Why DSM USA is the Perfect Host for the LPGA Solheim Cup
Next week we will kick off one of the most exciting events to come to Greater Des Moines (DSM) in recent history: The 2017 LPGA Solheim Cup. As one of the most prestigious tournaments in women’s golf, the Solheim Cup is a biennial team competition played between the U.S. Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) and the Ladies European Tour. The Solheim Cup, however, is more than a three-day competition. It is a weeklong event that will attract an estimated 200,000 fans from across the U.S. and Europe and includes the Junior Solheim Cup, practice rounds, celebrations and more.
Solheim's Journey to DSM
Bringing the Solheim Cup to DSM has been a five-year process, with many steps and requirements along the way. Historically, the tournament has been held at major resorts and clubs in larger cities. Of course, to anyone familiar with our city, it is no surprise that DSM won the honor of hosting such a prominent event. Let me tell you a little bit about how our community earned the opportunity to host this tournament and why I believe DSM is the perfect place for the 2017 Solheim Cup.
After the Board of Des Moines Golf and Country Club asked me to chair a committee (of one!), the then President of the Club and I met to discuss possibilities. His father and I must have been connecting well because we had both thought about the Solheim Cup. I traveled to the LPGA headquarters in Daytona Beach, Fla. in mid-2012 to visit with LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan. I told him why DSM was the ideal host for the Solheim Cup, but he was skeptical.
Reasons for DSM to Host the Solheim Cup
We are Impeccable Hosts for One-Time Events
This is evidenced by our success in hosting NCAA sporting tournaments, the Iowa Caucuses and political debates, the Drake Relays and the 1999 U.S. Senior Golf Open, which Des Moines Golf also hosted. Our history of serving as a sell-out venue is remarkable.
Our Community Generously Donates Its Time as Volunteers
Looking back at the Senior Open, we had no trouble recruiting 2,700 volunteers to work the event. We were oversubscribed.
Businesses in the Region Do Not Shy Away From Investing in These Types of Events
For example, at the U.S. Senior Open, we sold a record number of hospitality tents. Further, we attracted a record number of spectators.
Using our Iowa charm and Midwest hospitality, I also made sure the LPGA officials received a warm welcome when they visited Des Moines Golf in the fall of 2012. The team at Des Moines Golf did a wonderful job of giving the LPGA crew a tour of their 36-hole course and setting up an “Iowa-Nice” luncheon. I made sure a few special guests stopped by, including then-Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds and Gov. Terry Branstad, and we brought in numerous large employers that had committed to providing sponsorships and volunteers.
And, because I strongly believe it is the responsibility of all individuals and organizations to pay their civic rent, I encouraged Des Moines Golf to pledge half of its Solheim net profits to charities that support women and children in the region. The board agreed, and by early 2013, we were one of three finalists to host the 2017 Solheim Cup.
Many other leaders and organizations stepped up to help Des Moines Golf and Country Club achieve its bid to host the Solheim Cup. Perhaps most notable is Paul Schickler, former chief executive of DuPont Pioneer, who secured the company as the “global partner” of the tournament. I would be remiss to not also mention the outstanding support received from the Greater Des Moines Partnership and Catch Des Moines. (Read more about the business community’s support from the perspective of Dan Houston, 2017 Partnership Board Chair and Chairman, President and CEO of Principal.)
While DSM residents have recognized what makes our community special for many years, it is now time for our Solheim visitors from near and far to see why DSM is the perfect host. I am honored to be Tournament Chair of the 2017 Solheim Cup and encourage you to visit the tournament at Des Moines Golf and Country Club from Aug. 14-20. Go Team USA!
Event Info — LPGA Solheim Cup
Aug. 14-20, 2017
Des Moines Golf and Country Club
Go to solheimcupusa.com/event-tickets
Interested in sharing your passion for #DSMUSA loud, bold and broad? Sign up to be a DSM USA Ambassador today, join the #DSMUSA Facebook Group and find a few bragworthy conversation starters as well as recent regional rankings and recognition. Then, help spread the word to visitors and prospective residents during the LPGA Solheim Cup and beyond.