will keep all proceeds from tickets sold through their agencies. Ticket also can be purchased directly from Island Resort in advance or at the tournament.
Ticket holders will not only have access to the tournament but each ticket offers a day pass to the local YMCA, the tournament’s charity recipient. In addition, spectators can win prizes throughout the day, ranging from fine jewelry to shotguns (Yes, Michigan’s U.P. is a hunter’s dream).
Harris said Island Resort’s hotel rooms were expected to fill rapidly for tournament week, but vacationers and overnight visitors can also stay at the nearby Evergreen Inn or at several of Escanaba’s lodging facilities or camping areas.
And while no ‘spectator packages’ will be offered, Island Resort’s usual Stay ‘n Play packages will continue to be available, although course play for those will be limited to Greywalls and Timberstone golf courses during tournament week.
For tickets or more information about the Island Resort Championship at Sweetgrass, visit www.sweetgrassgolfclub.com For hotel reservations and more information about the casino or resort, visit www.islandresortandcasino.com