HARRIS, Mich.) – Sweetgrass Golf Club will hold its first professional championship next June, just three years after the Upper-Peninsula public course opened.
The Island Resort Championship at Sweetgrass will draw a field of 144 rising stars on the LPGA Futures Tour June 20-26. The links-style layout, designed by Michigan-native Paul Albanese, is located near Harris, Michigan and is situated on the site of the Island Resort & Casino.
“It is a great honor to host this tournament,” says Tony Mancilla, championship chairman. “Sweetgrass provides a true test of golf that places a premium on shotmaking, an ideal layout for competitive play.”
The 7,275-yard, par 72 course was named to Golfweek’s “Best New Courses” list in 2009, and GOLF Magazine’s Top 20 “Best Courses State by State” listing in 2010. Opened in 2008, it is owned and operated by the Hannahville Band of the Potawatomi Nation.
Named for the sacred Indian plant known to bring energy and healing, the layout includes the signature 15th island green; par-3 12th biarritz style green, and long par-5 finishing hole that ends on a shared green beyond a cascading waterfall. Water comes into play on seven holes, and the challenging back nine incorporates several recovered classic DOT bridges.
“Sweetgrass is a golf course that was designed in a way that would provide golfers an opportunity to test their skills, without being overly penalizing,” says Albanese. “The idea was to locate features, such as bunkers, water features, rock and grasses, so golfers would have to contemplate how much risk they wanted to undertake, in exchange for a commensurate reward.”
It will be the first time in six years that an Upper-Peninsula course has hosted a professional championship, drawing an international field vying for the $110,000 purse. The event hopes to provide significant economic impact to the region.
The LPGA Futures Tour announced the addition of its 2011 schedule yesterday, at a press conference at the Island Resort & Casino. The championship will be held at Sweetgrass for three years.
“We are thrilled to add the Island Resort Championship at Sweetgrass to our official 2011 schedule and to provide many of the most talented young women professionals in the world a chance to experience this challenging test of golf,” said Zayra F. Calderon, CEO of the LPGA Futures Tour.
The Island Resort & Casino will keep the public course opened for play until early June 2011, allowing guests to play Sweetgrass both before and after the championship. For more information, see http://www.sweetgrassgolfclub.com.
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 was designed by Michigan-native Paul Albanese. It was named a Top 20 Courses You Can Play in Michigan by GOLF Magazine in 2010, and Best New Course by Golfweek magazine in 2009.
Boasting more than 1,400 slot machines and 24/7 Vegas-style gaming, the Island Resort & Casino 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, Beachcomber Restaurant & Bar, Coral Reef Grille and Bingo Snack Bar. 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.