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Breezy Point

Local Golf
August 17, 2017

Rascal Flatts
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Rascal Flatts
The victorious Junior Solheim Cup USA team and Captain JoAnne Carner pose for a picture after the final day of the Junior Solheim Cup at St Leon-Rot Golf Club in Sankt Leon-Rot, Germany in 2015.
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The victorious Junior Solheim Cup USA team and Captain JoAnne Carner pose for a picture after the final day of the Junior Solheim Cup at St Leon-Rot Golf Club in Sankt Leon-Rot, Germany in 2015.
By R.J. Smiley

The Solheim Cup started as three days of women's match play golf. The biennial competition has become a weeklong entertainment extravaganza where fans are truly engaged.

Six days before the first tee shot of the 2017 Solheim Cup echoes across the Iowa prairie, golf fans and souvenir seekers will be allowed to catch the flavor of the event. The Merchandise Tent, that sells all things Solheim Cup, opens at noon on Saturday. With all the hype and publicity, Solheim Cup management expects curious Iowa golf fans will flock to Des Moines G&CC to browse the selection of logo merchandise and search for a few souvenir surprises. Fans will also have the opportunity to witness the transformation from a local country club to a worldwide entertainment venue. No tickets are required to enter the grounds either Saturday or Sunday. Fans will have hours to touch and try-on everything in the pro shop while they get a feel for the enormity of the up coming matches.

On Sunday, the Merchandise Tent opens at noon, but the main attraction that day will be the Opening Ceremonies for the PING Junior Solheim Cup beginning at 6:00 PM. The PING Junior Solheim Cup is an amateur's version of the Solheim Cup for girls aged 12 to 18. Junior Solheim Cup teams from the USA and Europe are made up of 12 girls who have not yet begun their college golf career. The competition is held over two days, with six fourball and six foursomes matches on Tuesday and twelve singles matches on Wednesday. Team USA needs to win 12 of the 24 points to retain the Cup.

Author's Note: I witnessed the Opening Ceremonies of the Junior Ryder Cup in the summer of 2016 at Interlachen. Take your children to the Opening Ceremonies; it will instill a sense of national pride for them I guarantee.

Gates open at 9:00 AM on Monday where an event filled day is in store. The action starts at 9:30 AM with the PING Junior Solheim Cup Am-Am. Golf fans will get their first look at the future stars of women golf. Each player on both Junior Solheim Cup Teams will play with three amateurs in this exhibition match. There will be a winning team, but the event will show off the young players while they become familiar with the JSC Course. (DMGC has two 18-hole golf courses. The Solheim Cup will be played on a mixture of the two golf courses. The Junior Solheim Cup Course will be played on the other 18 holes not being used for the Solheim Cup Matches.)

Between 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM the LPGA will host the first of its seven Lesson Zone sessions. At the Lesson Zone golfers and those who want to learn the game will receive a 10-minute golf lesson. These experienced LPGA teaching pros and club professionals will instantly understand your swing and send you away with a tip or two that will improve your game in the future. These FREE first come; lessons provide clubs, balls and great professional instruction.

The first day of action will end with Solheim After Sundown, presented by Wells Fargo. The proceeds from this charity event will go to the Boy's and Girl's Club of Des Moines. The tickets priced at $160 include a day pass for all of Monday's action, plus entry to the Wells Fargo Pavilion, dinner, entertainment, and a silent and live auction. In addition, guests will have the opportunity for pictures with guest celebrities.

On Tuesday, golf fans will rush to the first tee of the JSC Course to witness the tee shots of all 24 participants in the PING Junior Solheim Cup Fourball Matches that begins at 7:30 AM. Six teams, made up of two girls from Team USA will play a fourball match against six teams from Team Europe. The beauty of Junior Solheim Cup is that spectators may walk along with the players in this intimate setting.

While the Junior Solheim Cup fourball matches are being contested, the big girls, that everybody came to see, on Team USA and Team Europe will get in some practice. After a session on the practice range Team USA will tee off the first tee and Team Europe will tee off the 10th tee. Golf fans will have the opportunity to watch the best as they get a feel for the golf course.

Between 11:00 AM and 3:00 PM the LPGA will host another FREE Lesson Zone session. At 1:00 PM the Junior Solheim Cup Teams will compete in the foursomes (in US we call it alternate shot) matches on the JSC Course.

Fans will want to get there early on Wednesday to watch both Solheim Cup Teams practice on the Solheim Cup Course. At the same time the Junior Solheim Cup girls compete in 12 singles matches on their course. It will be possible for fans to watch some action on both courses during the day.

Prior to the Closing Ceremonies for the PING Junior Ryder Cup at 3:00 PM the LPGA will again host a Lesson Zone session.

After the JSC Closing Ceremonies golf fans will quickly shower and dress up for the gala reception and dinner at the Iowa Events Center. This dress up gala will feature plated dinner for sponsors and other VIPs as well as player introductions.

There are two events that highlight Thursday at Solheim Cup. The first is the Past Captains Challenge featuring past Solheim Cup Captains competing in an exhibition with amateur team members. This event that leads up to the Opening Ceremonies is always a fan favorite. The Golf Channel will telecast the Opening Ceremonies to the world and Des Moines, Iowa will become a well-known city for golf fans.

In addition to the two main events, both teams will practice and the Lesson Zone will have another session of free lessons.

The actual Solheim Cup action will start early Friday morning with four foursome matches beginning at 8:00 AM. Nervous players will hit their first tee shots with the dew still on the fairways. At 1:00 PM Teams tee off for the afternoon fourball matches. While the matches are telecast worldwide the Lesson Zone has two sessions scheduled for golfers to improve their game.

Friday night brings another type of entertainment to DMG&CC. Hy-Vee presents Rascal Flats who will entertain 7,000 country music lovers with a twilight concert starting at 7:00 PM on the Main Entrance Stage.

As dawn brakes over the golf course on Saturday, both Teams will be warming up for the second day of Matches, both foursomes and fourball. The Lesson Zone will again host a morning and afternoon session. But the biggest excitement of the day is yet to come.

Jake Owens, the reigning king of country music, will star at the Main Entrance Stage. The sun will set as the sound of country music drifts across the prairie.

Exhausted fans who skipped church to attend the Solheim Cup may attend Sunday Services at 9:00 AM prior to the start of 12 singles Matches at 11:00 AM. TV cameras will follow the slugfest as the best women players from both sides of the Atlantic attempt to win the Cup for their Team. When the final putt drops the teams will gather for the Closing Ceremonies to celebrate freedom, the great game of golf and sportsmanship.

Then the champagne will flow.

It is not too late to become a sponsor of the Des Moines Solheim Cup. Whether your company seeks branding recognition or an opportunity to recognize customers and key employees, the staff at the Solheim Cup can customize a package for you.

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