HARRIS, Mich. -- Sweetgrass Golf Club (www.sweetgrassgolfclub.com) at the Island Resort & Casino renewed a three-year contract with the LPGA Symetra Tour - Road to the LPGA, extending the annual professional golf tournament in Michigan through 2017.
The Hannahville Indian Community tribal council confirmed the decision last week, along with an approval to increase the total purse by $10,000, to $125,000 annually.
"The event puts a spotlight on the beauty and uniqueness of the course which many players regard as the best stop on the circuit," says Tribal Council Chair Ken Mesigaud. "Having a professional golf tournament in the region brings excitement to the community and the response from volunteers and sponsors has been overwhelming."
Sweetgrass has hosted the Island Resort Championship for the past three years. Success of the tournament can be attributed to significant regional support, evidenced in year-over-year sellouts in corporate hospitality and pro-am sponsorships and an average of 4,500 spectators annually.
More than 300 volunteers serve as caddies, scoreboard attendants and fill other necessary roles to operate the championship each year, and nearly 100 open their homes to host golfers during tournament week.
In addition over 50 non-profit organizations have participated in the widely successful ticket program, selling three-day grounds passes and keeping the funds for their local causes.
"Partnerships between the Island Resort, the Hannahville Band, Delta County, the Upper Peninsula and northern Wisconsin make this event possible," says Susan Harris, tournament co-chair. "We feel honored to welcome back these incredible athletes for another three years."
Sweetgrass Golf Club has continued to see growth in both golf rounds and overnight package sales since hosting the tournament in 2010, and has benefited from national exposure to the golf course and community. The region's economic impact can be seen in increased revenue from local shops, hotels and restaurants.
"The course is gorgeous and a good challenge for us," said Symetra Tour player Stefanie Kenoyer, a former Big Break-Mexico contestant. "All the girls look forward to playing this tournament."
The 2014 Island Resort Championship, a 54-hole stroke play event with a field of 144 professional women golfers, will be held June 27-29.
For more information: www.sweetgrassgolfclub.com or 877-ISL-GREEN.
About Sweetgrass and the Island Resort & Casino
Owned and operated by the Hannahville Indian Community, a band of the Potawatomi Nation, Sweetgrass Golf Club and the Island Resort & Casino are located in the unspoiled beauty of Michigan's Upper Peninsula.
The Sweetgrass Golf Club, site of the 2011-13 Island Resort Championship at Sweetgrass (a Symetra Tour stop), was designed by Michigan-native Paul Albanese. It was named a Top 20 Courses You Can Play in Michigan by GOLF Magazine in late 2012, and Best New Course by Golfweek magazine in 2009.
Boasting more than 1,200 slot machines and 24/7 Vegas-style gaming, the Island Resort & Casino (www.islandresortandcasino.com) offers craps, Blackjack, roulette, poker and more. The Island hosts top musical acts from a variety of musical genres. Dining options include the Firekeeper's Restaurant, 5 Bridges Pub and Restaurant, and Coral Reef Grille. Live music in the lounge, the Club Four One nightclub, a swimming pool and conference center are other popular resort offerings. The property is easily accessible via a pair of regional airports in Escanaba and Marquette.
About the Symetra Tour
The Symetra Tour - Road to the LPGA, is the official developmental tour of the LPGA and entered its 33nd competitive season in 2013. With the continued support of its umbrella sponsor, Symetra, the Tour's mission is to prepare the world's best young women professional golfers for a successful career on the LPGA Tour. Top-10 money winners will receive full, equal status for the following season on the LPGA Tour.
The 2013 schedule includes 15 tournaments with stops in nine U.S. states and a total purse of $1.8 million. With more than 500 alumnae moving on to the LPGA, former Symetra Tour players have won a total of 365 LPGA titles, including 39 major championships. Symetra Tour events have contributed more than $5 million to charitable organizations throughout the nation since 1989.
For more information: www.SymetraTour.com.
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