With the NCAA Golf Championships coming up, it’s a good time to assess the way the NCAA decided to hold the events—on back-to-back weeks at the same course.
The NCAA followed the lead of the United States Golf Association, which in 2014 ran its men’s and women’s U.S. Opens on consecutive weekends at Pinehurst No. 2 in North Carolina. Rich Harvest Farms, a private club in Sugar Grove, Illinois, first welcomes the women the third week of May. The men follow May 26-31.
It is the third club to host the back-to-back title events. The first was Concession Golf Club in Bradenton, Florida, in 2015, and the second was Eugene Country Club in Oregon in 2016.
The championships are a huge undertaking, and the folks at Rich Harvest Farms got the benefit of visiting and questioning the staff at the first two courses.
Rich Harvest Farms Tournament Director Vicky McGowan says she and Owner and President Jerry Rich and Superintendent Jeff VerCautren attended both previous championships.
“Everyone was helpful in sharing their plans regarding the setup, player hospitality, volunteers, operations, marketing strategies, etc.,” says McGowan.
Rich Spurlin, general manager of Eugene Country Club, says the stiffest challenge for his course and staff was logistical. Members were inconvenienced, and 400 volunteers worked more than 2,000 shifts. Like the Rich Harvest Farms group, Spurlin and some of his staff were in touch with Concession Golf Club crew before the NCAA event and also attended it.
“The team at Concession Golf Club was interested in sharing all of the things they had planned for in conducting the event that went well, in addition to sharing details of the things that did not go as planned,” says Spurlin. “They were helpful in providing us information to avoid making similar planning mistakes.”